Unless you live under a rock that gets no cell reception, you know Tokyo is like, the hottest travel destination right now. It seems like every post with a Tokyo geotag is bursting with over-the-top colors that make you just want to dive in. I know that for most people, Tokyo is far af to get to. It’s also commonly considered an expensive and time-consuming commitment, but what trip isn’t, right? It’s hard for me to put into words how culturally enriching visiting Tokyo was. It was an adventurous, wild, delicious ride that I can’t recommend enough, but I’ll do my best…
My husband and I decided to take a much-anticipated (and super millennial) one-year anniversary trip across the world and decided to start our travels in none other than Tokyo, Japan. I only had three glorious days in Tokyo, so I jam-packed them and I was able to see so much of what this vibrant city has to offer. You can absolutely cram in the recommendations below, or spread them out over a solid week. The bottom line is that there’s never too much time in Tokyo.
A quick lesson on when it’s worth balling out on a swanky hotel: First, take into consideration how many nights you’ll be staying in that city and how expensive it generally is. If it’s a big city with lots to see and do, also consider how much time you’ll realistically be in that hotel room. If you have limited travel time and anticipate spending your days galavanting around nonstop, your hotel’s purpose will strictly be for getting ready and sleeping. It’s obvious when you break it down in simple terms, but most people don’t realize just how wasteful splurging on a hotel room can be. All the money you can save by booking a perfectly suitable budget hotel can go towards bougie dinners on your trip (or a shopping spree at YSL, your choice girl). Either way, be sure to consider all the factors before choosing a hotel.
Hotel Wing International Premium Tokyo Yotsuya: My husband and I stayed here and were probably here for a total of maybe 8 hours a day (including sleeping #TeamNoSleep). It was super affordable, clean, came with a queen-size bed and was only two blocks from a central Metro station.
Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo At Marunouchi: If it’s a Four Seasons, you know it’s lit. This hotel is as baller as they come and is located right across from a Metro station hub. What could po$$ibly hold you back from booking thi$?
Be warned that a common culture shock factor you’ll experience in Japan is a minimalistic mentality, especially with space. A majority of the hotel rooms in Tokyo are extremely small in comparison to the standards you’re used to, and commonly come furnished with just a twin bed. Make sure you take note of the bed size when booking your hotel and take note of how far it is to the nearest Metro station.
PSA: Your disgust for your local city transit (lookin’ at you, MTA) will reach unthinkable new heights once you ride Tokyo’s glorious Metro trains. Without exaggerating, they are absolutely f*cking spotless. I would literally eat my mother’s home-cooked lasagna off the floors of these trains and stations. It’s mind-numbing how one of the busiest cities in the world manages to keep its mass transit so clean.
Cleanliness aside, I can almost guarantee after just one day in Tokyo you’ll feel surprisingly comfortable using the Metro. The trains are very easy to navigate, and all stations and ticket machines are very English-friendly. The passengers (just like everyone else in Japan) are super polite and most stations have staff on hand to ask for assistance. Google Maps will become your BFF, making everything very easy, down to notifying you of which platform number to get on and off the train.
Tokyo takes pride in the utmost efficiency for pretty much everything, and the train system is no different. It’s extremely rare for a train to even be so much as one minute late. Could you imagine if those were the conditions of your morning commute? FML. A last important note: keep the ticket you receive upon entering the train and save it for when you exit the station. You will need to give it back on your way out in order to exit (or else you’ll have to pay the fee again).
Ubers and taxis are extremely expensive in Tokyo for reasons still unknown to me. I took an Uber just once in my time there and that was only because it was after the Metro’s operation hours (which BTW they stop running roughly around midnight). Ubers are not commonly used since the Metro is so accessible (and because the traffic in Tokyo is insane), but they are of course always an option.
Lastly, if you’re staying in the heart of Tokyo your hotel should only be about 40 minutes from the airport. It’s not a far drive, but it will still cost you anywhere from $275-$300 via Uber or taxi (absurd). Your best bet is to either take a bullet train to the metro or a bus, both of which run around $40 per person. And fret not! Because the almighty Google Maps will help you figure out the logistics of both options when you’re there. This transportation info seems dense, but it’s absolutely stuff you should know before you get there. I do a lot of research before I travel and did not come across much about this, so you’re welcome!
