V VOYAGE: TOKYO
Follow in the footsteps of Tokyophile, Alice Longyu Gao, with her guide of Tokyo’s top spots.
Tokyo has proven a very popular travel destination as of late. Why it took up until 2019 for it to appear on everyone’s radar is a mystery, but let’s not waste any more time. Here to provide the antithesis of your stereotypical Tokyo travel guide is artist and performer Alice Longyu Gao, whose creativity finds a home within the streets of the effervescent city.
The Hotel: Moxy Tokyo Kinshincho
Kinshincho is an unlikely neighborhood for tourists. More like Greenpoint or Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn, Kinshincho provides an authentic perspective to Tokyo, one that could potentially inspire you to envision a new life in Japan. Dreamy, right? MOXY Tokyo Kinshincho is Marriott International’s tasteful destination, conveniently located outside the Kinshincho train station where all of the district’s attractions lie. MOXY Tokyo Kinshincho is a 3-minutes walk to: fish and sushi stands, Japanese fashion shopping centers, and a street that is host to a number of local restaurants. Once night falls, the hotel is also in close proximity to a street full of Japanese-style clubs, but if you’re looking to stay in then the MOXY holds regular music nights, dance parties and tea ceremonies. These events feature some of Japan’s best artists at no cost. Apart from being in the thick of an authentic Tokyo lifestyle, the hotel is also one station away from the National Sumo Stadium, a short ride from Disney Tokyo and a direct bus to Haneda and Narita airports.
The Shop: FALINE Tokyo
The best part about FALINE Tokyo might be its charismatic owner, Baby Mary, otherwise known as the godmother of Harajuku. Baby Mary welcomes visitors immediately with a glass of champagne and her fairy tea set-up. With mermaid locks, Barbie pink blush and an English accent, the friendly shop owner will chat you up endlessly, recounting how she got about to creating her own wonderland of clothes. Hiding in the chaotic Takeshita-dori, you don’t want to miss this pink nylon gem.
The Glam: SHIMA Harajuku Leap
Compared to the Japanese standard of a strict and functional dress code, youths in Harajuku are carefree and impressively expressive. The legendary hair and style salon SHIMA Harajuku Leap is responsible for making trends as a Tokyo authority on “what’s cool.” Any Harajuku hippy you come across on Instagram likely gets their hair done here. Further, the salon director, Yamauchi, boasts a long list of celebrity clients from Los Angeles, so you can trust that your mane is in good hands.
The Clubs: ATOM TOKYO and Jumanji 33
ATOM Tokyo is a six-floor mega club with different music genres on each level. Tiny tequilla shots (compared to NYC standard) will keep you going utnil 5 a.m. dancing to mixes by the best of Japan’s DJs. Jumanji 33, on the other hand, is more alternative and indie. Their wacky interior design, cool lighting effects and music taste guarantees a good time. Promise.
To warm you up, below is Alice Longyu Gao’s curation of top JPOP music.