From e-wallets to Godzilla to school girl fashion, everything cool happens in Tokyo first.
Now's your chance to get ahead of the curve on a summer trip to Japan's capital—where sushi, sake, and shopping await you in one of the world's largest city.
There's no East-West beef here: Japan Airlines introduced its first nonstop flight from Tokyo to Boston in April with the debut of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Thanks to that "prescribed" sleeping pill, you'll be out for most of the 13.5-hour flight, but trust us, it's a nice plane.
Tokyo's reputation as a design Mecca is embodied at Claska, which offers a rooftop terrace, an art gallery and rooms that can be individually redesigned on the fly to fit your particular taste.
1-3-18 Chuocho, Meguro (+81 33719-8121)
Or maybe your idea of a Tokyo hotel involves something a little more high tech — as in heated toliet seats and Internet radio built into wall panels. It's not science fiction: both are standard at the Tokyo Peninsula Hotel.
1-8-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda (+81 3-62702888)
Enough supermarket sushi, already. Treat yourself to the real thing at Sukiyabashi Jiro Restaurant, the Michelin three-star rated restaurant where head chef Jrio Ono is a government-designated “living national treasure” and the subject of a documentary (yup, he's pretty good).
Roppongi Hills Residence B Tower, 2F, Roppongi 6-12-2, Minato-ku (+81 3-5413-6626)
Honmura An indulges in another Japanese tradition: having a guy cook you a simple meal of ramen noodles that will blow your mind. Traditional flavors — uni (sea urchin) among them — make for a meal of delicious simplicity that will create a lasting memory.
7-14-18 Roppongi, Minato (+81 3-57726657)
Japan's distilleries may not be household names, but by the time you finish sampling the wealth of local whiskies on tap at Shot Bar Zeotrope, you'll be ready to let the world in on the little island's secret.
3rd Fl., Gaia Bldg. #4, 7-10-14 Nishi Shinjuku (+81 3-3363-0162)
True to its namesake, the Armani Ginza Tower is the epitome of fashion: a sleek, gleaming 12-story tower of impeccable men's wear and even furniture, plus a top-floor private bar.
5-5-4 Ginza, Chuo-ku (+81 3-6274-7000)
The architecturally brilliant GYRE Concept Mall is worth visiting just to look at, but the fact that it houses stores like Martin Margiela and the MoMA Design Store certainly doesn't hurt.
5-10-1 Jingumae Shibuya-ku (+81 3-3498-6990)
Staying in the world's largest city can be a tad claustrophobic after a few days, so Mt. Fuji provides a beautiful natural escape. Head up to the peak, or hike along the network of trails that connect the “Fuji Five Lakes” on ground level. Sorry, no heated toilets here, though.
Kamakura was once Japan's capital city, but now it provides a peaceful alternative to Tokyo's hustle with ancient temples and shrines -- including the famous Giant Buddha -- just an hour away.