Tokyo In Film & City Guide

My heart's with Japan and all of the world as people's lives are disrupted because of coronavirus. Praying that everyone stays healthy and safe.I'm a bit late (as always) but I thought I'd share my trip through my lens. I went to Japan last year from end of November to early December. All photos were taken in film, something I've been enjoying lately. It's been a dream come true to finally go back to Tokyo after 2016, but this time I went with my parents. We decided to only explore Tokyo this time around, which I was bummed about because I wanted to go to Kyoto and Osaka. I have relatives in Japan and wanted to visit them since I wasn't able to last time I was in Japan, but I have another reason to go back! For the most part we were lucky with weather, just had one day where it was pouring all day. We compromised on our itinerary and went to places my dad jotted down after months of YouTube videos. I was happy as long as I could stop by a cafe along the way and eat good food (which isn't too hard to find in Japan). Tokyo is one place I fell in love with the first time I visited, and I couldn't wait to come back. The culture, the food, the fashion, the hospitality...I love it all. Let me just say Japanese people are the nicest people I've come across, they will literally stop whatever they're doing and help you if you're lost. Super hospitable and respectful. We stayed in Shinjuku, which I personally wasn't a huge fan of. It was super busy and the subway was always bustling. One of the perks was that since it was a major station I didn't have to transfer between trains. It also had many shops, restaurants, and cafes around the station - I definitely recommend stopping by Toraya Cafe Stand. I went to their Kita-Aoyama location and loved it - so beautiful and there's so many boutique shops around there. Definitely a hipster, younger spot. There were so many coffee shops on my list, but so little time. Muji Cafe was a delightful surprise. I walked into Muji and was shocked that they had a cafe and multiple floors of clothes, home goods, and lifestyle products. I can go on about how much I love Muji, but I'll stop here. I ended up walking out with a new wardrobe and some snacks to bring back home. One thing that I love about Japan and Korea is just how efficient everyone is and of course their vending machines. I love that their vending machines has so many options, especially drinks that I would actually drink. I don't drink soda (maybe ginger ale once a year) and typically stick to green tea, water, or coffee on a daily basis. Japan, you just get me. Below are places I recommend going to, some I have visited last time I was in Tokyo but love going back to. You can watch my Instagram story highlight on my trip to see the places mentioned :) I can't wait to go back and explore Kyoto, Hiroshima, Hokkaido, and Osaka next time.

Eats & Drinks
Udon Shin // hands down best udon I ever had. Definitely get here early as there are long lines, limited seating, and remember to bring cash.
Isen Honten // best tonkatsu I ever had. Limited seating inside, but well worth the wait. Many locals come here so you know it's good, it's located in Ueno.
Ichiran Ramen // first thing I had when I arrived in Japan. My parents said it was overrated, but it reminded me of when I had it for the first time.
Mawashizushi Katsu // I went to the Meguro location and I was amazed at the quality of sushi. I overlooked this place because it was in a department building and a conveyor belt restaurant, but I would go back in a heartbeat. I love sushi is an understatement, I crave sushi all day everyday. I had two plates of uni - which was probably the price of one here in the states. Definitely go here if you're on the hunt for good sushi for cheap.
Yayoiken // came here about twice because it was right next to my hotel and it was so good (and cheap!). The Shinjuku location was definitely a local spot, I loved it!
Toraya Cafe - An Stand // just look at this photo - I dream about that bean paste bun and latte. Definitely pick up some azuki bean paste before you leave. 
Onibus // such a beautiful cafe! I visited their Nakameguro location and loved their aesthetic, you can sit upstairs or have a seat on their outside seating area. They have yummy pastries and really good coffee.
the Airstream Garden // ok I came for the photo opp but stayed for the matcha latte. This is located about a couple of minutes from Omotesando Hills, a huge shopping mall and strip with designer stores.
Blue Bottle // I know Blue Bottle is everywhere in the states, but have you seen their store in Nakameguro? I mean...aesthetics. It's so beautifully designed, and I love that it's in a quiet neighborhood. I really liked Nakameguro area, so many cool cafes tucked in residential areas. There's a Peanut's Cafe nearby and also Onibus if you're in need of another cup of coffee.

You can easily find good food. SO many restaurants and cafes at subway stations and department stores, and the best part is you don't have to tip! Lot of places you order via vending machine so if you can't speak any Japanese (like myself) it's perfect. For breakfast, I would eat onigiri rice balls with miso soup the hotel offered.

Other suggestions: Sidewalk Stand, Afuri Ramen, Tsukiji Market, Kameya Shinjuku Tentama Soba, Cafe Kitsune, CHOP Coffee Cat Street, Little Toy Box, DAY&NIGHT, Aoyama Flower Market Tea House, CoCo Curry

Don Quijote // pretty much your one-stop shop for everything. They sell clothes, beauty, electronics, food, basically anything you're looking for. Easy tax-free process and the biggest discount store in Japan with multiple locations. Daiso is also a big discount store as well.

I would say my favorite area to go shopping was Omotesando, because they had everything from high end designer stores to souvenir shops. Shibuya and Ginza are definitely a major shopping area

Other suggestions: Muji, Uniqlo, Maison Kitsune, Takeshita Street (grab a cotton candy and walk down this fun street where you can take sticker pictures and find cute accessories and souvenirs)

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden // came for the second time, and I'm glad I did because it was ginkgo season! Beautiful shades of green and yellow ginkgo leaves surrounding the park, just a serene view. Definitely a must when in Shinjuku.
Shinjuku Golden Gai // stop by during the night when it comes alive, a narrow alley where people come to drink and enjoy good food. Nonbee Yokocho is also another famous alley known for its izakaya
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building // my dad said there was a free observatory at the top so we got there 30 minutes ahead and there was already a line. Such a beautiful view of Tokyo and I was lucky enough to get a view of Mt. Fuji!
Shibuya Crossing // always fun to walk (and take pictures) - you can feel the energy and hustle of the city. I can see why it's the busiest crosswalk in the world!
Yoyogi Park // a beautiful park next to the Harajuku Station, definitely worth stopping by (especially during the fall). You can see street performers and people just dancing and relaxing.
Ameyoko // One of the famous shopping streets in Ueno known for their street food, I had takoyaki  and soup dumplings - yum.
Asakusa // a lovely city outside of Tokyo that has has more of a traditional vibe which I loved. You can find Nakamise Dori, a traditional street that sells delicious street food and shops selling local pastries, souvenirs, and handmade items. The street leads to Asakusa Shrine, which is always very busy.

Other suggestions: Meiji Jingu Shrine, Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree, teamLab, cafe hopping (Japan is known for their unique cafes i.e. Robot Cafe), Tsutaya Books, Mori Art Museum

Love, Sharon

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