Tokyo's best restaurants and cafés
Tokyo's best bars and pubs
Tokyo facts and trivia
Best restaurants by cuisine
Getaway tips and ideas
More of Tokyo's best...
The best events in Tokyo
Bon Odori in Minato Mirai
Dance the traditional way at Rinko Park's Bon Festival, where you can also catch a taiko drumming performance, snack on above-average festival grub, get buzzed on nihonshu and beer and take in the sweaty summer atmosphere of Yokohama. Definitely an event enjoyable for visitors of all ages.
Shimokitazawa Ichibangai Awa-Odori
Granted, it's a minnow compared to the Koenji Awa-Odori that takes place a week later, but Shimokitazawa's version of the famed dancing-in-the-streets fest (originally from Tokushima) has a unique charm of its own. Held for the 53rd time this year, the Shimokitazawa Awa-Odori sees teams of dancers romp along the neighbourhood's main shopping streets in the evening, then dazzle the assembled hordes with their own special routines later on. Be sure to hang around afterwards, when the area is engulfed in a wave of booze-sodden joie de vivre.
Summer Sonic 2018
What this archetypal city-based music festival lacks in setting, it makes up in convenience. While other festivals boast views of rolling hills or stunning lakes, Summer Sonic has easy access from the city and an abundance of clean toilets, and – along with a cracking line-up – sometimes that’s all you need. There are multiple stages at this two-day weekend festival. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and Beck are the headliners this year, along with a host of current hit makers and indie darlings such as Marian Hill, Billie Eilish, Portugal The Man, St Vincent and more. Japanese act to watch: DYGL – an up-and-coming quartet known for their stripped-down rock sound.
Sancha Latin Festival
Sangenjaya, known as Sancha among the locals, holds its annual Latin Festival with several live performances throughout these two days. Munch on some traditional festival food while taking in the scenery of the spectacular samba parade, taking place on August 19 from 1.30pm.
Where to stay in Tokyo
Grand Hyatt Tokyo
Though it shares a celebrity buzz with its sister hotel the Park Hyatt, the effortlessly sleek Grand is pleasingly low-key. Its location in the upmarket Roppongi Hills complex might not suit those who like their Tokyo served straight up, but by the same token it provides a restful retreat. And having high-end shops and restaurants, a 53-floor panorama and world-class art on your doorstep can be considered quite an amenity. As is the Nagomi spa (though there’s a charge for guests) which, in addition to the usual list of artful treatments, has a lap pool, steam and sauna and a luminous white jacuzzi. Though not flashy, the guest rooms are extremely comfortable and well thought out, with dimmable lights, Bose stereos and free high-speed internet, and a tub you could park your car in. A 10th anniversary renovation has added Oxford chairs, original washi paper artwork and Bluetooth connectivity to the amenities.
Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo
Focusing not just on Tokyo, but on the historic Nihonbashi area in which it sits, the Mandarin is the antidote to that feeling that luxury hotels are the same the world over. Many of the materials are sourced from local artisans. The lobby and rooms all hint at traditional Japanese motifs, from the torii shrine gates and washi paper lanterns to the woven fabrics that hang in place of paintings. The view from the rooms trumps most of its top-end rivals, with a mosaic of lights from the business district in the foreground, and Mt Fuji straight ahead.
Just when it was starting to feel that Tokyo ryokans were on the verge of extinction, along came a major new player. Opened in July 2016, Hoshinoya Tokyo is one of the capital's very few luxury ryokans – and it's located in central Otemachi, just a short walk from Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace. The 19-storey (including two underground floors) building houses tatami-floored suites, as well as a spa, Japanese restaurant and conference facilities, while offering the same standard of service that's earned awards for its sister resorts in places including Karuizawa and Kyoto. Given the lack of similar establishments in the city, it promises to present a serious challenge to Tokyo's glut of luxury hotels, though a night's stay sure doesn't come cheap here. Check out more photos and information on our blog.
The Hyatt group’s lifestyle brand Andaz opened its frst Tokyo hotel on the top of the 52-storey Toranomon Hills complex in June 2014. The hotel houses 164 guestrooms, a partially open-air rooftop bar, and a whopping 50m2 guestroom, the largest of its kind in Tokyo. To allow guests to enjoy their own style of stay, the Andaz Hosts, who take on the traditional roles of doormen, receptionists and concierges, are there to assist in any way. To make you feel more at home, they don’t wear black uniforms or name tags and will engage with guests to provide the best recommendations and suggestions for exploring Tokyo like a local.