Tokyo Tips

My friends asked me about things in Tokyo to see. And they are mostly interested in the historical parts, the old traditions, the context.
However, Tokyo doesn’t preserve the past. It keeps looking into the future. New neighborhoods and subway lines are build within a few years. Looking at a picture of Shibuya station 60 years ago, compared to today, shows this fast transformation.  the 3rd picture is the new station that is currently build:


So it’s hard to find the “old” Tokyo, but I can take the challenge:
Btw., there is one place, not far form Kichijoji, “Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum” , that is dedicated to preserve architectural history. A good place to start, even though it’s a little all-over-the-place. For historical amateurs it has little explanations, but the place is a real treat.

Architecture museum Ida is standing the pool of an edo eara bath house at the outdoor architectural museum (

There are some places that don’t change: Jimbocho, Tokyo’s used book capital. If you like history this is a place to go. Old movie posters, original graphic design magazines, beautiful but sometimes at insane prices. And so many beautiful books that I wish I could read some/more Japanese, and a the day passes in a second.

This is a nice article on BBC on food in Tokyo.


Iseya is obviously the most famous place. The really old one, The original one overlooking Inokashira Park, unfortunately changed into a fancy place, but there is still Iseya 2 just a  few steps away from the station. Miyazaki is supposed to have come here often. Also obviously, since his studio is  just a few blocks away.

About 10 years ago the old market behind the station (bus stop side) still had some incredibly old, and probably not up-to-code, Isakaya drinking spots. I ate Kusaya (stinky fish) there, and roasted grasshoppers (much tastier). At the end of this hallway there is a tiny bar with 3 or 4 floors, but each floor has seats for a few people each, and the roof top is a single table, very cool.


Best coffee shop: Bear pond. There is attitude, but fully qualified.

Shimokita is known for its curry places and also has a few vegetarian restaurants. Bio Ojiyan, a cute cafe with cheap lunch is a quite place with space to write and sit…

At night Isakaya ism opens with a traditional setting, cheap food, lots of drinks, always crowded.

at this healthy food place I actually never ate, but always wanted to try it.

Around the corner, our hometown, Sasazuka:
• Gotsui,
Sasazuka Okonomiyaki that Ida likes best, she knows the entire staff there i think.

• Sasazuka Ramen place, one of the top 10 best restaurants on my list. Veggie or Tomato Ramen, yummy.


• Fireking Cafe (〒151-0064 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Uehara, 1 ) is a classic spot in Yoyogi-Uehara, Corner of Inogashira-dori and right across the police box at the station. It serves all drinks and food on original Fireking plates and i think they said that the ceilings are so high as this was the original factory to make the famous plates and cups. The bar tenders are also famous, one opened a whiskey bar nearby, which unfortunately closed again, let me find out where he is now…

• really good fish restaurant, oh, there are so many more cute restaurants and wine bars…



Jingumae/Sendagaya at Shibuya, Shinjuku

actually i would usually avoid these centers because they are just crowded.
but i would recommend ICC at the Tokyo opera City House. It’s an art museum for technology-driven art. Free and always good.

Bonobo is always a favorite bar. Best sound system, crazy bar keepers, interesting crowd that keeps coming and going. It’s also very small.

just take a day trip to Hakone. Tourist’ey yes, but, oh, so worth it.  Yuryo can be reached very easily by local train. It’s not expensive to spend a day in a spa, beautiful mountains, and in hot onsen waters. And afterwards they have great food.|


no trip to japan is complete without Onsen. Hakone is within a daytrip to Tokyo. There are a few hotsprings near the station by shuttle bus. Not expensive and with great ryokan food.
I recommend staying overnight at least. We also had a great time at Shima Onsen (Miyazaki’s movie “Spirited Away” was inspired by this town), or here is another good list close to Tokyo. Nagano is a little further but beautiful, and Naruto and around Akita if you are traveling north.


and for nightclubs
and then there are always funny mansions:

Funny Mansion Names

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.