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72 Hours in Tokyo

I lived in Tokyo for nearly 13 years and currently visit at least once every 2 months.  These are my favorite spots though your stomach will need a few more days.  I have included popular spots that I don't like to help with prioritizing.

Golden Gai

This great little old neighborhood tucked into the middle of modern Shinjuku is a must-see. Golden Gai is a block of small mom and pop bars and restaurants. Decidedly down market and a little rougher around the edges than other parts of town -- Golden Gai is packed with atmosphere. Hop door to door and...


Exceptionally good second hand clothing shop. The quality here is so high that you'd never guess the products are used. Prices are very reasonable and the selection is stylish. Best second hand store that I have been to, period. Sizes run small (after all, this is Japan). Brands include local and...


A great day trip from Tokyo. If you don't have time to visit Kyoto, this is a good alternative; however, I wouldn't recommend doing both cities on the same visit unless you have plenty of time -- you will absolutely be "templed out."


My favorite Western restaurant in Tokyo. Excellent Mediterranean food served in a relaxing minimalist environment. My favorite dishes are: - spicy Moroccan crab cakes - manchego with membrillo and pumpkin seeds - hummus w/ flat bread Reservations are highly recommended though you may be able to...

Simplicity Design Studio

My favorite purveyor of Japanese dishes. This studio is located in a hard to find area of a residential neighborhood. Before venturing out to find it, be sure to have a meal at Higashiyama -- the restaurant associated with the studio. Most of the dishes at Higashiyama are designed here and some of them...

Katsusai (かつ彩)

It may be a chain but this tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet) restaurant is exceptional. Guest can grind their own sesame to use with the tonkatsu sauce. Delicious and easy to find at Atre inside Ebisu station.

Found Muji

Stunning new concept store from Muji that emphasizes Japanese heritage craftmanship. A great place to pick up affordable souvenirs that have style. Specializes in fabrics and housewares.


One of the better dining experiences I have had in Tokyo (which is one of the best culinary cities on the planet). This little spot specializes in artisanal salts but the real charmer is the quality of the vegetables and fish -- perfectly prepared, fresh, and presented. An intimate setting in a...

Red Bar (Chandelier Bar)

One of the hippest spots in this part of Tokyo. Very hard to find -- be sure to print out a map. There is also a video on YouTube that shows directions. This seductive late night spot is also called chandelier because of the decor. Fantastic atmosphere and the location makes it feel like a discovery....

Itasoba Kaoriya (板蕎麦 香り家)

This is my favorite soba restaurant in Tokyo. There are plenty of good ones but this one has great food and great atmosphere. The menu is difficult to navigate if you don't speak and read Japanese but they have all of the standards. Know what you want in advance and you won't have any trouble. My favorite...