THE TRAVEL GUIDE: TOKYO
Japan has quickly become the mecca of food, fashion and entertainment, and why not, when flights are super cheap and it's not really that far from us here in Australia. After visiting Japan last year, I fell in love and need to head back. There's the Shibuya crossing which floods your instagram feed, the cartoon like centre of Harajuku and the old verses new within Ginza. There is always so much more to find, explore and try in Japan, and Tokyo is just the start. For your next trip, I've popped my top tips below for things to do and places to see, just have your camera ready at all times.
We all love UNIQLO and MUJI, which have made a name for Japan but while you're in Ginza, head to Dover Street Market with almost 200 labels and spread across seven floors, it's a streetwear shopping paradise, and why shouldn't it be, Comme des Garçons founder Rei Kawabuko founded the Market store.
You may not know, that Tokyo isn't just famous for it's high end stores like Opening Ceremony located in Harajuku, not far from the iconic Cat Street, and Supreme which is one of Japan's favourite stores, so much so that they house more Supreme stores than any other country in the entire world. But Tokyo is renowned for it's vintage, head to Shimokitazawa, the vintage mecca, not far from Shibuya, which is uber affordable, laid-back and houses great coffee stores next to music venues, it's very Melbourne, and very cool.
If like me, you can't get enough of Japan's fashion, the Issey Miyake concept store in Aoyama, should be your next stop. The science lab, tucked away in Aoyama, is known as the 'Reality Lab' and shows the designers most creative designs and creations by the fashion house that aren't shown anywhere else. If you're around Aoyama, stay for the day, and make sure to head to Aoyama Garden West for the most perfect pancake you will ever come across. Garden West is the place to go to be seen by the Housewives of Japan, so be sure to get there when it opens for breakfast, and order one pancake each, trust me they're pretty big, but definitely insta-worthy. Next door is The National Arts Centre, so be sure to check the schedule as they do have some of the largest travelling exhibitions, like Issey Miyake before it travelled to Australia.
Japan is adventurous and full of the best spots, nestled away, so keep your eyes open at all times, and always look above. The owl Cafe in Harajuku, along with the best nail salons, are generally above, on the top levels in amongst apartments and businesses. Akihabara is the epitome of this, the city of lights, stock up on tech accessories in seven story shops.
If you need some more content for your Instagram page, head to Nakameguro, a town designed by influencers for social media content, think white walls, artisanal coffee houses and the best hidden boutique stores. If you're around during cherry blossom season, the Meguro River is the best spot to see the blossoms as they surround the banks, and reflect in the river.
When it comes to food, Tokyo is the hub for Ramen and no research needs to be done to find the best dishes. If you get stuck, you can order pretty much anything from vending machines, on the side of the street, just make sure to either find a bin, or take your rubbish, Japan is one of the cleanest places and they tend to not have rubbish bins on the street, so you might have to take everything with you.
Tokyo is for exploring, so catch the train, and stick to the stations, where everything is based, walk for miles and get lost in the city.