Only in Tokyo

Travel + Leisure, the smart traveler’s magazine choice explores traditional Japanese crafts, and four master craftsmen who execute their art with a modern twist. From sword making to sake breweries and traditional confectioneries, learn all about the traditional experiences available only in Tokyo and the craftsmen behind those experiences.

Images by Only in Tokyo ”TRAVEL+LEISURE

TOKYO SKY

In Tokyo, old and new live in harmony. A walk through the Buddhist temple of Sensoji and the gardens of Hama Rikyu can transport you to an ancient era, while a private helicopter tour or dinner at Sky Restaurant 634 reveals stunning modern architectural marvels from up high.

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TOKYO FISH MARKETS

You won’t find fresher seafood in Tokyo than at the recently opened Toyosu Market. Toyosu replaces the historic Tsukiji Market, famed for its tuna auction, which opened in 1935. After visiting the new market, head to the Tsukiji Outer Market, where you can wander through narrow streets frozen in time from a bygone era.

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LEARN TO CUT GLASS
& BUY A JAPANESE KNIFE

The exquisite art of edo kiriko cut glass has roots in 19th-century Japan, and the techniques involved have been honed for over a century by Hirota Glass, which now imparts its knowledge to contemporary enthusiasts and its wares to collectors and appreciators of fine glasswork. On the other hand, the advent of Japanese knives on the world stage has been a recent phenomenon, but Ubukeya’s goods have quickly become the most coveted prize for chefs from New York to Paris and beyond. In this video, we’ll explore how these two shops have adapted to a changing world.

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PRACTICE SHIBORI

Shibori, or indigo dyeing, is a truly ancient art in Japan, dating back to the 8th century. Today, its techniques are more or less unchanged -- and willing students can learn them at Wanariya. However, for a more modern approach to shibori, one need only visit Nakamise Shopping Street to find a wondrous assortment of shibori goods that are tailored to modern fashion.

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TOUR A SAKE BREWERY

Sake is a through line in Japanese culture that was not only believed to connect people to the gods, but also connects the past and the present. At Tokyo’s sake distilleries & gardens, you can learn how this rice spirit is made, and also discover how artisans are applying their expertise to now brew beer and mix sake cocktails that are refreshingly novel.

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MAKE JAPANESE SWEETS
& INDULGE YOUR SWEET TOOTH

Walking through Tokyo is sure to work up an appetite, so feel free to indulge in another one of its time-honored traditions: candy. Of course, the candy in question here is wagashi -- ornately crafted confections that look almost too beautiful to eat. In this wondrous city, you can learn to make your own or watch world-renowned masters at work, as two sides of a delicious edible coin. Either way, you’re leaving the shop happy.

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