I do like visiting Japan and over the years I’ve been known to pass on a list of must-do and must-not-do tips to various of my friends.
Well, there have been several, how do I say, ‘new developments’ on Teh Internets that renders many of my tips irrelevant. So rather than bore you with my tips, here’s what I now recommend to those about to head to Tokyo, perhaps for the first time.
A long time ago when nerds thought that WAP was cool (yes, they really did), there was this great website called Superfuture which managed to contain the very best subcultural shopping guides to Tokyo. Superfuture never went away, it just got bigger and better and expanded to many other world cities.
And just recently they releases – finally – a Superfuture Tokyo iPhone app.
Yes, it costs more than most iPhone apps do – but, seriously, just get it. It will save you printing out their PDFs like I have done on every trip. With it you will find most of the craziest, hippest, and often most spartan shopping experiences in Tokyo – the concept shops for micro-brands that aren’t big enough to even register on hipster radars beyond a 1km radius of their ‘concept store’.
K has been hunting for interesting Tokyo stuff too and came across two other nice resources recently too.
The first is Claska’s Tokyo by Tokyo assembled by the Claska Hotel. Grab it in Australia from Upon A Fold. What is nice about Tokyo by Tokyo is that it is basically a series of recommendations by locals from the cool to the very uncool and organised by theme. I’m looking forward to checking out Emiko Oki’s ‘Three most splendidly lavish toilets in Tokyo’ on my next trip . . .
Basically the Hello Sandwich guide is what you’d get from a personalised blogger tour of Tokyo. There’s some pretty standard recommendations but where it shines is when it covers the suburbs and areas you might not consider off the JR Yamanote line.