Wander Through Time with Our Half-Day Culture Walks
Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi is in the beating heart of the “World’s Best City,” as voted by Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards for three years running. If you’re in town for a business trip or short visit and still want to get a feel for the city, our Concierge-curated itineraries of half-day Tokyo treats offer a quick dip into the hottest highlights – sure to tempt you back for a deeper dive next time.
First up: Soak up Tokyo’s unique blend of urban style and bygone tradition with our half-day Culture Walks. Three Concierge-designed itineraries offer a peek into three very different sides of the city – ideal for time-pressed travellers.
Immerse yourself in the French-Japanese sophistication of former geisha town, Kagurazaka; the opulent grandeur of Akasaka Palace; or the achingly cool hipster district, Kiyosumi Shirakawa. Keen to see another side of the city? Talk to our team about devising an itinerary to suit your needs.
If lifestyle browsing is your thing, head south-west from the Hotel towards Kagurazaka to be transported to the streets of Paris. Wander cobblestone alleyways to the melodic strains of the accordion and rich aromas of French cuisine, browsing in the many boutique stores. Once a geisha district (hanamachi), the district is today a unique fusion of French influences and Japanese aesthetics. A few geisha houses remain alongside beautiful shrines – such as the iconic 16th century Buddhist temple Bishamonten Zenkokuji, as well as some fabulous homeware shops.
Akomeya’s new flagship store in Kagurazaka’s cool La Kagu warehouse is a vast haven of yumminess, from a mind-boggling selection of grains to the one of the city’s largest selections of seasonings, stocks and paste – plus every piece of Japanese kitchenware you could ever dream of owning. When you’re all shopped out, head to nearby Kinozen for a signature Green Tea Bavaroise (trust us, you won’t regret it!) or enjoy a delicate lace-like French crêpes from Le Bretagne (4-2 Kagurazaka), Japan’s original crêperie.
Seeking a snapshot of traditional culture? Built in 1909 for the Crown Prince (later Emperor Taisho), Akasaka Palace is a neo-Baroque state guesthouse that oozes grandeur, from its fountain-lined drive to its regal white facade. Inside, glittering chandeliers reflect on checkerboard flooring – called ichimatsu motif in Japan – while tall marble columns and heavenly ceiling art frame collections of samurai armour and traditional instruments. You can also wander the gardens for a gorgeous photo-stop on a bridge over a carp-filled pond.
Just three train stops away from the state guesthouse is Shinjuku Gyoen: Tokyo's famous park that’s well worth a visit whatever the season. In springtime, more than 400 cherry trees make it one of the city’s most atmospheric hanami (sakura viewing spots) while Momijiyama (maple mountain) and the Japanese Garden are aflame with hues of red and bronze from mid-November.
The last of our three culture walks takes you into Tokyo’s hipster district, Kiyosumi Shirakawa. This Edo period neighbourhood has reinvented itself as a creative hub of coffee shops, art galleries and pristine gardens. Kiba Park is well worth a visit, where the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo is Japan’s premiere modern art gallery boasting around 5,000 pieces in the permanent collection alone, as well as an Art Library, children’s area, café and restaurant.
Before you head back to the Hotel, take a soul-soothing stop in Kiyosumi Gardens, a haven of black pines, azaleas and seasonal flowers arranged around a turtle- and fish-filled pond. Or step back in time at Fukagawa Edo Museum, with its reproductions of traditional houses, shops and inns before a refreshment stop in one of the area’s trendy coffee shops.
Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi