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The largest city in the world, Tokyo can feel overwhelming for first-time visitors and seem unknowable even for seasoned travelers. Get a bird’s-eye view of the vast metropolis from the observation deck at Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest freestanding tower. From high-end shopping in Ginza to the cobblestone streets of Kagurazaka and historic Asakusa, every neighborhood has a distinctive atmosphere, and all are easily accessible by rail. Spontaneous exploration often leads to the most memorable moments, whether that’s stumbling upon a Shinto shrine in an unassuming alleyway, queuing for a fried sandwich stuffed with whipped cream or discovering a two-seat cocktail bar.

Photography provided by Bulgari Hotel Tokyo


Bulgari Hotel Tokyo

Set in a new skyscraper with some of the best views of the city, the 98-room Bulgari Hotel Tokyo embodies the modern glamour expected of the luxury jeweler. Overlooking Tokyo Station, and conveniently connected to the Tokyo Midtown Yaesu complex for uniquely Japanese shopping, the Bulgari has a sleek and sexy vibe, its corridors lined with a series of inconspicuous sliding doors and vintage sketches of jewelry. In the morning, feel like royalty as you press a button to raise your bed curtains and survey your sprawling kingdom.

Il Ristorante — Niko Romito reflects Bulgari’s Italian heritage with soigné classics like saffron risotto Milanese and a sumptuous antipasto platter. Start your evening with a rooftop aperitivo at the Bulgari Bar and save room for a creative twist on tiramisu for dessert. After dinner, head to the 40th-floor spa for an Augustinus Bader facial — a perfect remedy for jet lag that will leave you glowing.

Artful Living | Artful Living City Guide: Tokyo, Japan

Photography provided by Sézanne



In a bright and airy dining room in the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi, chef Daniel Calvert blends classical French culinary techniques with Asian cooking traditions and delicacies (creamy cod shirako, Shiranuka venison) for one of the most indulgent meals in Tokyo. His creative Eurasian fusion menu, prepared with finesse, includes memorable dishes like jellyfish salad niçoise and foie gras with Chinese soy-poached chicken. Service is attentive, with understated elegance, as befits what has been rated one of the world’s best restaurants.

The Sézanne is named for the Côte de Sézanne wine region in Champagne, and Calvert is a Krug Ambassador who admits he would happily drink champers with every meal, so it’s only natural that in addition to a Champagne trolley to begin the evening, diners can enjoy bubbly pairings as a lavish alternative to traditional wine pairings.

Artful Living | Artful Living City Guide: Tokyo, Japan

Photography provided by Deeper Japan


Hidden Art Galleries & Kintsugi Workshop

Private guides are highly recommended in Japan, where language barriers can be challenging. Inside Japan Tours specializes in custom itineraries for all interests, including art and culture. Their private operators will lead you to under-the-radar gems you’d never discover on your own, from unexpected exhibitions in Tokyo metro stations to galleries tucked away in prestigious department stores to an eclectic collection of artist studios and pop-up exhibitions in a 1930s apartment building with a manually operated elevator.

Connect with a local master artisan for a hands-on workshop through Deeper Japan. For example, visit the home of a kintsugi master to learn the Japanese art of repairing broken ceramics with gold. You’ll select a chipped vintage porcelain cup from the Meiji period, fill in the chip with clay putty, sand it, then paint it over with gold lacquer for a resplendent souvenir.

Artful Living | Artful Living City Guide: Tokyo, Japan

Photography provided by Inside Japan Tours


Japan Sword Co.

A hybrid museum, gallery and retail shop in Toranomon, Japan Sword Co. has been in operation since the 1800s and is the premier destination for authentic samurai swords. Browse the rotating exhibitions of antique swords, some from as early as the 14th century;  many of them are for sale. Or select a restored samurai sword made from tamahagane steel to take home, complete with detailed toshin (blades), tsuka (sword handles), helmet and armor. Decorative miniature reproductions are available as well.

Bringing home a certified Japanese sword requires an export certificate, and Japan Sword Co. will complete all the paperwork on your behalf. A few weeks later, your precious cultural artifact is delivered by courier service. Even if you aren’t in the market for a sword, the shop is enjoyable as an impressive collection of Japanese history.

Artful Living | Artful Living City Guide: Tokyo, Japan

Photography provided by CYCLE



Vegetables take center stage at renowned chef Mauro Colagreco’s newest restaurant, in Otemachi, inspired by Japan’s biodiversity and botanical beauty. The life cycle of plants — root, leaf, flower and fruit — is represented throughout the harmonious tasting menu, beginning with one-bite tapas like caramelized-onion-skin cannelloni and tempura fukinoto (butterbur sprouts) that set the tone for bold, bright flavors to come.

Chef Yuhei Miyamoto oversees the kitchen, having spent several years working alongside Colagreco at Mirazur, on the French Riviera. He expresses Mirazur’s culinary philosophy with zero-waste recipes using pristine Japanese ingredients. The nonalcoholic drink pairings, incorporating housemade kombucha, teas and juices, are as impressive as the wine; an amazake-and-chlorophyll drink with arugula is a particularly striking complement to kue (longtooth grouper) dressed in a verdant pil pil sauce. Miyamoto and his team will happily prepare vegetarian and vegan menus with advance notice. Rarely does fine dining feel so effortless.

Artful Living | Artful Living City Guide: Tokyo, Japan

Photography provided by TRUNK


Trunk (Hotel) Yoyogi Park

Trunk Co. Ltd. operates the best boutique hotels in Tokyo, including its newest property, just across from Yoyogi Park in a residential neighborhood of Shibuya. Each of the 25 rooms is a peaceful urban escape, including a spacious balcony and decor reflecting the Japandi (Japanese-Scandinavian) design aesthetic, with light wood, concrete and natural organic fabrics.

Every detail, from plush slippers to CBD chocolate and cricket insect snacks in the minibar, is thoughtfully curated for the most delightful and comfortable stay. Sustainability is a priority, with upcycled amenities, including eggshell coasters, rubber flip-flops and scrap-tile tumblers. Enjoy breakfast in your robe at the sixth-floor Trunk Pool Club, a rooftop bar exclusive to overnight guests, with a heated outdoor infinity pool and hot tub overlooking the park.

For the ultimate extravagance, book Trunk (House) in Kagurazaka, a former geisha house that’s now a one-room hotel residence with a butler, a private chef, a cypress soaking bath and Tokyo’s tiniest disco and karaoke bar.

Read this article as it appears in the magazine.

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