The hidden Tokyo

Any go to to Tokyo is a feast for the senses. There’s simply a lot to soak up – each outdated and new – whether or not you’re within the metropolis for the primary time, a daily customer or perhaps a resident. Such is the sweetness and attraction of Japan’s capital that, nonetheless properly you assume you realize town, there may be all the time a lot extra to find. In fact, sure experiences will all the time be an enormous draw to vacationers, whether or not or not it’s visiting the Meiji Shrine, strolling the Shibuya crossing or watching Sumo wrestling. However what concerning the hidden aspect of Tokyo? I caught up with some consultants from the Japanese journey business to share with you some hidden gems to town and listed below are simply a few of their recommendations.

Yanaka Beer Corridor – as steered by Andres Zuleta, President, Boutique Japan

Andres has lived in Tokyo for years and, having spent years arranging luxurious journey to Japan, one barely out-of-the-way gem that he finds all the time delights first-time — and repeat — guests to Tokyo is the charming Yanaka Beer Corridor. Situated within the quiet streets of the old style Yanaka neighborhood (a brief stroll from the a lot busier Ueno district), “beer corridor” is an amusing misnomer.

They do serve craft beer, and engaging pub snacks with a Japanese twist, however the actual standout is the environment. The tiny beer corridor is positioned inside a gorgeous conventional Japanese-style home. Downstairs you’ll discover tables and chairs, and there’s additionally a small patio (pretty in Summer season), but when your legs are versatile head upstairs to drink beer in a conventional Japanese-style room.

Jyakotsuyu Onsen – as steered by Alastair Donnelly, Director, InsideJapan Excursions

‘Hadaka no Tsukai’ is a Japanese expression which may be translated as ‘bare companionship’ and refers back to the breaking down of boundaries supplied by scorching spring or ‘onsen’ bathing and is an integral a part of Japanese tradition. When you wished to familiarize yourself with Japanese tradition, then scorching spring bathing is a reasonably good begin.

Onsen baths may be discovered throughout Japan with maybe the most effective onsen experiences discovered at a favorite ‘Ryokan’ visitor home or a ‘Rotenburo’ outside tub, overlooking the mountains or effervescent up by means of a river deep in a forest setting. Wherever you go on your onsen, there are particular widespread traits – pure scorching spring water and guidelines round bathing (for instance, wash totally earlier than getting into the bathtub). They’re very stress-free and a spot to overlook concerning the ‘every-day’ and simply benefit from the second.

Consider it or not, amongst the thirty-odd million folks of neon Tokyo, there are additionally ‘onsen’ permitting the possibility to hitch the locals in a little bit of leisure. The Jakotsuyu bathhouse is tucked away within the again streets of the outdated Asakusa district of Tokyo, and in case you didn’t comprehend it was there you’ll by no means simply stumble throughout it. The bathhouse has a historical past courting again a couple of hundred years and in that point so much has modified. The unique buildings are gone however it’s the identical tea colored brown pure spring waters that proceed to provide the baths. One can find all method of various baths in right here – abnormal scorching baths, Jacuzzi baths, even a shower with a light electrical present operating by means of it, designed to softly stimulate and therapeutic massage your weary limbs and an out of doors chilly plunge pool for cooling down after the recent baths.

Regardless that this place is a stone’s throw from the well-known Asakusa Shrine, it’s unlikely that you will notice vacationers or certainly, different foreigners in right here. There are not any English indicators within the surrounding streets, to recommend that this place exists, however if you’re fortunate sufficient to seek out this bathhouse, you may be quietly welcomed by the ticket merchandising machine with English directions. Pay your 460yen (£three.20), take away your garments, wash your self, enter the bathtub, sit again and chill out with the locals… and exhale. Welcome to a distinct Tokyo.

