Dec 12, 2017 | By Carlene Thomas Bailey
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It may not be an official member of the fashion week elite (we’re talking NYFW, LFW, PFW and MFW), but Tokyo Fashion Week (October 17-20) should not be underestimated. There’s avant-garde fashion and streetwear collections from the likes of Mitsuru Nishizaki, Mint Designs and DressedUndressed; and a magnitude of unforgettable street style to be seen. We’ve rounded up the best eating, drinking and shopping destinations to get you inspired, whether you’re front row at the shows or simply lapping up the buzz of Japan’s major metropolis.
Wake up at…
3-18-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku / 81 (0)3 5549 2150
Risveglio Akasaka is a handsome and accessibly-priced hotel that aims to stimulate visitors’ creative senses (risveglio means ‘awaken’ in Italian) with artwork gracing the walls of the lobby and guest rooms. Contrasting the characterless chains in the Asakusa area, this hotel emits sleek masculine vibes with dark interiors such as raw brick and wood. The first floor is home to 135 Tavern, a Brooklyn-inspired all-day restaurant complete with craft beer.
Have breakfast at…
A hugely popular Shoreditch brunch spot, this Italian-inspired healthy deli has made its way from London to Tokyo in partnership with Japan’s Baycrew’s group. Breakfast in the elegant charcoal-coloured cafe is a real indulgence: syrup-drizzled brioche french toast or a slice of banana salted caramel loaf will easily set you up for the day ahead.
T2 Bldg A, 19-8 Sarugaku-cho, Shibuya-ku / 81 (0)3 6277 5085
Japanese fashion design innovator Issey Miyake’s Homme Plissé line, which consists of sporty takes on his signature pleating, gets its first standalone store in the form of a misshapen concrete cube. The men’s collection is presented as if it were floating within the two-storey space, as conceived by renowned industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa.
Spiral Bldg 5F, 5-6-23 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku / 81 (0)3 6825 3733
This one-of-a-kind concept store is the brainchild of womenswear designer Akira Minagawa. The striking space carries an array of handcrafted interior goods from collaborators such as glassware artist Kazumi Tsuji; alongside Minagawa’s signature floaty cotton garments and geometrically patterned textiles. Call also houses a grocery store and cafe.
4-1-6 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku / 81 (0)3 3352 1120
This vast new shopping centre is dedicated to the sophisticated female shopper and sits just adjacent to Shinjuku Station. Seven expansive floors play host to boutiques from the likes of Maison Kitsuné, Ships, Margaret Howell, Beams, Chanel and Isabel Marant’s second line, Isabel Marant Étoile, to name but a few. The eating and drinking options are appropriately lavish; including Dean & DeLuca, Blue Bottle Coffee, Le Café de Joël Robuchon and an oyster bar.
Have lunch at…
NEWoMan 6F, 5-24-55 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku / 81 (0)3 5361 7027
Transplanted directly from the West Village of NYC to the NEWoMan shopping complex, Rosemary’s is a New York Italian restaurant with emphasis on seasonal organic ingredients, many of which are grown in a rooftop garden above. A verdant terrace makes for a tranquil al fresco lunch spot in central Shinjuku.
Go and see…
Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, 4-7-25 Kita-Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku / 81 (0)3 3445 0651
Ending: January 9 2017
Prominent photographer Kishin Shinoyama, active since the 1960s and famed for his book The People by Kishin, brings a unique show to what is perhaps Tokyo’s most enchanting exhibition space. Shinoyama spent the months leading up to this exhibition shooting a series of fantastical female nudes in and around the gallery out of hours, lending the work an extra dimension of proximity when viewed on the spot it was created.
Have dinner at…
Karuha Nishi-Azabu 101, 1-4-28 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku / 81 (0)3 5411 2911
This restaurant devotes itself to the finest wagyu beef, which renowned chef Kenichiro Okada prepares with innovative, unexpected combinations including wagyu paired with chilled noodles. The intimate space is bustling come evening, as patrons dine in dim light beneath a large mural of a cow. It’s inconspicuous, elegant and unapologetically meat oriented.
Grab a nightcap at…
1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku / 81 (0)1 9575 1319
Bordering the Kabukicho adult-entertainment district, this warren of almost 200 tiny bars dates back to the 1950s and has a history as the stomping ground of Japan’s bohemian artists, writers and actors. Wander through the six alleyways and take your pick from the eclectic drinking dens, accommodating between five and 30 customers, but keep in mind some are locals-only. Experience the Golden Gai while the opportunity remains: it may well not survive the inevitable clean-up for the 2020 Olympics.
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