Meiji jingu is a stunning shrine amid the hustle and bustle of Harajuku. Go on Sunday to see traditional Japanese wedding processions and just outside the grounds of the shrine, catch all the crazy Japanese kids in wacky costumes. This is a must in Tokyo!
There are great shops in the neighbourhood and the area is always busy. I recommend spending at least half a day here.
I bet you have seen a photograph or two of the iconic Shibuya crossing. It’s one of those quintessential Tokyo experiences, where you really get a sense of the human density in this huge city. To get the perfect view of the crossing, head to the Starbucks in the Q-front building and try to nab a seat by the window.
Tsukiji fish market
Unless you want to come for the tuna auction (starts at 5am and even then, it’s so popular that it’s first come, first served), then you can show up at 8ish to still catch some of the action. A lot of the market it closed off to tourists, but it’s still a must-see. There are some famous sushi joints here. Daiwa Sushi is an institution in these parts, and there are queues snaking around the building even at such a ridiculously early time. It’s straight-up sushi (not the corrupted European versions) and it goes without saying that the quality of the fish is fantastic. As with the other sushi shops, Daiwa Sushi operates on a roughly 30-minute sitting; everyone sits around the counter and the chefs serves you directly. You are promptly turfed out at the end of your time and the next diners are ushered in. It is an efficient operation and would not suit those who want to spend more time savouring their food. Expect to pay around £40 pp.
Ueno food market
I stayed at Remm Akihabara the last time I was in Tokyo and it was just a 10-minute walk from this wonderful food market. There are plenty of stalls and tiny huts selling authentic, home-cooked Japanese food. Just follow your nose or check out the places with the longest queues.
You must check out the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. We saw if after our trip last year and wish we had seen it before. It’s about an 80 yr-old-man who owns a three-Michelin star sushi joint. Made me want to eat there!
Beige @ Chanel
On top of the Chanel building in upmarket Ginza, there’s a great Alain Ducasse restaurant called Beige (there’s nothing beige about it at all!) and on top of that, a trendy rooftop bar. Go for a lunch here. The food is fab, using fresh, local ingredients, and lunches offer better value for money. Ask for a window table.