When In… Tokyo

25/09/2011

Happo-En Garden, Shirokanedai, TokyoI know I say it every time… reading about other people’s travels is so dull. Better to get out there and find your own places of interest and excursion. However, I am feeling a need to share with you some of my Tokyo highlights if perchance you are coming here and need a pointer or two… so here they are.

Seryna, Roppongi.
This restaurant serves delicious beef and crab shabu-shabu, which is served raw and you cook it yourself in a copper couldron filled with boiling water in the centre of the table. The charming staff are generous with their explanations of what to do and how to do it and the overall experience is delightful for its novelty and deliciousness. Very thinly sliced beef shabu-shabu takes mere seconds to cook. Lunch for three people came in at ¥21,500 (£180)

Ito-ya
This shop in Ginza is an absolute must if, like me, you are a lover of anything made of paper. The store is laid out over ten floors and sells everything from greetings cards to fine writing instruments and origami supplies. The sixth floor is your must-visit for handmade Japanese paper (Washi) which comes in a seemingly limitless choice of colours and designs. You can buy roughly A4 sized sheets for as little as ¥189 (£1.60) each and my purchases are destined to be framed and hung as a souvenir of this visit.

Across the street you will find Alfred Dunhill‘s “Home”… and the very lovely Aquarium Bar which has a great view of the passing Ginza foot traffic below. Owned by the global luxury company Richemont,  this store is noteworthy for its collections of vintage Dunhill items artfully merchandised alongside current product, and whilst no longer British-owned, is a wonderful outpost of the British sartorial aesthetic so loved in Japan.

Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum
For lovers of Art Deco the building itself is pure inspiration. Completed in 1933 for Prince Asaka (a relation of the Imperial Family) this residence was built to reflect the aesthetics of the time he and his wife spent in Paris. They visited the Exposition des Arts Decoratifs in person in 1925 and were therefore early patrons of this still influential design movement.
Heads-up… The museum is closing for renovations in November 2011 so perhaps put this on the bring-forward list for your next visit to Japan.

Happo-En
If visiting the Teien Museum, a short (downhill) stroll leads one to Happo-En, a truly relaxing and beautiful garden which one can scarcely believe exists in such a bustling and seemingly crowded city as Tokyo. Taking a stroll along the winding path, you come across a small lake teeming with enormous carp, turtles and dragonflies.

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