Arakawa Furusato Museum – as steered by Satomi Shintani, Director,

A high tip for a quiet and out of the way in which a part of Tokyo is the Arakawa Furusato Museum. It’s a few ten minute stroll from Minami-Senju Station and is hardly visited by abroad guests. This might undoubtedly be thought of Deep Tokyo!

This museum offers an opportunity to see Tokyo by means of the ages, warts and all. Artefacts will not be embellished or dressed as much as be one thing they aren’t. There are shell mounds from centuries previous and a front room from the Showa period amongst different reveals. They’re right here to expertise simply as they had been in occasions passed by. This little museum is never busy so it’s good to simply spend some quiet time there.

The brand new Tokyo Restaurant Bus – as steered by Kiyoshi Katsume, CEO of All Japan Excursions

Tokyo’s hundreds of wacky, distinctive points of interest and cultural websites draw hundreds of thousands of tourists annually — for higher or for worse. Even throughout slower seasons or early within the morning, you may end up wading by means of the crowds in a few of Tokyo’s hottest sightseeing spots. Fortunately, the brand new Tokyo Restaurant Bus not solely offers an opportunity to keep away from the crowds but additionally to get pleasure from an beautiful meal.

Boarding the double-decker bus from Marunouchi Station, you’ll discover one thing uncommon: a chef making ready your meal in a totally useful, cell kitchen. On the higher deck, the tall home windows and sunroof give unobstructed views of town any which approach you flip. The servers supply all kinds of soppy and alcoholic drinks to select from, and the bus units off for the two-and-a-half-hour tour. Because the information leads you thru Tokyo’s most distinguished locales, an array of delectable French-inspired Japanese dishes is introduced out earlier than you.

Appetizers that includes seasonal and native components pair with the Tokyo Imperial Palace. The Tokyo Tower passes by when you nip at your fresh-cut salad and sip a little bit of soup. Scorching entrees carry you over the Rainbow Bridge the place you’ll drink within the twinkling neon lights from Tokyo Bay and Odaiba. Dessert and occasional come out as you go the glitzy Ginza and the turn-of-the-century structure of Tokyo Station. Lastly, you come back to Marunouchi feeling happy for 2 causes: you’re well-fed with each meals and the expertise of Tokyo. The Tokyo Restaurant Bus gives each dinner and lunch excursions on your comfort.

JBS – as steered by Ben Julius, CEO, Vacationer Japan

A tiny jazz bar tucked away within the coronary heart of the Shibuya district referred to as JBS is a novel, soulful joint calselling extra than simply drinks. Jazz is the principle dish and the proprietor Kobayashi is aware of simply how one can serve it. Seating is proscribed, and visitors are there to hearken to music greater than the rest. Jazz aficionados, vinyl collectors and individuals who respect the passionate and funky really feel of jazz and blues can be amazed on the in depth assortment of vinyl jazz information.

Kobayashi by some means is aware of the precise placement of all of the hundreds of information located alongside the picket cabinets and performs no matter he likes. Like a librarian scouring archived books, he is aware of precisely the place to seek out every strategically positioned vinyl; he selects the music based mostly on the vibe of the room and by some means all the time will get it excellent. Drinks are pretty priced (principally whiskey and beer) and the decor is reflective of the music, with a picket wall and the information visibly taking over many of the house. In case you are on the lookout for an intimate night dedicated to feeling the spontaneous rhythm of jazz and blues, look no additional than JBS. The place fills up shortly, and shutting time modifications each evening.

JBS is positioned at 1-17-10 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo, Japan however may be tough to seek out – search for the JBS signal; it’s open 7 days every week. Occasions change however often open from 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm.

We hope you loved listening to about these hidden gems in Tokyo. In fact, it is just the scratching the floor. When you’ve got feedback on any of those or, higher nonetheless, even some hidden gems of your individual to share, please depart them within the feedback beneath – we’d love to listen to from you!

Disclosure: This content material was additionally delivered as a presentation at World Journey Market. I want to thank the Tokyo Conference & Guests Bureau for inviting me to speak at their occasion.