Kimpton is adding a new word to its vocabulary: omotenashi. With 160 stylish rooms located a stone’s throw from the world’s busiest train station, Kimpton Tokyo will embody the Japanese spirit of full-hearted hospitality (AKA omotenashi). Opening in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, to say we’re excited would be an understatement. More travelers are lured to the land of the rising sun every year, so start planning your journey now.
Over three and a half million people pass through Shinjuku Station every day. Its central Tokyo location at the convergence of a dozen train and subway lines, with easy access to both of the metro area airports, make it an ideal base of operations for any visitor, and the perfect neighbor for Kimpton Tokyo. But Shinjuku is much more than just a train station.
Much of Shinjuku’s singular charm stems from the old-school yokocho(side street alleyways) that have provided a workweek respite for the nation’s white-collar workforce for decades. Picturesque Omoide Yokocho, for instance, is barely wide enough for two people to walk abreast, but chockablock with tiny yakitori stalls and red-lit lanterns. On the other side of the station, boozy Golden Gai stacks its gridded yokocho with pocket-sized microbars. You could spend an entire month barhopping here and never hit the same spot twice.
Just around the corner, the chic flagship Isetan hides floors of food courts, including what is arguably the city’s best depa-chika, a sort of sprawling underground delicatessen customary in Japanese department stores. If the weather is nice, buy lunch here and head to nearby Shinjuku Gyoen, a pay-to-enter private park with painstakingly tended gardens and grounds. Beyond Shinjuku, the rest of Tokyo beckons.
As a modern city in an ancient country, Tokyo enfolds centuries of cultural attributes. While only the capital since 1603, all roads have led to Tokyo since that time. The city is an excellent place to get a sense for broader Japanese culture while enjoying the bright lights and relentless energy you’d expect from the largest urban area on the globe.
To sample the old, spend an afternoon strolling around Yanesen, the confluence of three tranquil neighborhoods on Tokyo’s northern edge that improbably survived the Meireki Fire of 1657, the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923, and the allied air raids of WWII. To the east, the imposing Sensō Temple in Asakusa and former merchant district of Kuramae retain traces of the capital’s old-fashioned flair, while to the west the stately Meiji Shrine epitomizes the heart of the nation.
If you tire of the old, embrace the new in Tokyo’s most electric locales, from Kimpton Tokyo’s home in Shinjuku to all-night neighborhoods like Shibuya and Roppongi. There’s no need to worry about getting to Point B: Tokyo consistently ranks as the world’s safest city, and the trains always run on time.
For the uninitiated, the term “Japanese food” may conjure little more than sushi, ramen or tempura, but these well-known dishes are the tip of a tremendous iceberg. Ever tried authentic tsukemono (Japanese pickles)? How about kushi-age (deep fried skewers), chanko-nabe(a stew traditionally made for sumo wrestlers), or monjayaki(pan fried batter filled with everything under the kitchen sink)? That last one is a Tokyo specialty, and the main feature of an entire street in the Tsukishima neighborhood. (Just ask someone to point you in the direction of Monja Street.) Food is a serious affair in Japan, with regional and seasonal specialties that could fill whole libraries of cookbooks. And there’s no better place to find them all than in Tokyo.
With three of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2018, more Michelin stars than any other city on earth, and over 80,000 eating establishments to choose from, Tokyo is heaven on earth for gourmands. Oh, and there’s loads of award-winning international options, too.
Thirsty? Tokyo sports countless watering holes dedicated to Japanese whiskey, first-class cocktails, craft beer, wine, and native tipples sake and shōchū. Caffeine addicts won’t tire of exploring the city’s third wave coffee scene, with hotbeds in hipster neighborhoods like Oku-Shibuya and Yoyogi-Uehara. For a classic Japanese take on the time-honored brew, pay a visit to a traditional kissaten.
As if Tokyo’s never-ending gastronomic options weren’t enough to break the bank, the city’s standing as a fashion capital is more than capable of claiming a paycheck here and there. High-end Omotesando abuts the street fashion mecca Harajuku, while the second-hand hub Shimokitazawa is a short train ride away.
Clothes aren’t your thing? Pop-culture lovers could spend a lifetime (and their life’s savings) in Akihabara, while aspiring cooks and accomplished chefs alike can whittle away hours perusing the cutlery in Kappabashi, AKA Kitchen Town. Bottom line: Tokyo has more than a little of something for everyone.
We can’t wait to see you.