Kawaii Monster Cafe: During their last visit to Tokyo, The Kardashians created a lot of hype here (and the hype is very real). This place is without a doubt a tourist trap, but I absolutely loved it. It’s a well-executed, colorful, fun vibe from start to finish. Make sure you book your reservations a few weeks in advance, and insider tip: if you want to snag one of the cool booths, get there 5-10 minutes before the requested arrival time.
Teppan Baby: This place has it all: unreal food, excellent atmosphere, and reasonable prices. Sit at the hibachi-style grill for an intimate look at how your dishes are prepared and get friendly with the energetic chefs.
Kakekomi Gyoza: Enjoy dumplings galore at this no-frills Izakaya restaurant in the heart of Shinjuku. I ate eight vegan dumplings and could have eaten roughly 1,000 more.
Manten Sushi: “Sushi will never be the same after eating sushi in Japan.” —a direct quote I said to my husband during our 27-course Omakase sushi dinner at Manten Sushi. The sushi here is absolutely to die for, and the sushi chefs make your experience one to remember. Reservations are highly recommended if you’re looking to do it up Omakase style.
Mr. Farmer: Breakfast is oddly hard to come by in Japan. It’s almost as though they skip over breakfast entirely and just go right to lunch and dinner menus. Not to worry though—Mr. Farmer has a wide variety of brunch favorites you’re familiar with served in a gorgeous botanical dining room.
Robot Restaurant: It’s widely known as a “must-see”, but I have a weird love-hate relationship with this place (and mostly it’s hate). It’s a super tourist trap, but not in a good way. It’s essentially a bizarre, loud performance show that I don’t necessarily regret going to, but I don’t really recommend either. Whatever you do, absolutely do not eat here and just go strictly for the show (and prepare for things to get REAL weird, Tokyo style).
Aoyama Flower Market Tea House: Sip the tea in this tea house blooming with flowers and plants. Lines can get long here, so get here early for your breakfast tea.
Ginza District: Ginza is home to the world’s busiest intersection, so you can just imagine how crazy it is here. The skies are filled with skyscrapers and streets are filled with endless shopping. If your inner 6-year-old still has a burning love for Hello Kitty, check out Sanrio World.
Akihabara: This district is home to many video game and electronic stores, giving it the fitting nickname “electric town.” If you’re a vintage video game lover like myself, don’t forget to stop at Super Potato while you’re in the area. Arcades here are filled with colorful claw machines and Mario Kart games where they superimpose your photo onto your character as you play. (Okay I’m done being a nerd now.)
Harajuku: Takeshita Street is a whimsical shopping strip within Harajuku that feels like something straight out of Dr. Seuss. The shops are quirky and the food is colorful. The underground Purikira photo booths are a best kept secret to tourists on this strip, and will certainly give you a dose of Harajuku culture. The photo booths overly filter your face (in a fun, weird way) and the whole place bizarrely serves as a place to model your newly purchased clothes. After your Harajuku photoshoot, grab an oversized rainbow fairy floss at Totti Candy Factory (often imitated, never duplicated) and play with puppies at the Teacup Poodle Cafe. If this street isn’t what dreams are made of, then I don’t know what is.
Themed Bars in Shinjuku: The streets in this neighborhood are filled with never-ending neon signs, but the bar scene in Tokyo is generally very intimate and chill. Most are located on upper levels of buildings (which can be difficult to find at times) and consist of intimate settings where you sit and unwind as you drink (aka no dancing/raging). Having said that, the bars are all very unique and beyond enjoyable. Most bars in this area have odd themes at places like Maid Cafe, Ninja Shinjuku and Alice in Magical Land. There’s a theme for everyone here.
Definitely visit Magic Bar if mind-blowing magic is your thing and 8-Bit Cafe if you’re into video games with Japanese roots. (There I go being a low-key nerd again.)
Golden Gai District: This 70+ year-old district is made up of over 200 miniature bars that seat only 4-8 people, defining the very essence of minimalism. The intent is to encourage patrons to converse with one another, making for a very special experience.
Bar Orchard is a great place to grab a mixology cocktail. Select your favorite fruits from their beautiful display tower of real fruit and watch them craft you an out-of-this-world cocktail. What’s not to love?
