NOT Travelogue: Tokyo

An artist I discovered last year, Riva Christophe, spoke about how “in a completely different environment, you have to take off all the concepts you’ve been wearing. By doing so, movement occurs such as taking off the skin, scraping off something, and trying on something different.”

On my travels and throughout my life, I’ve gravitated towards kindred spirits who share my sense of curiosity and adventure. So I decided to ask some of my favorite humans who are lucky to call extraordinary destinations home: What are your top 3 off-the-beaten-track treasures in your city? And what would you wear while exploring these secret havens?

Our next stop is the inimitable city of Tokyo with the wonderful Mari Yamaguchi, a former Tokyo-based producer of "Style with Elsa Klensch" on CNN. I had the fortune of making her acquaintance while living in Tokyo last fall, through the delightful Amy Katoh, author and owner of the store Blue & White. Mari has her finger on the pulse of art and culture throughout Japan and I cherish the moments we spent exploring Tennoz Isle (see tip below!), a Komon dyeing factory, and wandering gardens tucked away in the center of the city. Also, thanks to Mari for personally taking the photos that accompany each tip!

Join us on our NOT Travelogue Series, where insider tips and unconventional style blend to ignite your sense of adventure. Click on the tag “Travel” to access our other Travelogues.


Shrine tucked away in hillside complex daikanyama

I love the view of Hillside Terrace Complex and its elegant ambience. It is a cultural center with art galleries, select shops, cafés and restaurants. Hats off to the owner Asakura family and architect Fumihiko Maki! Building the whole complex took 30 years to complete starting from 1967, and it defines what Daikanyama should be for the community. Walking through Daikanyama T-Site bookstore, a later addition to this area, gives me the ideas of the moment, and Hollywood Ranch Market and it's sister boutiques with 70s vibes give a nice twist to this area.

The small shrine atop 6th or 7th century ancient burial mound in Hillside Terrace courtyard, along with Asakura Residence building and garden of 1919 foundation, is reminiscent of old times. I would wear the Gusset Pant Print while enjoying Daikanyama. 


Leafy garden of Nezu Museum 

This museum was founded by the Nezu family in 1940, and it boasts quite an impressive Japanese and Chinese art collection. The entrance pathway gives the feel of Kengo Kuma, the architect. Besides themed exhibitions, I adore the ancient Chinese bronze ware collection on permanent display and the room that shows the whole settings of tea ceremony of the season. Walking in the classic Japanese garden gives me another delight. I never get tired of walking through trees and stone buddhas; I love to see irises in full bloom while its National Treasure “Iris Screens” are on display and to see leaves turning their colors in the fall.

Having tea at Nezu Café overlooking the garden is a nice way to end my visit. I cannot believe this is a five minute walk from Omotesando’s hustle-bustle! You would see me here wearing NOT's Papillon Jacket.


Multi colored pigments in bottles at Pigment Lab on Tennoz Isle Tokyo

Once a part of an Edo period fort, Tennoz Isle has now become a hub of artistic activity. I spend a day in this canal town visiting the WHAT MUSEUM, TERRADA ART COMPLEX, and ARCHI-DEPOT which houses architecture models from renowned architects. Oceanfront T.Y. Harbor Brewery Restaurant is the best lunch spot, and the shop I never miss visiting is PIGMENT TOKYO, where the best quality paints, pastels, brushes are displayed for sale in the most beautiful way! I would wear the Interlock Jacket while exploring Tennoz Isle.


 Mari Yamaguchi profile picture

Mari Yamaguchi was a Tokyo-based producer of "Style with Elsa Klensch" on CNN, a television program that dealt with design and fashion from around the world from 1980 to 2001. Exploring Tokyo with a focus on art, design, and history, and organizing casual walk tours and art gallery tours are her specialty. Follow her journeys on Instagram at @tokyocollage




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