Unlock the algorithm that turned a millennium-old village into the city of the future.
You travel around Tokyo as if in a Matrix. One minute you’re jostling through Shinjuku under giant TV screens. The next, the neon maelstrom pixelates like a rip in the code. It crystalizes again in a garden court at Meiji Shrine, surrounded by swooping greens and soft blossoms. And then again amid the futurist fashions, luxurious mineral and metallic hues of Omotesando. All before lunch.
Surprise the senses
Welcome to Asia’s original megacity—the style-scrambling model for Singapore, Seoul, Shanghai, and others to come. You are gaijin, a foreigner. You vaguely recall the familiar (dis)pleasure of air travel, baggage claim, customs from not long ago. A white-gloved cabbie. After that, things get blurry. (Must be the jet lag.) But there’s a soothing sense that protocols here known only to locals keep the turbulent life of Tokyo running smoothly beneath the surface.
In the pink and blue dawn, forklifts bang and whirr at Toyosu Market delivering sofa-sized tuna and 400 other saltwater delicacies bound for Japanese kitchens. The daily auction proceeds amid metallic clamor with the solemnity of a Sotheby’s art sale—and prices to match. Beneath Shibuya’s stacked glass-box malls, determined tides of shoppers and commuters flow and merge in a seamless choreography with little more than an electrostatic hum. In the labyrinth of brutalist concrete streets so complex that people give maps instead of addresses, tiny, warm-wooded soba shops glow with rice-paper doors and deep porcelain bowls of rich umami broth.
Above it all, the Park Hyatt Tokyo hovers like a faceted spacecraft visiting from yet another dimension. Brought to fame by Sofia Coppola’s 2003 Oscar-winning Lost in Translation, the hotel stands shoulder-to-shoulder with more recent arrivals in terms of both style and service. The Park Hyatt can claim, in all modesty, to be the standard by which top-end Tokyo hotels are measured.
The attentive, caring staff will welcome and help orient you in this strange, new world. Whether at arm’s length, taking in the panorama of the city’s algorithms from The Peak bar, or in the field on a tailored tour through Ginza’s galleries and luxury flagships. Or into Roppongi’s frenetic, nighttime underbelly. Or something else entirely: to learn calligraphy, say, in a school situated where laundry lines windows and few foreigners go, to see how Tokyojin live behind the scenes.
Plan your trip
“The Park Hyatt can claim, in all modesty, to be the standard by which top-end Tokyo hotels are measured.”
Savor the service
In between, come back to yourself. Soak in the view of Mt. Fuji and Park Hyatt’s penthouse pool and spa. Wander the recesses of your mind and the cosseted library. Feast all your senses at afternoon tea in the bamboo garden or on fine dining—haute French at Girandole, contemporary Japanese at Kozue, and Kobe beef at the appropriately 52nd-story New York Grill and jazz bar.
“There’s a soul to the place,” says First in Service Co-Founder and CEO, Fernando Gonzalez. “From the General Manager all the way to the bellboys and housekeeping. The lighting, the books and art in the rooms—it all tells you there’s an incredible depth to the place.”
Subcultures and superlatives
Beyond, lies a city of “mosts”. The world’s most populous—as big as California. Its safest too. With the most Michelin stars—twice those of Paris. An economy the size of Italy. A budget bigger than Saudi Arabia. No surprise then that this vastness offers a ward for every subcultural fetish. Akihabara for geeks and gamers. Harajuku for pink pop punk. Asakusa for the 7th-Century Sensoji Temple. Pokemon kawaii cuteness on billboards, roadblocks and bullet trains to everywhere. The offer will soon expand even more with new neighborhoods built into Tokyo Bay to cater for the 2020 Olympics.
Welcome to the fishing village that became the greatest city on earth.