Top events in Tokyo right now
Mount Takao Beer Festival
On a clear night, you can gaze out across Tokyo and as far as Yokohama. Mt Takao's beer garden is located 500m above sea level, and does a good job of keeping hikers well satiated throughout the summer. The price includes an all-you-can-eat buffet of Japanese, Chinese and Western food, plus two hours of free-flowing beer, wine and cocktails. To say that this place gets crowded at weekends would be a gross understatement. The garden is open from mid-June to mid-October, and one word of warning: the last cable car departs at 9.15pm sharp.
Tokyo's best restaurants and cafés
Tokyo's best bars and pubs
Tokyo facts and trivia
Best restaurants by cuisine
Getaway tips and ideas
Guide to climbing Mt Fuji
July doesn’t only mark the beginning of summer, it’s also the kick-off season for adventurous hikers who plan to conquer Mt Fuji (3,776m), the iconic peak that have to symbolise Tokyo and Japan as a whole. This active stratovolcano is also the highest mountain in Japan. Climbing season lasts roughly three months until early September; any attempt out of this period is prohibited. Before taking on the challenge, there is quite a lot to prepare – so let’s get right to it.
More of Tokyo's best...
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.
Hot new openings
Craving a late-night parfait? This cosy café in Ikebukuro caters to those who prefer a sweet dessert over a boozy night on the town. From 5pm (3pm on weekends) you can devour an over-the-top parfait creation made from fresh fruit, sorbet, gelato, whipped cream and various other toppings. The items at this Hokkaido-born ‘parfaiteria’ change monthly based on what's in season, so you'll want to come back frequently to see what they have in store.
This new sour specialty shop inspired by Harajuku's shopping mecca Cat Street has its roots in Kyoto, and and has brought around 20 of their boozy creations to the streets of Shibuya. Choose from fruity options mixed with shochu including lemon, watermelon, pineapple, kiwi and passion fruit, all topped off with their respective pieces of fruit. Sour Harajuku's interior concept was also designed by the clever folks behind Kyoto-based shop and gallery Vou/Bo, where they've completed the space with artwork by artists from Japan's former capital.
Shibuya welcomes the first sister outlet of the long-established Shinjuku café Coffee Kizoku Edinburgh. Foodies can look forward to café staples such as sandwiches and bagels, and decadent desserts including towering parfaits and banana-filled crêpes. The cfaé is located inside the Seibu Shibuya shopping centre and offers free wi-fi as well as power outlets, making it a good place to get some work done over coffee.
Sushi chef Takahiro Okada, formerly from the Michelin-starred Sushi Yu in Roppongi, has now taken over the reigns as head chef at this new sushi restaurant in Hiroo. At Sushi Zai, diners get to sample traditional Edomae sushi with a new, innovative twist, made by experienced chefs who cut their teeth at well-known restaurants across the city. Aside from sushi, there is also a selection of one-plate dishes, plus a decent drink menu that offers nihonshu and wine. Looking for more privacy when you dine? Groups of five can reserve the private counter, which comes with its own sushi chef.