A note from Yves
: "In May 2015, Dwyer and I got engaged in Tokyo on our first trip to Japan. That first trip was an amazing experience and a lasting memory for many obvious reasons.
Dwyer’s ring was one of the first true wedding rings I designed and it inspired the Juno
. I’ve been lucky to travel to Tokyo at least twice a year for trunk shows. It's my favorite city in the world. I’ve been building a map of my favorite restaurants, bars, shops, sites and I add to it each time I go. Tokyo is very big, and this barely touches the surface…"
Akane's Pick: BEARD is a place very close to my neighborhood. They serve very fresh vegetable, meat and fish and very good wine. The place is so cute.
Akane's Pick: WAGA-ZUSHI is one of my favorite place to have sushi. They do really beautiful work.
SUSHI KYUBEY (GINZA) - This was recommended to us by a Japanese friend, and you’ll see this consistently on lists of best sushi restaurants in Tokyo. Definitely on the pricier side, but not nearly as expensive as some lesser sushi in the US! You’ll need a reservation.
SUSHI TAKE (GINZA) - This is an unusual spot, and somewhat controversial since the chef is a woman. Jiro famously said that women should never be allowed to make sushi since the temperature of their hands fluctuates too much. Which made me want to try this even more. The chef uses red vinegar instead of rice vinegar, so the taste is also very different. The fish is top quality, and the experience was wonderful. It’s not for everyone, but I would definitely return.
TSUKIJI FISH MARKET (GINZA) - Mark this as site to see on your visit to Tokyo. Come here for sushi breakfast and wander the market where all of the chefs come each morning before dawn to order their daily fish. If you’re ambitious you can also get into the famous tuna auction, but be prepared to arrive around 4:00 AM. Not so hard if you’re as jet-lagged as I usually am. DAIWA SUSHI is one spot that’s been recommended, but honestly there’s usually a long line and I usually find an amazing spot just wandering around. It’s really hard to go wrong.
HARUTAKA SUSHI - This is one of Jiro’s apprentices. That says enough.
IPPUDO RAMEN - These can be found around the city. They are all good, and quite popular.
SHABUZEN (SHIBUYA) - You’ll have seen this one in Lost In Translation. It’s good Shabu Shabu, regardless.
KYUSHU JANGARA - More great ramen.
KAWAKAMIAN (AOYAMA) - Really great Izakaya in the Omotessando / Aoyama area. I came here several times.
PIZZA SLICE 2 - New York style pizza in Japan?? Yeah - it’s really good. My friend designed the restaurant so I like to come here for a draft beer and pizza when I can.
GONPACHI IZAKAYA - You’ll recognize this from Kill Bill, and you’ll feel like a real American tourist coming here. The atmosphere is cool, nonetheless, and the food is good. Invariably I find myself walking past here sometimes, and I’ll stop in.
JUMBO YAKINIKU - Great Japanese barbecue.
SAHSYA KANETANAKA (AOYAMA) - A beautiful restaurant to visit for lunch in Aoyama. You’ll need a reservation if you don’t come early.
HITSUMABUSHI BINCHO (GINZA) - Unagi restaurant where they serve only eel. That’s it. I love it.
S E E
MEIJI SHRINE: Absolutely beautiful Shinto shrine. A must-see.
ASAKUSA: The main Buddhist temple. It’s very crowded and touristy, but also fun to see.
TOKYO TOWER: Great views of the whole city.
NEZU MUSEUM: Beautiful grounds and a nice selection of premodern Asian and Japanese art.
SKY TREE: Tallest tower in Tokyo with an aquarium inside.
EDO MUSEUM: A history of Tokyo with a shop inside with traditional items.
R E C O R D S
Editor's Note: Yes, record stores have their own category—Yves is obsessed!
A note from Yves: "Tokyo is hands-down my favorite place to shop for vinyl in the world. You can literally find everything and anything you’re looking for. Most shops have representatives and dealers combing the world for records, so you’ll find first UK pressings of UK bands, Indian pressings of Bollywood records, African funk straight from the back streets of Africa. Prices can get up there, but you can also find a lot of great deals and a huge variety of music. Most shops are dedicated to one genre of music… and of course there are full shops dedicated to The Beatles and Elvis. I had to buy an extra suitcase to take my recent haul back to the US. I got a lot of great jazz, prog rock, punk, and a nice collection of Japanese City Pop from the late 70s / early 80s. Here are some of my favorite shops."
DISK UNION: This is probably the biggest chain in Tokyo (and outside of Tokyo). Each shop is dedicated to one genre of music, though they are usually stacked on top of each other. My favorites are in Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Shimokitazawa. Stop into one of them and grab a map for the rest of the city.
RECOFAN - SHIBUYA: This is a huge shop on the third floor of a mall. You could literally spend hours in here - they have absolutely everything.
HMV - SHIBUYA: There are several of these around Tokyo - I’ve only been to the one in Shibuya. There are some great finds in here.
MANUAL OF ERRORS SONATA: This is a bit hard to find. On the 11th floor of the building that HMV is in, though there are no signs. It’s a small shop with an amazing selection of weird, rare records from around the world. The owner is amazing and will bow to you as you enter and leave. It’s fun to browse and listen to whatever bizarre tunes he’s spinning.
Yves at a trunk show in Tokyo