Category Archives: japan travel

Tokyo’s Best Luxury Hotel for Business

Hotel Chinzanso's Spa
Hotel Chinzanso’s Spa

Looking for a sexy hotel while doin’ business in Nippon? Look no further than the Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo, the iconic five-star flagship property of leading Japanese hospitality company Fujita Kanko. They’ve just announced that the hotel has been designated “Best Luxury Hotel, Japan, 2013” by Business Destinations magazine. The Business Destinations Travel Awards showcase companies whose products and services represent the pinnacle of the business travel industry.

Can you tell we're imagining going to Japan on business and then holing up in the spa?
Can you tell we’re imagining going to Japan on business and then holing up in the spa?

Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo was re-flagged in January after 20 years as the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-so (so you know that means ‘swanky digs’). Within six months of rebranding, Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo was then awarded five Red Pavilions by The Michelin Guide. The hotel is best known for its historic heritage and its lush Japanese garden, home to various botanical species, birds and insects – extremely rare in the middle of Tokyo and reason enough to stay a few nights.

Mokushundo, one of their restaurants, where they specialize in stone grilled delicacies
Mokushundo, one of their restaurants, where they specialize in stone grilled delicacies

The hotel offers 260 rooms and suites; 12 restaurants (wait… 12? Yes, you read that correctly, 12); Tokyo’s largest meeting/banquet facilities (36 banquet rooms, to be precise), including one of the city’s biggest banquet rooms with a tiered-seating amphitheater equipped for simultaneous interpretation (impromptu Japanese theater, anyone?); oh, and did we mention it also possesses Tokyo’s largest hotel spa. Since we need plenty of space for our big personality to unwind.

And food... let's not forget food. This is at one of their many restaurants, Ryotei Kinsui
Beautiful, glorious food. This photo features delectables from one of their many restaurants, Ryotei Kinsui

As part of the renovations and upgrading started at the time of the rebranding, a new one-of-a-kind facility, Serenity Garden, was also opened on the hotel’s rooftop, occupying 16,145 square feet (1,500 square meters). With the scenic garden as a backdrop, the property is certainly one of Japan’s most prestigious venues, hosting international functions for royalty, state leaders, and you… yes, you.

From $280/night and up

Tokyo, Japan: Shop Til You Doroppu

A Ganguro Girl – Tokyo, Japan

Doesn’t she just look precious? Almost like a Japanese version of Jessica Simpson… on acid… in an Anime porn. We love her so. We also can’t seem to get enough of Tokyo. Can you tell? Apparently, neither can our Devi Goddess Heroine Gwen Stefani. So here goes. Together, with Guest Contributor, Adam Fuller, your guide to the best spots to shop ’til you doroppu (at least we think that’s how you say it in glorious Nippon).


(JR Harajyuku station/Omote sando station/Yoyogi koen station / Meiji Jingu mae station)

This is where Gwennie found inspiration for her line, Harajuku Lovers. Just think… you might even leave looking like this Cosplay girl:

Cosplay, short for ‘Costume Play,’ is where teens and young adults dress up to look like their favorite Anime characters. Go on a Sunday around Harajuku Station – that’s the focal point for this fun fad. Though Harajuku’s teenage culture is Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street), check out the Meiji Shrine nearby and Kiddy Land, one of the most popular toy stores around.

Get ready for sensory overload. The busiest intersection in Japan, this is the place you’ve most likely seen in movies or commercials with tons of people, lights and huge TV screens on the fronts and sides of skyscrapers blaring advertisements and announcements to the masses. Shibuya is one of (if not the most) popular places in Tokyo for trendy restaurants, shopping, bars and nightlife.

Shibuya 109 Building (ichi-maru-kyu)
A trendy shopping center filled with clothing boutiques. This huge, grey building with a big 109 sign on the top is a landmark. You should see it or run right into it walking away from Shibuya station and veering to the left. Shopping in Shibuya is plentiful. Your best bet is to check out this site for a rundown. Though most people I know just love to wander around and find the gems on a whim.



