Of Tokyo’s key business districts, 400-year-old Nihonbashi, home to Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo, is the only one that retains a sense of old-world charm. Known as the “Centre of Japan” since the Edo era, Nihonbashi has long been the point of origin for all roads in the country; even today it is ideally located, making it convenient to travel anywhere from our hotel. Nihonbashi offers a wealth of opportunities to enjoy Japanese culture, from its centuries-old shops stocked with traditional gifts to some of Tokyo's most celebrated Japanese restaurants. Our concierge team will be delighted to introduce you to our neighbourhood's countless charms.
Shopping is elevated to near spiritual heights in Tokyo, a modern-day temple to consumerism. First, pop into Mitsukoshi (www.mitsukoshi.co.jp), one of the city’s oldest department stores, conveniently located on the doorstep of Mandarin Oriental,Tokyo. Next stop, Omotesando: wander along the wide leafy boulevard, past the big fashion stores, before exploring the minimalist Omotesando Hills shopping centre (www.omotesandohills.com). A short stroll away, in Aoyama, there’s Issey Miyake’s new 132.5 boutique, as well as Yohji Yamamoto and the Comme des Garçons flagship store. For an edgier retail fix, wander the lanes of Daikanyama, which are peppered with independent shops such as indigo-dying specialist Okura (www.hrm.co.jp/okura) and music store Bonjour Records (www.bonjour.jp).
Swap neon lights for a taste of old Tokyo in Asakusa, the historic former pleasure district of the capital. Unmissable among the winding back lanes, food stalls and old-fashioned kimono stores is the red, tiered Senso-ji, the oldest temple in the city. Just follow the walkway of stalls selling traditional sweets and souvenirs. Perfect for jet-lagged insomniacs is a sunrise pilgrimage to the city’s famous fish market, Tsukiji. Explore the colourful variety of unidentifiable maritime creatures on display, before tucking into the world’s freshest sushi breakfast at one of the small restaurants on the market’s fringes. For a taste of Tokyo’s subculture, head to Harajuku. Wander past rainbow-bright tribes of crazily dressed young Tokyoites, and make a beeline for the elegant wooden gates at the entrance to Meiji Jingu, a serene Shinto shrine at the end of a path that cuts through a forest.