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Famed for its culture, cuisine, fashion and entertainment, the vibrant capital of Japan is without doubt one of the most exciting cities in the world. These are just some of the many interesting must-visit places in Tokyo.
This new serviced apartment in Tokyo is the perfect place from which to explore the city. Fraser Suites Akasaka‘s ideal location in the heart of town spells convenient access via three metro stations – Akasaka, Akasaka-Mitsuke and Aoyama-Itchome. Both time-pressed business people and street-pounding leisure travellers will appreciate its proximity to must-visit neighbourhoods that include lively Roppongi, bustling Shibuya and trendsetting Ginza. Akasaka itself is a sophisticated district brimming with Michelin-starred restaurants, ancient temples and many entertainment spots.
This sophisticated retreat has elegant residences that offer serene tranquillity and the luxury of space. Bathed in soft light and done up in relaxing neutrals with window screens, evocative wall art, tea sets and lantern-style lights, they are an oasis of calm in contrast to the kaleidoscopic dazzle of neon on glass and steel outside.
As this is Japan, state-of-the-art tech is a focal point, and the property is home to a golf simulator and signature Retreat with massage chairs that will work you into a state of bliss. Other premium facilities and services include the all-day dining restaurant serving delectable Japanese-Italian fusion, meeting rooms, shuttle services, round-the-clock concierge and a 24-hour gym.
Senso-ji in Asakusa is Tokyo’s oldest temple and the best time to visit this ancient Buddhist shrine is in the morning, when you can immerse yourself in its tranquility before the crowds arrive. Slip through the statue-adorned Kaminarimon or Thunder Gate, and marvel at the majestic Hozomon – the two-storey Treasure-House Gate – and statues created in tribute to Fujin (the god of wind) and Raijin (the god of thunder).
Then go window-shopping along Nakamise-dori, a pedestrian street with hand-made souvenirs like woodblock prints and hand-etched folding fans.
One highlight within the immediate neighbourhood of the serviced apartment in Tokyo is the Toyokawa Inari Temple. This Buddhist temple venerates a Shinto fox deity, and the grounds are filled with hundreds of fox statues as well as fluttering red flags. Those who come to pray visit the shrines dedicated to deities of good fortune and safe childbirth.
The best view of the city is high up from the 52nd floor of Roppongi Hills Observatory, according to the team at Fraser Suites Akasaka. This observation facility is a superb spot from which to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the sprawling metropolis.
There are also cafes and restaurants on this floor to refresh you after enjoying Tokyo from above.
Soak in the history and culture of Edo at the Tokyo Metropolitan Edo-Tokyo Museum. Edo was the old name for Tokyo during the 17th to late 19th centuries, and the museum showcases original objects and replicas from that nearly 300-year period when the Tokugawa Shogunate ruled Japan.
They include a detailed miniature model of Edo town and a life-sized replica of Nihonbashi bridge, which was the symbol and focal point of the old city.
Yayoi Kusama is the princess of polka dots, a contemporary artist who is anything but conventional. Her quirky art is housed in an equally avant-garde five-storey building in Shinjuku.
The zany 91-year-old is famous for her sculptures and installations featuring dots and pumpkins, with the museum also showcasing paintings from both her early as well as newer collections.
At this museum dedicated to the work of anime studio Studio Ghibli, you can meet your favourite characters from acclaimed Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki’s films, like My Neighbor Totoro and the life-sized robot from Castle in the Sky.
This museum in Mitaka also has exhibits about the history and techniques of animation, as well as a small theatre in the basement screening animation films.
One must-see experience can be found at teamLab Borderless, a digital art museum that combines technology and art. This amazing exhibition of light displays at the Mori Building Digital Art Museum in Odaiba has mshore than 60 artworks, all of which are interactive so that you can touch and disrupt them to enjoy the full experience.
Kawaii culture has a whole area in Tokyo dedicated to it and it is called Harajuku. One of the many interesting must-visit places in Tokyo with pop culture characters and a wacky cosplay crowd, the thoroughfares here – especially buzzy Takeshita Street – are filled with street art, youth fashion and kawaii or cute boutiques.
And when you’re done people-watching, stroll over to the nearby tree-lined Omotesando Avenue for some high-end window-shopping.
