Tips from 35,000 Feet: Our Top Tokyo Spots

By: Katie Manning

January 10, 2013


We always get excited when we touch down in the world’s largest city, and it never disappoints us. If, like us, you are desperate to see some world-famous sumo wresting, then there is simply no better place in Tokyo than Ryugoku Kokugikan. Well, it is the sumo centre of the universe, after all. If we’re ever in Tokyo in January, May or September, then it’s a must because you get to see the big men of Japan battle it out for various titles in the flesh.

Ryugoku Kokugikan | Tokyo
Ryugoku Kokugikan, Tokyo. Photo: Julian Littler

Tokyo might be the birthplace of sushi and therefore home to the world’s best fare, but we never stop there. In fact, we are completely hooked on udon – thick wheat noodles – and one of the best places to sample some in our opinion is The Sanuki Club in the heart of the Azabu area. As well as the delicate flavour and texture of the noodles, we love their tempura accompaniments and the menu includes hot soups, too, which are immensely comforting.

Sanuki Club | Tokyo
The Sanuki Club, Tokyo © The Sanuki Club

If you go to any traditional restaurants, we absolutely recommend taking shoes off before walking on tatami floors (they can be recognised by their tightly woven rice straw). When dining with Japanese business companions you should also remember not to take the last piece of food from any communal plates or to pour your own drink – serve others and then someone will serve you.

The Best Sushi | Tokyo
Tokyo – The Birthplace of Sushi. Photo: JNTO

If, like us, you’re a fan of the film Lost in Translation, you really have to stay at least one night in the Park Hyatt Hotel, housed on top of the legendary Kenzo Tange Shinjuku Tower. Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson’s characters have their chance meeting here and we love exploring all of the floors (including the super amazing pool with underwater views) before grabbing a drink at The New York Bar and Grill with its spectacular views across the city. We always rush to a table by the window, order a classic cocktail and soak up the atmosphere of Tokyo with live music as our soundtrack – heaven!

The Floating Bar | Tokyo
The Floating Bar, Tokyo © Floating Bar

A night on the town for us always ends up on the Floating Bar because it’s the perfect place to experience Tokyo nightlife with a difference. You can hop on board the floating barge on Thursday, Friday or Saturday and it takes you on a trip around Tokyo Bay while you party with only the most adventurous revellers of the night. For a special occasion, we always try and arrange a private charter, taking advantage of their wonderful champagne and the Tokyo lights. It’s a magical experience and one that always comes to an end too soon for us.

Where are your favourite places to soak up the Tokyo atmosphere? Have you had any extraordinary experiences the city?


Katie Manning

Katie is an author for the Virgin Atlantic blog. Despite her urban London residency, Katie can often be found exploring far-flung corners of the globe in search of exciting new experiences and stories. A self-confessed night-owl, she makes it her mission to search out the best cocktail bars and live music venues on each and every expedition. Follow Katie @kt_saramanning

Categories: Our Places