Elizabeth Rose’s Guide To Having A Very Good Time In Tokyo
From onsens to ramen to Harajuku shopping, we get the skinny on Elizabeth Rose's fave spots in Tokyo.
Elizabeth Rose is a name you probably know by now. The Sydney-born singer-songwriter has been lighting up the stage with her unique blend of slinky electro-pop. Her debut album Intra boasts collaborations with some all-time faves of the Australian music industry including Seekae’s George Nicholas and Remi, who features on her latest hit ‘Playing With Fire’. Elizabeth is about to head out on a huge tour this month in support of the album, touching down in Perth, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Newcastle.
Having recently returned from a whirlwind tour of Tokyo, we asked Elizabeth for some tips on how to have a good time in Japan’s buzzy capital. She kindly shared the below with us.
About three weeks ago I took a trip to Tokyo for the very first time. I’ve always been intrigued by the thought of visiting this mysterious city and it definitely didn’t disappoint. Everything from shopping, street art, culture, spirituality, food, traditions, the funny tiny dogs dressed up in clothes, the (very convenient) convenient stores, the smells, the sounds and the cleanliness – Tokyo is a sensory overload in the best way possible.
The best bit of advice I got before going to Tokyo is to not expect to see and do everything you plan to; it’s pretty much impossible. There are endless rabbit holes both below and above ground but if you miss out, there’s always next time.
Where to shop
The morning I landed, I went shopping in Harajuku and Shibuya only a few hours after touch down – I couldn’t wait! One of my favourite stores was Rag Tag; there are about 15 or so of these stores across Japan and they specialise in recycled high-end fashion, footwear and accessories for both men and women at remarkably cheap prices. I tried on a beautiful corset-like top from Vivienne Westwood’s Red Label collection circa ’98 and it was only 6400¥ (that’s only $85AUD).
I went to the infamous Takeshita Street, right next to Harajuku train station. This street had shop after shop of colourful clothes, shoes, jewellery… everything! Stand out shops near this spot were Pin Nap and also Dog (a phenomenal store that Lady Gaga shops at). Close by there is Laforet Shopping Centre that has over 100 tiny stores across 12 different levels – is was very overwhelming. But inside there was a store by the name of GR8 Tokyo which had all of the top sneaker brands, clothing and accessories. The shop had techno music blaring through the powerful sound system and it was such an incredible shopping experience.
I have to mention one more store that blew my mind in this shopping centre – it was called Mind Your Own Business (a US label). They had hand-crafted streetwear garments that were so colourful and adventurous in design. All in all, if you’re a shopping fanatic like me then really save your pennies.
Where to eat and drink
The best thing about the food in Japan is that it’s impossible to get bad quality food anywhere. Even the convenience stores have fresh sushi stocked everyday, and they’re super cheap too. Back home I’m already a sushi/ramen/udon lover so I was quite comfortable to eat it for every meal while I was there. I ate stingray for the first time and it was surprisingly tasty – it was quite chewy and it resembled the taste of salt and vinegar chips, oddly enough. I also ate “top snail” (Japanese sea snail) for the first time and it was also delicious.
MOS Burgers was a stand out for me as the burgers are famously very healthy, very tasty and very cheap (I did some research and apparently there’s a MOS burger on the Gold Coast, which I will definitely be trying). Another great experience was dining in a maid cafe in Akihabara – the waitresses all dress as cute maids, draw on your food with sauce and put on performances.
The best ramen I had in Tokyo was right underneath my accommodation. Everyday we would come home to the apartment and catch the sweet and salty scent of the pork ramen broth. On my final day I had pork loin ramen with mushrooms and seaweed and it was effortlessly scrumptious.
One more stand out experience I have to mention is the Park Hyatt’s New York Bar, located on the 52nd floor. The movie Lost in Translation was filmed in this hotel and the bar there looks out over all of Tokyo. It’s amazing – you can’t go to Tokyo and not have a cocktail there.
Don’t leave Tokyo without…
A must-do in Tokyo is doing a day trip to Hakone by train, followed by a ferry trip on Lake Ashi. This allows you to view Mt Fuji from one of the best vantage points in the city.
I bathed in an onsen (a natural hot spring) in Hakone too and I’m so glad I didn’t give in to my insecurities of bathing naked with other ladies because it was one of the most relaxing and freeing experiences I have had thus far in my life.
Three things to know before visiting Tokyo
Taxis: the door closes automatically so when you hop out, so don’t bother shutting it.
The language: not a lot of people speak fluent English in Tokyo, especially if you venture out to the smaller towns, so be sure to have a phrase book handy.
Train stations: each train station has a jingle composed specifically for that stop and this plays when the train arrives. So cool!
A photo posted by Elizabeth Rose (@elizabethrosey) on
After leaving this crazy wonderful place, I definitely felt a strong shift in my perception on everyday life. I am deeply inspired by their way of living – to live boldly, with humbleness, more colour and more compassion. I will be back in Tokyo later this year and I’m already planning where I’ll explore next.
Elizabeth Rose kicks off her mammoth Aussie tour this week in support of her debut album Intra. For tour dates, tickets and more info head here.