48 Hours in Tokyo

What does our fearless leader do when he’s got 48 hours to kill in the city of Tokyo? Here’s his list of great spots from his whirlwind visit.


A few months ago, I brought the Naturally team to Japan to unearth and document all of their locally grown ingredients for a culinary story that ran in the Fall ’19 issue. After trekking the Japanese countryside, it made no sense to come all this way and not check out Tokyo. So for two full days, I shopped, ate, and unearthed some incredible finds.

1. Stay Here

The Ginza District

Prior to visiting, I asked two friends for some advice on what to see. Vicky Ward, the founder of the Japanese-inspired skin care brand Tatcha, suggested Ginza because it’s a mix of upscale shops, department stores, boutiques, and endless sushi bars. If you can only spend 48 hours in Tokyo, this is the area to explore.

2. Eat Clean

Ain Soph

4-12-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

The jewel-box restaurant is perfect for lunch. It’s totally plant-based, so get the vegan bento box beautifully packed with small bites of everything on the menu. They’re also famous for their soufflé-style pancakes, so order a plate: They taste like featherweight scones with whipped butter berry sauce.

3. Shop (and Snack)

Matsuya Ginza

3 Chome-6-1 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo

Forget what you know about department stores, because this is just one of many that elevates the experience to a whole other level. Arrive at 9:55 a.m., because when the doors open at 10, you’ll be greeted by hundreds of employees simultaneously bowing to welcome the first guests. Head to the food halls for impeccably dressed produce, delicious treats, and pantry staples to stash in your suitcase to carry home. So. Many. Samples.

4. Get Lost

Tsutaya Ginza Book Store

6 Chome−10−1 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo

If any bookstore is Instagram-worthy, it’s this gem. On the top floor of the Ginza 6 shopping complex, this modern marvel sells a wide variety of Japanese books along with magazines, stationery, artwork, and journals. Even if you can’t read Japanese, it’s worth getting lost in the aisles. Pick up a few chic journals and gorgeous lifestyle magazines, and prepare to drool over the beautiful pics. Then work your way down the escalators to max out your cards in the 241 shops-in-a-shop that make up this mega complex.

5. Get Outfitted

Kaneko Optical

6-8-4 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

This optical chain has 36 outposts in Japan, but the Ginza store is a chic black box full of handcrafted eyewear. You won’t find Ray Bans here! The chain specializes in designs that marry classic timelessness with a hyper-modern Japanese edge. Buy frames here and bring ‘em back to the U.S. to be retrofitted with the right lenses.

6. Get Writing


5 Chome-7-4 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo

You can’t leave Tokyo without coming home with rolls of intricately cut washi tape, the beautifully patterned paper tape you can use like regular masking tape at home. Kyukyodo also has charming stationery, frame-worthy postcards, and perhaps the best selection of writing instruments you’ll love using at your desk Stateside.

7. Try a Treatment


5 Chome-8−16, Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo

Fancl is a popular clean beauty skincare brand in Japan. The first and second floors are great places to stock up on product. But try to book a treatment at this flagship location. Called a biometric skin analysis, the complimentary procedure measures your skin’s outer and inner layers, along with a pore analysis. They’ll help you figure out how to improve your skin care regime and warn you of problems lying underneath that you can’t see­—yet.

8. Seek These Out

Antiques and Housewares

Up and down the side streets off the pricey main thoroughfare, you’ll find small antique shops and housewares stores perfect for finding handmade brushes, vintage lacquer bowls, ceramics, and one-of-a-kind home accessories. The prices are fair, and sleuthing through drawers, boxes, and cabinets of treasures can be a lot of fun, too. I scored a small wooden tray that now holds my remote controls at home.