48-Hour City Hopping with BEAMS' Yuichiro Ito
How would a Tokyoite describe Tokyo?
Getting off the usual tourist trail, it’s hard to explore Tokyo like a local. Often times, it’s through hidden gems tucked away in small alleys that you can truly learn about a city, and those unexpected surprises are the same reason why people can’t get enough of Tokyo! Presenting our newest series — “48-Hour City Hopping”, a guide to experience cities around the world like a true local in 48 hours. For our first installment, we have invited Tokyo native, Japanese fashion brand BEAMS’ Taiwan Director Yuichiro Ito to share his very own recommendations to enjoy one of the world’s most beloved cities.
“If you only had 48 hours in Tokyo, where would you go?” we asked Ito San. With his unique insight and passion with fashion and lifestyle, he has recommended 10 tasteful spots, from coffee shops, izakayas to select shops for your next Tokyo adventure!
As a Taiwanese, breakfast is a very Rock n Roll thing said singer Crowd Lu. A bowl of hot soba noodle at ‘Kameiya かめや’ is the perfect way to start a busy morning. Ito San’s morning soba choice is a standing style soba shop located at Shinjuku Station. With chefs skillfully making Kameiya’s signature soba noodles right behind the bar, bathing the soba noodles into hot broth, and topping the dish with freshly fried tempura, soft-boiled egg and green onion, that is a perfect 430 yen bowl of warmth to brighten your morning.
Tsukiji is also one of the must-visit area in Tokyo. Stoppig by ‘Jige Tsukiji’ is the perfect izakaya spot after a morning of strolling around the city. The restaurant is famous for their grilled seafood, especially their freshly grilled tuna. Little tip, Jige Tsukiji is also a great spot away from the crowd for a little rest.
“I LOVE desserts!” said Ito San. If you are a Japanese sweets lover, you must not miss ‘Chirimulo’ in Daikanyama. Famous for their variety of dreamy pound cakes — caramel chocolate, apple cinnamon earl grey and the newly launched caramel cheesecake, perfect to have with a cup of coffee or be enjoyed at home with a glass of wine or whiskey. Pairing the cakes with sake might also create some unexpected flavors!
Run by former BEAMS employees, ‘FUNagain’ sells unique selection of products and antiques from all over the world, such as designer furniture, retro lamps, and all kinds of eccentric home accessories. Do you want to be different and quirky? Ito San’s sweet reminder to you, prepare yourself for all the FUNthings that await!
Izakaya restaurants are everywhere in Tokyo, but ‘Satsuma Otechikiya’ in Aoyama has Ito San’s favorite Maewari. Maewari is a type of alcoholic drink that blends imo shochu and water overnight and is consumed warm. “They also have many unmissable dishes — Yamaimo Pancake, green scallion miso salad, dried bonito flakes, grilled fish, clove fish, boiled peanuts, way too many to mention!” If this isn’t true love for food, we don’t know what is.
Located at Shinjuku Station’s West entrance, on the 1st floor of The Knot Hotel is ‘MORETHAN BAKERY’ — a bakery serving a variety of breads and sandwiches that are suitable for vegans. Besides foreign tourists, many local families and couples often order sandwiches to picnic at the ‘Shinjuku Central Park’ right across from the bakery. If you want to experience Tokyo’s hippest brunch, MORETHAN BAKERY must be included in your itinerary.
When it comes to soba noodles in Tokyo, ‘Kanda Yabu’ and ‘Kanda Matsuya’ are people’s go-to’s, but Ito San’s favorite is ‘Okinaan’, which has been in the Ueno area for about 120 years. Broth is ‘Okinaan’s’ specialty, the unique touch of roasted green adds depth and extra flavors to the soup. Also, definitely don’t forget to try Kanzake (warm sake), the best way to enjoy it would be “a sip of sake with a slurp of soba, you will definitely be fascinated” said Ito San.
Feeling like having yakiniku in Tokyo? Then you have to go to locals’ favorite ‘Mantaro’, where people enjoy yakiniku with beers after a long day at the office. Ito San’s recommendations: chicken skewers, offal stew, miso cabbage, plum pickled tomatoes, and macaroni salad.
Already booked your flight ticket to Tokyo? Music is also an essential part of traveling. Ito San also shares a playlist “Asian City Music Disc Guide” for you to enjoy with his recommendations. Besides Tokyo, we are about to embark on more trip with friends from all over the world! Get ready for more “48-Hour City Hooping” guides!