*THINGS TO DO: You will never experience a fraction of what Tokyo offers during one visit. Advice: Choose specific sights, areas, and interests and focus on them. Here are a few suggestions.
Tsukiji Fish Market
As the largest wholesale fish market in the world, this is a definite must-see. Handling over 2,000 tons of marine products a day, Tsukiji is a bustling city of its own. Workers in tailor-like fit cargo pants and vests complete with Marc Jacobs–esque black rubber boots frantically scurry about on scooters, trucks, and carts. There’s a seeming absence of method to the madness; but with closer inspection, the reason why most of the world looks to this aquatic bazaar for tuna is evident. The tuna auction is ultra-popular, and visitors are limited to 120 a day (you must apply at the Osakana Fukyu Center beginning at 5 a.m.). Be sure to partake in a sushi breakfast at one of the surrounding eateries—it certainly beats the Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity at the local IHOP. tsukiji-market.or.jp
Tokyo consists of several districts, each the gatekeeper of particular interests. Harajuku is the area surrounding Harajuku Station, which lies between the streets of Shinjuku and Shibuya. The city’s world-renowned teenage street culture and fashion reigns supreme (Gwen Stefani’s hit “Harajuku Girls” and Nicki Minaj’s fleet of fans, Harajuku Barbz, originated from these young people and their extreme style). Take a stroll down Takeshita Dori, the thin street robust with boutiques, shops, and fast food joints. Hang a right, and head to Shibuya for Don Quijote (“Donki”)—a festive Japanese discount store featuring everything from clothes to tech items. It’s a rite of passage. donki.com
In stark contrast, Omotesando is the Champs-Elysées of Tokyo. For those with a haute addiction, this tree-lined luxury retail area is for you. The five floors of Louis Vuitton’s Omotesando location, once the brand’s largest store in the world, mimic a stack of LV trunks. Omotesando Hills is a six-story shopping complex that was once the Dojunkai Aoyama Apartments. In its new incarnation, Dolce & Gabbana, Yves Saint Laurent, and Jimmy Choo are the residents. For another dose of runway-ready fun, head over to Ginza, the city’s most famous area for luxury shopping. Lanvin, Prada, Hermès, and basically every other label is in Ginza. Dior’s Ginza store sports a façade of white and gray artistically placed abstract lines.
Above: Tsukiji Fish Market is the largest wholesale fish market in the world covering 57 acres with 1500 stalls. Left: Stylish girls roaming around the Harajuku Station district.