The city of Tokyo, which is ranked the world’s most populous metropolitan area, is an intoxicating blend of ultra-modern skyscrapers and ancient, charming temples; of vibrant streetscapes and tranquil parks. The capital of Japan (its name translates as “Eastern Capital”) is one of the best cities in the world in which to indulge in some truly luxurious and unforgettable experiences – here are some of our favourites.
One of the best ways to gain a perspective of this sprawling city, whose total metro area covers more than 13,000 square kilometres, is from the air by helicopter. Once aloft, you can soak up the incredible views which stretch from the glittering waters of Tokyo Bay to the distant but distinctive cone of Mt Fuji. Our favourite time for this experience: just before sunset so you can watch as the sun’s last rays turn the snowy slopes of Mt Fuji to rose gold.
Tokyo has more Michelin star restaurants than any other city in the world, so where better to learn about the delicate flavours and textures of the finest Japanese cuisine than at a cooking school based in a Michelin-starred restaurant? Your chef will introduce you to not just the ingredients and preparation, but also to the rich culture and tradition behind each iconic dish.
Although the word, sake, can refer to any alcoholic beverage in Japan, it generally refers to the Japanese rice wine that is the result of a centuries-old brewing process. Often served warm in an elaborate, traditional ceremony, you will gain a greater appreciation of the complexities of the many different varieties and flavours of sake by attending a tasting with a master or sommelier. For a truly authentic experience, visit the 300-year-old Ozawa brewery for a traditional Japanese lunch, sake tasting and spectacular mountain views.
Tokyo is a true 24-hour city, and one of the best places to appreciate this glittering city of lights by night is the New York Bar, set high-up in the Park Hyatt Hotel. Having achieved iconic status thanks to the Lost in Translation movie, this is a fantastic spot to enjoy the incredible views and live jazz as you work your way through the extensive offering of cocktails, many of which offer a uniquely Japanese twist on traditional favourites, thanks to the use of ingredients such as sake, plum and chilli syrup.
If you’re here to shop the big brand labels, there are several districts to choose from, but without doubt, the most exclusive labels are gathered together in Ginza. At its heart is Tokyo’s version of New York’s Fifth Avenue, Chuo-Dori, which offers a mix of upmarket boutiques, glamorous department stores and even a smattering of high-street brands. Even if you’re not in the market for a new Prada handbag or Bulgari bracelet, it’s well worth a visit for some divine window shopping.
Leave the bustling cityscape of Tokyo far behind for a night or two and head into the Japanese countryside for a stay at a luxury ryokan (a traditional-style inn), where you can soak in the soothing, hot waters of an onsen (hot spring), and soak up some wonderful Japanese hospitality, impeccable cuisine and stunning mountain scenery.
If these luxurious experiences are tempting you to treat yourself to a little luxury, Tokyo-style, ask your personal travel manager for more information.