Either Shibuya or Shinjuku is everyone's first thought of Tokyo, in the same manner Times Square is the first for New York. It's as busy, as loud, and as stimulating. Yes, there's the Shibuya Crossing. But what else? 

1. Fu-unji: Do noodles the way Japanese do. Rich broth, and oodles of noodles. Halfway through and I couldn't even finish my ramen. But I knew I was lucky I found a seat because once I stepped outside, the line crossed the other side of the street. Word goes around that it's the best stop for tsukemen and ramen. Get the omori size, I double dare you.

2. Breizh Cafe: I found my favorite French creperie in Takashimaya. I've been dreaming about the Valhrona crepe ever since I had it in Paris last July. Thank God my cravings were satisfied. 

3. Shinjuku Goyen National Garden: I didn't know it was possible to fall in love with an autumnal garden. The Japanese garden was perfectly manicured; the French one was filled with flowers. If there's one garden you have to go to in Tokyo, it's this one. 

4. Shibuya Center Gai: I knew I was in the center of Tokyo when I found myself surrounded by all the lights, sounds, and Halloween costumes. It was overwhelming. It was quintessential Tokyo. Document the moment, and tickle the teenager in you, by going into a purikura

5. Sushi Zanmai: The most popular sushi chain in the land. Get the otoro platter and the eel. Be ready to order that again and again. 

6. Franc Franc: Get lost in 3 floors of home decor goodness. (And then you can leave your husband in the pub across). 

7. BAKE: Line up for 20 minutes (or more) for the famous Hokkaido cheese tart. You'll realizeIt's worth the wait once you bite into it. Probably even better than Pablo's. 

8. Daikanyama: Further down south is this leafy neighborhood that reminds you a bit of Omotesando with the cosy, charming side streets and small shops. My favorite part was the impressively designed Tatsuya Bookstore. Even the Starbucks was designed for book readers. It was unadulterated bliss. 

Deanne BanaresComment