This department store sells everything from trinkets from stalls, to food, and fashionable clothing. Don’t get confused by all the crazy naming… the one above is parco part-2, but there’s also parco part-1 and parco part-3 nearby.

Seibu Department Store (03-3462-0111)

Akihabara (JR Akihabara station)
This is also the center of Japan’s electronics with over 500 shops. About 30% less than the regular prices, and yes, you can bargain your little heart out.

Aoyama (Tokyo Subway Gaien-mae station or Aoyama ichome station)
Japan Traditional Craft Center (03-3403-2460)
Here you can find traditional crafts from all over Japan. Prices are high, but it’s well worth the visit.

Tsukiji Market (Tokyo Subway Tsukiji station)

Okay, so maybe you thought all the shopping was just for clothes, but this is the biggest wholesale fish market in Japan.

International Arcade (03-3571-1528) at Hibiya station is another cool place to go.

Forget the crazy consumerism of Shibuya for a day and check out the hippest part of Tokyo. Retro pop vintage stores, music clubs and noodle shops, this is Tokyo’s Greenwich Village. With clubs like The Village Vanguard Diner, Haight Ashbury, Las Vegas, and Mojo Rising, you’ll get a hint of the homage to all things Western too. A maze of music and art, catch sight of the area while you can. Word on the streets is that developers are pushing for a road that will split the cool area in two ☹

Brazilian born Alexandre Herchcovitch has his hot store in this fresh area.

La Foret (03-3475-0411) – tres chic and packed with fashionable goodies

Togo Shrine Flea Market is a great place if you’re looking for antiques. Go on the first, fourth, and fifth Sundays

Yoyogi Park Flea Market – Sunday

Last, but not least, we found these handy websites for true shopaholic:

Tokyo, Japan: Sightseeing & The City

This week, Guest Blogger and Jaunt Contributor, Adam Fuller, takes us to Japan where picked up his belongings and went on a whim to live in a foreign land with little more than a travel book and a hankering to learn about the culture. In this installment on his Tokyo series, he gives us a hint of the local sights. A graduate of the Arizona State University with a degree in Journalism, he’s currently in Santiago, Chile writing for The Santiago Times. Where does he get his great love of travel? “I spent significant chunks of childhood living in countries throughout Africa (Mali, Sudan, Chad and Rwanda) and studied in Spain and Japan. Foreign culture is a way of life, as well as a passion.”

Wandering the narrow, sometimes dark, sometimes lantern lit, sometimes neon lit streets in Asakusa you realize you are officially in Japan. Asakusa was the center of Tokyo a few decades back, now giving way to the more modern and trendy areas like Shinjuku and Shibuya, but still maintaining its traditional and charming character. It hosts a great selection of restaurants and plenty of places to buy souvenirs.

Known as ‘Kitchenware’ street, is full of stores selling traditional Japanese bowls, sake glasses, and chopsticks. It’s also the street that sells fake food displays that restaurants use in their front windows so foreigners who can’t read the menu know what they’re getting into – truly funny gifts. The vendors lining the walkway to Sensoji Temple (while very crowded) have lots of cool stuff to take home. The streets and alleyways in the Asakusa area have shops for almost anything – kimonos, swords, trinkets, clothing, food, electronics…the list goes on. The dollar stores in Japan (hyaku-yen: 100yen) are also clutch sources of cool, cheap, “authentic” gifts. Great for your Uncle Leo who’d never know the difference anyway.

Located right next to the Ueno train station is huge, pretty, and packed with about 300 stalls selling fish, vegetables, bags, shoes, watches, clothes, you name it. Museums, a zoo, street performers, concert hall, merry-go-round, and a baseball diamond where local recreational teams and friends playing for “fun” – the players take it very seriously and the result is hilarious. It’s gorgeous when the cherry blossoms (Sakura) are out – usually the last couple weeks in March. If you shop here, you can also save some money.

Large, serene park and garden – a very Japanese experience. The Shinjuku area is also a very popular place for shopping, bars, restaurants, nightlife.

Stay tuned for next week’s picks for where to shop in Tokyo!