After a long, 13-hour flight, arriving in Tokyo—with its flashing lights, chirping gizmos, and towers that literally seem to “scrape” the skyline—can feel like landing in the year 2063.
As the largest metropolitan area in the world, it’s no surprise that Westerners can feel overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of this futuristic metropolis.
But never fear, determined travelers; we’ve rounded up the top ten most luxurious places to sleep, shop, and eat in the city, from the iconic Park Hyatt Hotel (the location of Sofia Coppola’s 2003 film, “Lost in Translation”) with its surreal rooftop pool and panoramic views of the city, to the luxe Dover Street Market in Ginza, which offers ready-to-wear from designers like Balenciaga and Alaïa along with funky skateboarding gear and art objects.
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SLEEP: There's no cure for an arduous 13-hour flight and jet lag quite like a hot bath and sweeping views of the Tokyo skyline at The Park Hyatt Tokyo, the iconic location of Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation." Refresh at the rooftop swimming pool or in your zen-like guest room, which is stocked with fresh juice and Aesop beauty products. 3-7-1-2 Nishi Shinjuku; www.tokyo.park.hyatt.com.
SLEEP: With its floor-to-ceiling windows, the Four Seasons Tokyo—located in the elegant Pacific Century Place—offers unrivaled views of the city skyline as well as a world class spa, complete with private treatment rooms, steam showers and authentic "onsen," or hot spring baths. 1-11-1 Marunouchi; fourseasons.com/tokyo.
Four Seasons/Four Seasons
SHOP: Whether you feel like stocking your suitcase with a rainbow of cashmere sweaters, insulating "heat-tech" pullovers, or just a whole lot of socks, make way to Ginza, where the newly-opened Uniqlo is a whopping twelve stories. It should come as no surprise that this is the biggest Uniqlo in the world. 6-9-5 Ginza; uniqlo.com.
SHOP: Discerning shoppers will find plenty of ways to max out their credit lines at the exceptional Dover Street Market, a high-concept retail project that boasts six stories packed with high-fashion finds from the likes of Alaia and Balenciaga along with skateboarding accouterments and art objects. 6-9-5 Ginza; doverstreetmarket.com.
Freshness Mag/Freshness Mag
SHOP: Located in the famous Harajuku district, the Laforet shopping center is a hybrid mall and museum, teeming with small independent boutiques along with more established Japanese brands. Known for its sales, the best time to visit is during one of the center's "Grand Bazaars," during which vendors slash prices by up to 90 percent. 1-11-6 Jingumae; laforet.ne.jp.
SHOP: The neighboring shops at Omotesando Hills cater to spendy shoppers as well as those content to gaze, museum-style, at top-notch merch. Our top pick? The Commes des Garcons and Martin Margiela complex, where associates are clad in white lab coats. 5-2-1 Minami-Aoyama; omotesandohills.com.
EAT: Fine dining may be the only thing that rivals the Japanese commitment to shopping. Tokyo has more Michelin stars than New York City and Paris combined. The elegant New York Grill at the Park Hyatt Hotel is one of the most sumptuous eating experiences the city has to offer, with live lounge singers, exquisitely prepared dishes, and panoramic views. 3-7-1-2 Nishi Shinjuku; tokyo.park.hyatt.com.
EAT: If you're looking to rub shoulders with Tokyo's elite, grab a rooftop table at Two Rooms, which keeps blankets at the table in case of brisk winter winds. Once settled, sip on fresh-fruit cocktails like kiwi martinis and passion fruit mojitos or snack on freshly prepared hummus. 5F AO Building, 3-11-7 Kita-Aoyama; tworooms.jp.
Rooftop Restaurants/Rooftop Restaurants
EAT: Recognized by the Japanese government as a national treasure and "modern master," chef Jiro Ono of Sukiyabashi Jiro in Ginza has earned three Michelin stars for his meticulously prepared and lovingly served sushi dishes. Be sure to book in advance and—if possible—in Japanese. Rumor has it the restaurant won't accept reservations in English. 6-12-2 Roppongi; sushi-jiro.jp.
The Skinny Bib/The Skinny Bib
EAT: If you prefer tempura to sushi, head to Tenichi, which is festooned with snapshots of former patrons like Bill Clinton and Frank Sinatra. A seat at the chef's table will get you special attention from the master temperer, who prepares and serves each perfectly-fried piece individually. 6-6-5 Ginza; tenichi.co.jp.