Bar High Five is another wonderfully intimate bar with a great selection of Japanese whiskey.
Sensōji Temple: Tokyo’s oldest temple is a must-see site with crowds of people around the clock. It’s surrounded by hundreds of markets filled with fun souvenirs and endless sweet treats.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden: Feast your eyes on this little slice of peaceful heaven in the middle of Tokyo’s madness. The Japanese landscapes are unlike anything you’ve ever seen and the tranquility is untouchable.
Tokyo has a lot to see and do that will give you memories to cherish (and Instagram) for a lifetime. I can truly say that interacting with the amazing people of this city is something that’s changed how I think as a person. I encourage you to take a page out of their playbook and actually smile at people you encounter, engage in conversation at any chance you get, and of course, enjoy as much sushi as you can.
As I said, you can totally stretch out your time in Tokyo if you are able, but this was my itinerary if you are only there for a short trip:
Day 1: Arrival
☆Land and check into Hotel Wing International Premium Tokyo Yotsuya
☆Nightcap at Magic Bar for more food, drinks, and magic
Day 2: Sightseeing
☆Breakfast at Mr. Farmer
☆Take a 15-minute walk or train to the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
☆Visit Sensōji Temple—make sure to arrive before it closes at 5pm. (45-minute train ride from the gardens)
☆Dinner in the Golden Gai district at the landmark Omoide Yokocho alleyway for street food dumplings
☆9:30 reservation for the show at Robot Restaurant. It’s only a 7-minute walk from dinner, but arrive by 9pm.
☆Play Mario Kart next door at GAO Kabukicho arcade
Day 3: Shopping
☆Arrive early for breakfast tea at Aoyama Flower Market Tea House
☆Take a 10-minute walk or 5-minute train for your 11:30 reservation at Kawaii Monster Cafe for drinks and dessert. Arrive 15 minutes in advance for a good seat.
☆10-min cab ride to the Harajuku district for shopping and strolling. Walk through Takeshita Street, Tokyu Plaza, and Cat Street. Shop at Alice on Wednesday, WEGO, and Honey mi Honey. Snack on takoyaki at Gindaco and fairy floss at Totti Candy Factory.
☆Grab a small bite at the restaurants underneath Yurakucho train station for Izakaya
☆6pm dinner reservation at Manten Sushi
Images: Joana Mascioli
In a good year, I might take three vacations, and at least one of them is to visit my parents. Shockingly, Kourtney Kardashian and I live very different lives. The eldest Kardashian sister has a passion for travel, and she’s really never not on vacation. Literally, Kourtney Kardashian went on vacation more than 10 times SINCE JANUARY alone, which I think is more than the amount of times I have received a pay check. *Takes deep, calming breaths* Anyway. Her Instagram feed is basically just a vacation blog at this point, because she’s only in LA for like one out of every 10 photos. Seriously, who takes care of her kids, and don’t say that it’s Scott and teenage step mommy Sofia Richie, because I don’t believe that for a second. They must have the best nannies in the world, and they should get a reality show please and thank you.
Since the start of 2018, Kourtney has gone on no less than 11 trips/vacations, totaling more than a month of total travel time. Kourtney Kardashian takes vacations like I take my birth control. Someone please give me a reality show ASAP, because I would love to be on vacation for 25% of my life. Some of her trips are with her boyfriend, Younes, and others are with her kids or her sisters, but sometimes it’s a complete mystery. Maybe she goes alone and just asks randos to take pictures of her? It’s probably that. Here are all of the places Kourt has been so far this year, and yes I am jealous.
January 6-9: Park City, Utah
Kourtney kicked off her 2018 with a ski vacation in Deer Valley Resort in Utah, where she was joined by her kids. It seems like her kids don’t usually get to come on her trips, so it’s fun that she didn’t leave them at home with Scott this time. Deer Valley isn’t cheap, and the best accommodations are thousands of dollars a night. Never forget the ski trip episode of KUWTK when they took Kim’s Blackberry and threw it down the stairs. I fucking love this family.
