Consistently one of the world’s most inspiring cities, Tokyo is finally back on the global travel map.
Much has changed since Covid-19, which saw Japan enter over two years of international near-isolation. Swathes of the city underwent major redevelopment in anticipation of the 2020 Olympics, and another legacy of that event is an array of inspirational hotels and dining openings now eager for business.
Alongside the now Gen Z-dominated Shibuya, neighbourhoods formerly far off the hip radar have become spots to watch. Nihonbashi, the hub of Japan's financial industry, is now home to hip coffee shops and bars dotted along the backstreets, and Higashi-Nagasaki – named by Vogue Taiwan as one of the world’s coolest ’hoods – boasts a clutch of inspiring stores and cafes.
Photographer and stylist Nicholas ‘Yuthanan’ Chalmeau, also the mastermind behind emerging brand Sillage, alongside Masumi Yamada, a model and revolutionary calligraphist, are some creatives to note.
Must-see stores include the debut flagship from Swiss-born running shoe brand On Running, where cutting-edge functionality meets a stunning store design. Yohji Yamamoto’s second store in Aoyama taps into WGSN’s #ModularRetail story. Another must-visit is Takayuki Minami’s Gallery 85.4, which showcases contemporary furniture alongside lifestyle accessories.
Brands to know include outdoor-inspired and wander and Daiwa, and pared-down basics from stein and Auralee. Meanwhile, Ryaw and Baaku are fashion innovators that take biophilic and gender-inclusive design as starting points.
The food and drink scene continues to innovate and inspire. Shimokitazawa’s Bonus Track development is home to Hakko Department, which caters to the growing interest in fermented foodstuffs. Vegan ramen specialist UZU Tokyo offers sensorial dining experiences in a breathtaking space created by digital art trailblazers teamLab.
In the wellness sphere, increasing demand for private fitness facilities and the recent requirement for social distancing have driven the success of M2 GYM, a chain of micro gyms housed in trailers parked in locations across Japan.
Digital art comes under the spotlight in the city's futuristic gallery spaces, with new galleries such as NEORT++ and NOX recently opening to present boundary-pushing digital art.
If you’re a WGSN subscriber, get inspired by the latest new concepts in our latest Tokyo Guide. Live now on the site.