My Secret Address Book
EAT, DRINK & SHOP your way deep into
the heart and soul of Japan’s capital with
Girl Gone International and photographer,
If vintage is your thing or
you’d just like to see where
Ralph Lauren get its inspiration for visual merchandising
then J’Antiques is the place
to visit. Opened by famed
collector Hitoshi Uchida,
the store stocks everything
from paper goods, buttons
and vintage designer shoes
(multicoloured 90s Jimmy
Choos anyone??) to furniture and homeware. It’s basically what my idea of heaven
would be like. They have a
huge following in fashion and
design circles and are constantly ripped off so there’s a
strict ‘no photography’ policy
Ok, so Loft is like Tokyo Hands in
that they are both ‘lifestyle’
department stores. Both are great,
but for me, Loft has the edge.
You can find Loft concessions and
stores all over Tokyo and they are
experts in stationary, health and
beauty products, homeware and
everything functional, modern
and cool in between.
Parco is a fashion-focused shopping complex in the heart of busy Shibuya. It offers a lively mix
of Japanese designers as well as international brands and is a one-stop-shop for any fashionista
worth their salt. Be sure to pop by the Issey Miyake Bao Bao concession for serious drool-worthy
bags. There’s also a bookshop in the basement with an inspiring selection of international and
Japanese design, fashion, art books and magazines.
Attention carnivores!! If you like slices of marbled beef that melts in your mouth and silky noodles
dipped in its juices then this is your kind of place. This traditional meat joint serves tasty sukiyaki
(thin slices of grilled beef eaten with a hot pot of soup and veggies with a variety of dipping
sauces) and shabu-shabu (similar to sukiyaki but less sweet) at a reasonable price.
It’s a bit hard to find, but it’s worth it when you do!
1-9-8 Shinkawa, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Bassanova has reached almost
cult noodle status internationally.. ‘Basa’ as it’s affectionately called, is the perfect example of how the Japanese can
take inspiration from foreign
influences and come up with
something unique and
wonderful but still very much
Japanese. Their green curry
ramen is a prime example
of this. Even though it oozes
creamy Thai flavours and spices, the base of the broth retains a strong tonkotsu
essence that is the base of all
ramen. The guys in the open
kitchen are also super friendly.
Give it a go!
Technically a cafe, I am a fan
not of the slightly bland food
but of their cakes and cocktails! Oh and the decor, which
is every bit as magical as their
10-2 Shin Tokyo Building
SHIBUYA’S NOMBEI YOKOCHO (Drunkard’s Alley)
Nonbei Yokocho is a district of tiny bars and restaurants next to the train tracks near hachiko.
The alleys look like Tokyo before WWII with tiny buildings packed together side-by-side.
Restaurants and bars here may only have three or four seats but people move around, spill
onto the pavement and make it work!
There’s definitely a unique charm to this place. It’s actually where I’ve met some of my best friends
in Tokyo over the years. There’s a tiny curry house in one of the dens – you’ll know it
by the heavenly smell wafting down the alley!
1-25-10 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
808 is a teeny tiki Hawaiian bar in the ‘cool’
area of Shimo-kitazawa. The owner is called
Uno-san. He has two passions – booze and
ramen and often gets me hammered on the
60% proof homebrew he knocked up
This drink will put hairs on your chest so
approach with caution ladies!
2-23-6 Kitazawa, Setagaya-Ku
This place is all fun – gigs
happen here, DJs playing 60s
Japanese pop happens and
there is a constant stream of
interesting people coming and
going to a pulsating rhythm.
The crowd is a mix of young
things, older eccentrics, gajins
(foreigners) and cool Japanese
music types – which make sense
as it’s run by Unity Records.
Ryuko Bldg Bekkan 1F,
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan