If you are finding the crowds starting to get to you, here are four of our favorite escapes in Tokyo.
There’s usually space to breath in Tokyo’s many galleries. Those who like their art with a side of architecture will no doubt be impressed by The National Art Center, Tokyo. This oversized modern structure hosts exhibitions from local and international artists and designers.
If you’re planning your trip to Tokyo in 2016 be sure to look out for the Renoir and Issey Miyake exhibitions – both guaranteed to be unmissable. Located in Roppongi, it’s only a five minute walk from Roppongi Station or go via Nogizaka Station which has an exit that directly connects to the gallery.
Unwind in a head spa
Japanese head spas, salons devoted to head and hair massage, are a very common type of beauty treatment in Tokyo and provide a luxurious refreshment for exhausted travelers. Both men and women are welcome, and one can expect a quick initial consultation upon arrival, including a scan of your scalp using a small pen-like camera, followed by an assessment of your hair and skin. From here you simply take your pick from a ‘menu’ of massage and deep cleansing hair treatments, settle back in your recliner chair and prepare to immerse yourself in total relaxation.
…the perfect relaxation pit-stop for overwhelmed shoppers
Machu Picchu, a head spa in Harajuku, is the perfect relaxation pit-stop for overwhelmed shoppers. Specialising in Reiki, a traditional Japanese form of energy healing, staff will work with customers on their specific treatment goals, such as hair growth, softening and conditioning of the scalp, recovery from eye strain, and even positive thinking and help with sleep. With session times ranging from just 30 minutes all the way up to the heavenly 150 minute massage, even the busiest Tokyo explorer can squeeze a little indulgence.
Wander through Todoroki Valley
When the pace of the urban landscape starts to wear you down, the best remedy is to catch your breath amongst some nature. While Tokyo boasts many beautiful manicured Japanese gardens, Todoroki Valley provides slightly more untamed wilderness. Situated close to central Tokyo, less than a ten-minute walk from Todoroki Station on the Oimachi Line, the stunning rambling beauty makes the park a destination in itself.
Wander along the water and keep an eye out for a variety of native birds that inhabit the area. If you have a little spare energy, it’s definitely worth using it to climb the large set of stairs along the pathway to admire the serene Todoroki Fudo Temple. Blissful!
Sip on freshly brewed Japanese matcha
Japanese tea shops are an essential destination for sightseers. Often located in charming old, edo-style houses, the tranquility of these spaces is an experience that is supremely unique to Japan and is an easy way to absorb the beauty of the culture.
The usual offerings at a Japanese tea shop are Japanese matcha (a thick, frothy green tea), and traditional Japanese sweets (wagashi), which are an accompaniment to the bitterness of the tea.
Kosoan in South-West Tokyo is conveniently located just a five minute walk from Jiyugaoka Station. This tranquil space features an exquisite Japanese garden surrounding the house, which provides a handsome view for visitors looking for an escape.
If you’re curious to venture beyond the ordinary tea brews, try the “Matcha zenzai”, a piping hot bowl of matcha tea complete with rice dumplings and red bean paste.
If you’re still mastering Japanese, the menu at Kosoan is easy to decipher, with English translations and accompanying photos of the tea sets.
NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR