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Favorite Tokyo Experiences Shared by Travel Instagrammers

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Favorite Tokyo Experiences Shared by Travel Instagrammers
Tokyo is the kind of many-layered city where there’s always something to discover and each traveler’s experience can be truly unique. To that point, we asked some of our favorite Instagrammers to reflect on past trips to Tokyo and share a photo of moment that resonated with them. Their fascinating submissions range from futuristic architecture to serene centuries’ old temples and from street food to cat cafés. If you’re inspired to get to know Tokyo yourself, consider joining AFAR Experiences Tokyo, November 10-13, 2017. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for new and existing World of Hyatt members to immerse themselves in the destination through access to notable locals and remarkable places.
By World of Hyatt, Partner
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    Shibuya Crossing
    I vividly remember having that "Lost in Translation" moment at the famous crossing in Shibuya. Even though I felt like I had already seen it before, there's nothing like being at that intersection and experiencing the traffic light change from red to green as a sea of people pour into the street. The amazing part is how calm and orderly the whole thing is. No one is pushing or shoving, everyone crosses when the light is green and stops when it's red. Tip: One of the best views of the crossing is from the multistoried Starbucks on one corner, where I took this shot. –@tanveerbadal
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    Street Food Stall
    Tako-yaki or “fried octopus” is one of my favorite indulgences whenever I return to Tokyo, where I once lived. It’s argued that Tokyo’s culinary culture was heavily founded on street food dining. I’ve certainly enjoyed casual meals as much as dining at the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants—and sometimes more. Case in point: These octopus fritters coupled with a cold drink just can’t be beat. –@ryannealcordwell
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    Koishikawa Kōrakuen
    Tokyo has several noteworthy gardens worth a visit, including the well-preserved Koishikawa Kōrakuen, adjacent to the Tokyo Dome stadium. Dating from 1629, it’s one of two surviving Edo-era gardens in the capital. While cherry blossoms may be the country’s most famous flowers, each season has its highlight. When I visited at the end of May, irises were taking their turn. If you think only of bustle and bright lights when you imagine Tokyo, its gardens offer a quiet escape and a different perspective on the metropolis. –@johninbrooklyn
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    The National Art Center
    It was by fate that my recent Tokyo visit was timed with an exhibition of my favorite Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama. I love her work for its crazy colors, iconic dots, and giant pumpkins. The National Art Center in Roppongi, where her work was featured, is eye-catching itself, with an impressive undulating glass curtain wall designed by Kisho Kurokawa. –@_itsbeautifulhere
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    Mocha Café
    I’ve been to Tokyo twice and have stopped by cat cafes each time (they don’t call me a crazy cat lady for nothing). They make me inexplicably happy and witnessing the most organized feeding time I have ever seen was a complete highlight! This particular shot was taken at Mocha Café in Harajuku. –@alice_gao
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    Tsukiji Market
    My favorite memory of Tokyo was arriving at my tour of Tsukiji Market at 3:30am. I'm not a morning person, but you need a really early start if you really want to experience the inner workings of one of the largest fish markets and auctions in the world. Observe the auctions, talk to vendors, and make sure you stop for a sushi breakfast at the market restaurants; it'll be the freshest sushi you've ever had. –@ottsworld
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    Tokyo Tower
    Tokyo Tower is as much an icon as the Golden Gate is to San Francisco or the saguaro is to the Sonoran. It may not seem particularly towering, but in fact it stands taller than the Eiffel Tower—so that red coat of paint will continue to catch your gaze as you explore the city. The tower, built for communication purposes, seems to say something to the effect of “welcome home.” –@ryannealcordwell
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    Café Kitsuné
    Tea may come to mind first, but there’s an increasingly serious coffee culture in Tokyo too. The back streets of Aoyama are littered with corner coffee shops like Café Kitsuné (of the French label, Kitsuné). The coffee here is strong and flavorful, prepared by baristas in matching outfits, and there’s an inviting bamboo courtyard. I stopped by in February 2017 shortly before a renovation—they’ve since installed a large bronze coffee counter and a shiny new Bosco espresso machine from Naples, Italy. –@_itsbeautifulhere
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    Maiko Studio
    Many studios in Tokyo offer a three-hour experience that gives insight into the painstaking art and dedication required to become a maiko (a young geisha apprentice). My transformation started with an application of thick clay-based paste to my face and neck, followed by heavy makeup, a black wig with elaborate hair pieces, and key layers of maiko clothing: a kimono with floor-length sleeves to make movements slow and intentional; a tight obi (sash) to straighten posture; an embroidered collar to weigh down shoulders and elongate the neck; and high wooden geta (shoes) to create the illusion of floating while walking. –@insearchofperfect
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    Even though I wasn’t interested in shopping the glitzy boutiques of Ginza, a self-guided architecture tour of the neighborhood was one of the highlights of my last visit to Tokyo. Many of Japan’s acclaimed architects are represented in the neighborhood. Toyo Ito’s Mikimoto building, seen here, has a pale sheen like that of the pearls sold inside. Other Japanese architects who have designed buildings in the neighborhood include Jun Aoki (Louis Vuitton), Kumiko Inui (Dior and Tasaki), and Jun Mitsui (De Beers). International architects have contributed as well: Renzo Piano (Hermès), James Carpenter (Gucci), and Rafael Viñoly (Tokyo International Forum). –@johninbrooklyn
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    Robot Restaurant
    In 2014, I traveled the entire year with my wife. Our first stop? Tokyo! The only thing we knew is that we had to go to this infamous Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku (after seeing it in an Anthony Bourdain episode). We were not disappointed. Japan is a country of incredible extremes. One moment you're enjoying a meditative stroll through a garden in a Buddhist monastery, and the next moment you're bouncing off the walls at something like the Robot Restaurant. It's one of my favorite places in the world. –@tanveerbadal
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    Dining at Tsukiji Market
    This glorious chirashi bowl was packed to the brim with sweet, delicate Hokkaido uni, scallops, shrimp, hamachi, and the fluffiest tomago yaki I've had. And it was so affordable—two of us ate for $30. I was concerned that Japan would break my bank, but there is a ton of wonderful food to be had without a hefty price tag. The only real financial issue is that now all I want to do is buy a plane ticket back! –@kristasimmons
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    Sensō-ji Temple
    When the past meets the present: This bustling Buddhist temple in Tokyo’s Asakusa district is the oldest and largest in the Japanese capital. Pay your respects—and receive your omikuji (fortune)—then wander the surrounding streets, with their mix of food stalls and souvenir shops. –@applespoon