Stroll Ueno Park. The Cherry Blossoms (sakura) just came out and there were loads of people in the park “watching” the sakura at impromptu drinking parties (O’hana-mi). /// Dinner down a random alley with my friend Stephen - tip: have your favorite Japanese speaking friend show you around. Many different grilled (adventurous) meats along with beer. /// Japanese whiskey at Bar Martha. /// Mid-day shopping in Shibuya. /// Afternoon bath at Ooedo-Onsen-Monogatari. I admit, I was skeptical. It was tough to imagine getting in a tub with smiling, bowing Japanese men. However, it ended up being one of my favorite things in Japan. Ooedo-Onsen was an elaborate place, with indoor and outdoor tubs, as well as a great Edo-style “main street.” Definitely relaxing with the stress/tension quickly ebbing away. The whole process was a bit confusing, but you catch on quick (also thanks to English signs). I’m a quick convert. Should NOT be missed. /// Ginza for Kushi Katsu and beers. /// Early morning sushi and the auctions at Tsukiji Market. /// Shop Harajuku. Full of cafes and clothing shops, this is as close to hipster as you’ll get in Tokyo. /// Dinner at Gonpachi near-ish Roppongi, where they filmed a famous (?) scene from Kill Bill. Added sake to the mix to fit the mood.
General travel advice from my friend, Stephen -
In Tokyo (and Japan) it’s all about the experience. It’s unlike other places where you hit all the major tourist spots to check them off your list, in Tokyo you have to just take it in, and that includes all the weird but awesome things, the old that juxtaposes the new, and just enjoy it. People are going to be in huge rushes just like NYC but then randomly you’ll see a bunch of guys in suits loitering around a vending machine on the street and you’ll think to yourself “WTF are they doing?” but basically they’re stopping for a minute to slow down and enjoy the day. You should do the same. Japan is all about food; eat as much of it as you can, and you’ll find that in the process you’ll experience the local people and culture. Also, in Japan you need to look up. Unlike NY it’s not always the street level locations that have the best shops and restaurants.