Banish any agoraphobia you may have and join more than 2,500 Tokyoites every two minutes at the Shibuya Scramble Crossing. Said to be the world’s busiest intersection, it is where five crosswalks bring 10 lanes of vehicular traffic to a halt for slightly over 90 seconds.
After that, mark your visit by taking a photo with Japan’s most famous dog, the loyal Hachiko. Its statue is at the corner nearest Shibuya station.
Another recommendation by the team at Fraser Suites Akasaka is a visit to Harmonica Alley in Kichijoji. Entering this yokocho or side street is like taking a step back into post-war Japan.
Its name comes from how the shops in the narrow alleyway resemble the reeds of a harmonica. Here at Tokyo’s best-kept secret, you will find retro clothing stores, fortune tellers, izakayas and Ozasa, a famous Japanese sweet shop.
Pretend to be a shadowy ninja at Ninja Trick House, an interactive entertainment facility in Shinjuku. Delve deep into the art of Japan’s legendary, lethal assassins, where you can try wielding a katana sword and throwing a shuriken ninja star.
But be warned: no more than 10 people per group are allowed in at any one time. This is, after all, a hiding place for ninja.
Dive into another side of Tokyo nightlife at Golden Gai, a gritty district in Shinjuku filled with tiny dive bars in narrow alleyways. One is so small it fits only four seats and a piano. Next door is a rock club featuring a zeitgeist-defining menu dedicated to American craft beer.
These drinking holes sprang up after World War II as speakeasies for shochu (distilled liquor) and alcohol-fuelled nightlife. Some of the bars are open only to locals, but many others welcome foreigners.
Walking tours are one of the best ways to explore Tokyo neighbourhood from a local’s perspective. Tokyo Localized is run by locals and offers free day and night walking tours of the city.
One starts in the characterful old quarter of Yanaka, where wooden temples are sandwiched between post-war houses. Another delves into the electronic nirvana of Akihabara. Or if you like, just go on a tour to get a feel of both New and Old Tokyo, its food, culture, history and religion.
Fraser Suites Akasaka is a new serviced apartment in Tokyo that is located in a vibrant district with many stylish shopping choices. One of them is the four-storey Galleria, a cathedral-like shopping and dining area brimming with funky fashion, interior design, cosmetics and restaurants.
Here, you can find everything genteel and graceful, from trendy arts and crafts, to delicate wagashi or traditional Japanese confections. It is located in the upscale Tokyo Midtown complex that boasts the city’s highest building.
Discover the delicious side of Tokyo by going down. Depachika – depa is short for department store and chika means underground – refers to the massive food halls in the basements of big department stores like Takashimaya, Mitsukoshi, Isetan and Matsuya.
These gastronomic wonderlands have everything you will want to taste, from sweet stands, snack stalls, bento booths, bakeries, meat shops, fruit and vegetable sections as well as small restaurants.
If you’re craving a bowl of ramen, Tokyo has oodles of noodle shops, many of which require you to order by buying a ticket from the machine outside. Don’t worry if you can’t read Japanese; just hit the top left button because that typically lists the house special.
For the more adventurous, go for yakitori (chicken skewers) with sake and beer at an izakaya (bar). And for a fun DIY dining experience, try making your own okonomiyaki (savoury pancake) at Sakuratei in Harajuku.
Savour modern French and Japanese cuisine at Aronia de Takazawa, near Akasaka-Mitsuke station – one the three stations closest to the Fraser Suites Akasaka serviced apartment in Tokyo. Chef Yoshiaki Takazawa creates culinary magic with whimsical dishes like a ratatouille of 15 vegetables in a terrine, while his wife Akiko looks after you in an intimate space with only 10 seats.
For a post-prandial drink, cross the street to Code Name Mixology Akasaka to sip expertly mixed cocktails in a modern mixologist’s lair. If you still have room for a bar snack, try the addictive smoked egg with its gooey, bright orange yolk.
For an alternative to refined wining and dining, head down to Shinjuku’s Omoide Yokocho, a frenetic maze of side alley izakayas and smoky yakitori joints. This warren of backstreets tucked beyond the west gate of Shinjuku station offers a greasy but lively slice of nightlife, with tiny restaurants that only serve barbecued eel and bars where highballs are king.