How to Spend Time in Tokyo: An Artist Itinerary

Tokyo is one of the dopest cities to visit. As Nomadic Matt, who spent 10 years traveling the planet, says, "It’s fast-paced, futuristic, and bursting with weird and wonderful activities to keep you busy, including gorgeous shrines, palaces, and temples; hip clubs and bars; and fashionable people and shopping, not to mention cherry blossoms."

Two years ago I spent my birthday in Tokyo. And the sole purpose for the trip was to see Dj Spinna (above). I was living in Beijing at the time; it was a short flight away; I had caught wind that he was playing at an exclusive underground club in the city, so, I had to go.


I keep journals of most all my trips. I love reliving the moments, the energy of a place. Thus, this quarantine has allowed me to dig into my travel archives and find this loose itinerary.


This is my actual list (and notes) of some of the cafes, bars, shrines, and other things I did for nearly a week in Tokyo, Japan, in May 2018:


***TUES, MAY 1st, Ginza area


  • Flight from Beijing to Busan to Tokyo

  • Stayed at Wise Owl Hostels Tokyo

  • Walked around Ginza Street

  • Ordered a Chai tea latte at Starbucks Ginza

  • Drank an Asahi at Wise Owl Bar

  • Ate a traditional Japanese breakfast at Denny's (steamed rice, miso soup, fish, eggs, salad; washed it down w a green tea)


***WED, MAY 2nd, Shinjuku area


  • Ate a chocolate glazed donut at Krispy Kreme!

  • Dj Spinna at VENT (underground club and venue space; photo with Spinna taken in the backstage area because venue banned photos out on the floor)

  • 10pm to 5am; 7 hours of different djs spinning everything; house, soul, hip hop, funk, trap, rap, disco! I danced alllll night long; finally sat my ass down around 5ish)

  • Breakfast: Indian curry


***THURS, MAY 3rd, Harajuku area (Harajuku and Meiji-Jingumae stations)


  • One of Tokyo's biggest draws, thanks to its grand shrine, Meiji-jingu;

  • Harajuku is full of eccentric street fashion, impressive architecture and art museums

  • Visited LUSH Harajuku; buys included R&B, Rehab, Honey Gift Set (tax free)

  • Went on a Free Walking Tour via Tokyo Localized; met up at Meiji Shrine;

  • Learned about Tokyo history, shrines, Takeshita Street, and Yoyogi Park

  • Stopped at SERENDIPITY3; ordered a Frozen Hot Chocolate -- the New York staple

  • Dropped in at Beams Records; found 'Children of NU' by Reginald Omas Mamode IV


***Fri, MAY 4th, Shinjuku area


  • Brought in my b-day at Toho Cinemas > Marvel Avengers: Infinity War, 12:20am-3am

  • Stopped in and ate at a 24-hour ramen and sushi spot, wrote in my journal for an hour

  • Later went to Tokyo Metropolitan Government No. 1 Building, 202 meters above ground; North, South observation decks (Nishi-shinjuku M07)

  • Got a panoramic shot of Mt. Fuji, one of the tallest mountains in the world;

  • I was on the 45th floor. And saw it all for FREE!


***Across the street from the government building, I visited Shijuku Chou Park.

Attended a World Festival (Ethopian, Jamaican, Malawi, Indian food; live music

included)/ ate dumplings, Malawian doughnuts; jerk chicken, and couscous)


***I also stayed a night at Book & Bed, Tokyo (read about it in Time Out Tokyo)

(they're capsule dorm pods mixed in with books and bookshelves; found it Friday morning,

walked around the Asakusa area, which led me to Ueno Park and the Sumo Museum, which led me to EDO Tokyo Museum, which led me to the garden and sword museum, which led me back to the subway towards central Tokyo)


***Ueno Park, known as the "forest of art" with Tokyo Museum of Art, Tokyo Nature and Science Museum, Tokyo National Museum, and more. It also houses one of the oldest zoos in Japan.


Yoko-ami cho Garden (small, relaxing Japanese garden with a heart-shaped

pond full of Japanese koi fish and turtles)


FOOD eaten: Ueno Park, Sakura Flower ice cream; shrimp ramen noodles; Hawaiian

macadamia nut chocolate ice cream, and Ghanian milk chocolate


***SAT, MAY 5th, Asakusa area


  • Ended up at Tower Records (Tower Mini, a smaller version of the LA record store), so I listened to new records by...

  • Janelle Monae, DIRTY COMPUTER

  • Prep, COLD FIRE ("Snake Oil")

  • Tom Misch, GEOGRAPHY

  • Rhye, BLOOD


...and on the overhead speakers... "You Should Be Here" by Raphael Saadiq & D'Angelo!