A garden designed and built after the 1923 earthquake. Five minutes walk from Oedo line station Kiyosumi-Shirakawa exit A3. The garden dates back to 1721 but was rebuilt by the founder of Mitsubishi. It is beautiful. Wherever you look you see something beautiful. It's the epitome of garden design where the path leads you to gorgeous vistas. Take your camera or painting equipment and visit at different times of day to enjoy the different light. The pond contains tame carp, terrapins and ducks who expect to be fed. It's an oasis of calm in a busy city. 150 Yen for adults, children free.
3-3-9 Kiyosumi, Koto, Tokyo, Japan
+81 3 3641 5892
Google map: bit.ly/WhOUHD
Walk straight past the shrine and the revisionist war museum next door, and head for the transportingly beautiful garden at the back. Staring down at the rocks and the koi you can forget you were ever in a city.
3-1-1 Kudankita, Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo-To, 102-0073
Google map: tinyurl.com/3abxuft
The real star of the beautiful Lost In Translation, this towering masterpiece is the best way of retreating after a bewildering working day in Tokyo. The New York Bar on the top floor is super-hip and the swimming pool/spa, on the 53rd floor, is breathtaking. If you don’t have the cash – or the expense budget – a normal room is certainly good enough, but if you do book a Park Suite (with its separate bedroom) or, best of all, its signature Diplomatic Suite: with its own library, dining room and grand piano, it is a spectacular way to wind down and wow your clients.
The only problem with the Park Hyatt is its location – Shinjuku is good for business irrefutably (it’s the Financial District) but it’s also fairly dull.
The Japanese love their open spa/baths. There are many around Tokyo and all over Japan in fact. You can pop in for just an hour, get clean, relax, and get a massage if you wish. Perfect before a long flight. If you have a bit longer, why not take a train to Nikko, about two hours away, where you can relax in the Japanese alps!
Upon arrival in Tokyo Narita International airport (or just before you leave!), don't just rush headlong into the city... If you have come long-haul and are tired, there's nothing better than to get your head down at one of the airport hotels for a few hours, and then use Narita as a gentle introduction to Japan/Tokyo. It is a nice small town, which is very walkable, and has many little gems including a temple, local restaurants, shops and backstreet pubs. Prices for food, hotels et al will be much cheaper that Tokyo city, and it allows you to acclimatise in a much less hectic/congested atmosphere. I have always found it a perfect way to take a breather before business in Japan and/or exploring the country on vacation.
There is a very nice 'onsen' in Narita town, excellent if you have a layover or if you have extra time after you've landed and before a business meeting. Nothing better than an invigorating shower followed by a relaxing hot soak after a long plane ride. The standard, traditional bath (all I've used) is only $10 or so, though they also have full spa services. Like most onsen, they also have a cafe serving food.
It's in Narita but perhaps getting a cab from Narita station would be easiest. It's not the gaudy 'water park' near the station; Yamata no Yu is further away - print off the map from their website and hand it to the driver.
The traditional Japanese onsen is a bathing experience in the geothermic pools of mineral-rich natural waters of the earth. For the less discerning, or those too busy to make the journey to a reputable onsen, the sento - or "public bath" - is the best alternative. As you might imagine, Tokyo possesses the best such indoor facility in the guise of the Finlando sauna in Kabuki-Cho.
Although sentos do not feature the ambience of a truly picturesque outdoor onsen, they make up for it in a perspiration-inducing array of hot pools, cold plunges, saunas, massage rooms and the counter-intuitive pleasures of underwater electrocution. When you're done, shave and preen yourself with complimentary toiletries, collapse in a massage chair, and order a bottle of Ebisu beer before you pass out. Incidentally, staying all night is allowed, what better reason to miss your last train out of Shinjuku...
Open 24 hours. In the Humax Pavilion 1 basement, underneath the Liquid Room in Kabuki-cho, 5 mins' walk from Shinjuku Station (03-3209-9196)
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