January 23-25: Punta de Mita, Mexico
Literally weeks later, Kourtney Kardashian went on vacation to Mexico, where she spent a fun few days hanging out in Punta de Mita, which I’ve never heard of, but it looks amazing. She’s alone in all the photos, so it’s unclear who she went with, but she looked hot. Also, she tagged her hotel in every photo she posted, so it’s safe to say she didn’t pay for anything on this trip. If you want to stay at the Imanta Resort like Kourtney, you’ll be spending at least $765 a night for the cheapest room. Also she captioned one of her instas “guac is extra” so make that $768.
February 4-5: New York City
Kourt popped up to NYC for a couple days, where she had breakfast at Tiffany’s with Penelope and North. It was just the three ladies for the weekend, with Kim and the other kids nowhere to be seen. This would be a cute idea, if it didn’t seem like North hates Penelope from all the photos. Maybe North just hates everyone, not like I can relate. Also, I feel like going to the new cafe at Tiffany’s is the NYC nicegirl move of 2018.
February 18: Skiing (Again)
Kourtney gave absolutely no context for this photo, but I’m just going to assume that she was skiing on February 18. Usually she’s not so cryptic about her trips, but there’s not much info here. I’m hoping that she’s sitting in between Scott and Younes and that they finally had a threesome, but it’s probably just two randos that we wouldn’t even care about. No matter who else is in the picture, flying somewhere to ski just for the day is so Kourtney Kardashian.
February 26-March 4: Japan
The Kardashian sisters took a big vacation to Japan as Khloé’s “babymoon,” which is A) not a thing and B) really not a fucking thing. Nevertheless, I am still very jealous of the week they spent exploring Tokyo and Kyoto. Kourtney served some major looks while she was in Japan, and tbh “Tokyo Kourtney” would be my ideal character if I was designing a video game. Remember back when we could appreciate Khloé’s pregnancy without knowing about the cheating shit storm that was to come? Those were the days.
April 2-3: Big Sur
There’s no better way to emphasize Kourtney’s tinyness than hanging out with the literal biggest trees on the planet. I’m glad Kourt took some time to connect with nature, but seeing her in a flannel feels very wrong. Like, where is all the skin? Whatever, Kourtney was really feeling her Northern California vibe for the two days that she was there, and I would absolutely do the same thing.
April 4: San Francisco
After living her Big Little Lies fantasy in Big Sur for a couple days, Kourt headed north to San Francisco, where she wore some unfortunate jeans while it was clearly too cold to be at the beach. Kourtney’s Nor-Cal fashion game is giving me a headache, so thank god she usually vacations in sunnier places. I also can’t really picture her in San Francisco, because I feel like she would just be complaining the whole time about how it’s not LA.
April 8-11: Turks & Caicos
Post-Japan, Kourtney and Kim hung out in Turks & Caicos for a few days, while Khloé was trapped in Cleveland with
the fucking devil Tristan Thompson. Kourt posted one Insta where she’s sitting on a bar and wearing a Chanel fanny pack, which is everything I want out of 2018. Seriously, she is so hot. I also need to know how many tries this perfect surfboard photo took, because I would absolutely tip over into the water 17 times.
April 18-20: Random Trailer
For Kourtney’s 39th birthday, Younes surprised her with a little getaway to a luxury Airstream trailer somewhere in Malibu. Usually I wouldn’t put the words “luxury” and “trailer” in the same sentence, but this place looks incredible. Brb, sending screenshots of this to the guy I’m talking to just as a little hint of what I want for my birthday. Also, again Kourtney, wtf are those jeans, and why?
April 24-25: Washington DC
Okay, so this wasn’t truly a vacation, but someone else had to watch her kids for a couple days so it counts. Kourt went to Washington to speak before congress about chemicals in shampoo or some shit like that, and she did some sightseeing while she was in the nation’s capital. She was there to see the famous cherry blossoms, and also posted a photo at the Lincoln Memorial. Praise be to Kourtney Kardashian, queen of flowers and also of history. She does it all!
May 6-8: Canyon Point, Utah
As I write this, Kourtney is probably getting dirt all over her Yeezys in some canyon in Utah. She surprised Younes with a trip to Utah for his 25th birthday, and it actually looks like a lot of fun. They’re staying at the Amangita Resort, which is a favorite of Kim’s (and also Kyle Richards stayed there like last week), and getting lots of good photo ops in front of the red rocks. This place will definitely be on my list once I’m in a position to take 32 vacations a year.
Images: Shutterstock; @kourtneykardash / Instagram (11)