Tokyo's best restaurants and cafés
Tokyo's best bars and pubs
The best Tokyo bars with a view
There are few things more breathtaking than gazing out over the sea of lights that is Tokyo at night, and virtually everyone in the city has their own favourite spot for viewing the spectacle. Admiring the view is of course best done while sipping a drink in good company, but the vast selection of rooftop restaurants and bars can be a little tricky to navigate – especially if you're on a budget. Whether you're looking to impress a Tokyo newbie, planning a very special date or just want to feel like a VIP for a few hours, consider checking out some of the 15 top Tokyo bars listed below. All of these offer noteworthy night-time views, ranging from classic skyscraper vistas to offbeat perspectives, and are accessible even to thrifty boozers on the hunt for a little luxury.
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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.
The best events in Tokyo
Leandro Erlich: Seeing and Believing
Visitors to Kanazawa's 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art will be familiar with 'Swimming Pool', one of the dozens of large-scale, optical illusion-based works for which Argentinian contemporary artist Leandro Erlich has become famous. This master of the tricky, playful and unexpected has now conquered Roppongi's Mori Museum with 44 representative works, 80 percent of which are being displayed in Japan for the first time. Photography is allowed in front of most of the pieces, so get ready to boost your Instagram cred with some truly outside-the-box imagery.
Nihonbashi Sakura Festival
One of the more successful redevelopment experiments in Tokyo recently, the revitalised Nihonbashi area celebrates sakura season with a packed programme of events. Although actual cherry trees here are scarce and limited to the newly re-planted ones along Edo Sakura-dori, hanami-themed light-ups will be arranged to make up for the deficit: every day after sunset, major landmarks like the Mitsui Building and Coredo Muromachi will be illuminated in pink, while the recently renovated street leading to Fukutoku Shrine will be beautified by audiovisual, digital sakura decorations dubbed the 'Sakura Tunnel'. There's also something to look forward to for gourmands: 150 local restaurants will have sakura-themed menus, and some will set up stalls in the area for you to snack while blossom-hunting.
Koinobori at Tokyo Tower
Now an annual sight at Tokyo Tower, the colourful Children's Day carp streamers will be set up in front of the main entrance again from early April. In addition to 333 koinobori, which of course signify the height of our beloved Eiffel Tower replica, the decorations include a 6m sanma-nobori – this one both a reminder of September's Tokyo Tower Sanma Matsuri and of the ongoing recovery efforts in Tohoku's Sanriku region, a major producer of Pacific saury (sanma). Between 5pm and 11pm, the koinobori will be lit up with 10 different LED searchlights too; pop by both during the day and night (or close to sundown) to experience the tower in two very distinct ways.