13 Feb Tokyo City Guide
As some of you may have seen, I am away in Spain for a month attending culinary school and therefore I am really excited and pumped to encourage Corporate Flight Attendants to submit their own Flightess content on here in my absence from the friendly skies.
Now it gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Holly. She’s absolutely incredible at what she does. She has panache, experience, and the cutest personality AND!!!! She has graciously created a Tokyo guide for the Flightess Community.
This is truly a goldmine of information. Tokyo can be hard to navigate due to not many locals speaking English and they obviously don’t use the same phonetic alphabet either. But here comes your know-it-all guide in a pretty package that Miss Holly wrapped just for you!
Tsukiji Outer Market
You can’t visit Tokyo without stopping at Tsukiji. The market is located near the Tsukijishijō Station on the Toei Ōedo Line and Tsukiji Station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line. The main fish market and the live tuna auctions recently moved in early 2019 to Toyosu but the outer market still remains at the original location.
You can find all sorts of great stuff here from Japanese cooking tools, groceries, seafood, wholesalers and my favorite Sugimoto Cooking Knives. This area also has a heavy concentration of sushi restaurants, Tsukiji Sushisay, being my personal favorite. It’s best to have some cash on hand here as every vendor doesn’t accept credit cards. You can also stop into the Lawson on the corner, a local convenience store, and grab the egg salad sandwich that Anthony Bourdain went nuts for.
See their website here!
Like most everything in Japan, they have perfected their fruit offerings and take it very seriously. Sembikiya is the creme de la creme. They are most known for the Muskmelon, which can run a whopping $200USD minimum, and is sold year round. They are picked at the perfect moment and have dates for exactly when they are to be consumed. The Muskmelon is so precisely cultivated to ensure the richest possible flavor and perfect ripeness.
The Queen Strawberry is another popular item but is seasonal. The white ones are sweeter and grown with such care they are sure to knock the socks off of any client! Be warned this store is very expensive, but totally worth it! If you have budget constraints, they also offer small desserts featuring the freshly cut fruit. There are multiple locations but I prefer Nihombashi as it is next to the Mitsukoshi and is easily accessible.
No time to shop, no worries: You can have your concierge call and have it delivered to your hotel or go through your handler. I have done this several times without issue. However, I still highly recommend visiting the main store if possible. They have the fruit displayed like precious rare jewels at a museum, that’s how special it is!
Mitsukoshi- Nihombashi Main Store
Venture down to the basement of this high end department store and you will find a food mecca akin to Harrods in London. You can find literally EVERYTHING here. Fresh produce, Sake, Wine, Whiskey, Dumplings, Grade A5 Wagyu, Tempura, Cheese, Charcuterie, Chocolates etc. As you weave your way through this Food paradise you can stop and sample pretty much everything. You can also purchase complete Ramen and Soba kits, they are amazing. This is the perfect one stop shop for all your catering needs and every stall takes a credit card for easy transactions.
Tip: There is a great sushi restaurant, Kuhashi, hidden in the back corner among all the kiosks if you want to stop and have an amazing lunch while shopping. Yukari Sakamoto introduced me to this place while taking a private food tour a few years back, she is amazing and you can find the link to her book, “Food Sake Tokyo” here!
There is no shortage of high end French patisseries in Tokyo like Pierre Herme, Laduree, Joel Robuchon to name a few. However if you want to bring back some traditional treats look no further than Taiyaki, Tokyo Banana and Wagashi.
Taiyaki is a famous Japanese fish shaped pancake filled with delicious red beans. I like Naniwaya Sohenten, it is considered the original store and you can call ahead and order to avoid the long lines.
Naniwaya Sohenten 1-8-14 Azabujudan, Minato, Tokyo (4 minute walk from Azabu-juban Station)
Tokyo Banana is a pretty famous item with several stores located all over Tokyo. People go crazy over them! They make all sorts of fun decorations and flavors.
Wagashi are small treats, think “Petit four” that traditionally are served with Green Tea. I like the offerings at Tokyo Mise, located in the basement at upscale Nihonbashi. They make the cute designs right behind the counter here which make this location a fun visit.
Coredo Muromachi 3, 1-5-5 Muromachi, Nihonbashi, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo is a massive city with lots to explore. I always carry a business card with the Hotel I’m staying at. Having this “golden ticket” alleviates so much hassle when traveling with taxi drivers and shipping or delivering back to the hotel. I hope these few recommendations start you off on the right foot! Enjoy and happy travels!
- Holly Schroeder