One week in Tokyo: A re-cap of our time in this mega-city!

eating agepan

Tokyo City view

bikes in tokyo

caramel baby

crossing the road

Marlow eating Paletas

Miraikan Museum in Tokyo



cherry blossoms

donuts at Saturdays

After spending one month in laid-back Byron Bay, we gave ourselves a bit of culture shock by flying straight into the mega city of Tokyo! After a bit of a rough travel day (bumpy flight, sick children, long queues in airports and a taxi too small to fit all of our luggage!), we arrived to a little apartment in the bustling Shibuya neighbourhood and quickly became reacquainted with our city legs.

We spent the following week exploring Tokyo (mostly on foot!) — seeing the sites, dining in restaurants, visiting with friends, and trying our best to stay out of all the gorgeous shops in the city (we could have easily run out of money here! the shopping is endless!!). Here’s a recap of our favourite finds:


  • Garden House Crafts (Log Road): A fantastic bakery, breakfast and lunch spot. A tasty alternative if you desire something other than fish, soups or rice in the mornings. (We watched through the window as the team of pastry chefs meticulously folded croissant dough each morning. A fine art!)
  • Mamma Luisa’s Table: Abigail Terrien brought us to her family’s favourite Italian and it was one of our most memorable dinners in Tokyo. We’re still drooling over the delicious Tuscan fare served up by the friendly owner Pietro!
  • Tenoha in Daikanyama: Another Italian with tasty pastas and wood fired pizzas.
  • Ivy Place in Daikanyama: Set in the wonderful T-site complex, this is one everyone recommended we try for breakfast or lunch… but we never managed to make it (other than to snap photos of Ivy next to the sign!). Next time!
  • Motoya Espresso coffee van outside of Daikanyama train station: This friendly chap serves up delicious coffee straight out of his miniature van. If you normally go for a flat white, a ‘double latte’ is what you’ll request here.
  • Paletas in Daikanyama: Tasty ice lollies with a selection of intriguing Japanese (and western) flavours.
  • The Roastery by Nozy Coffee in Shibuya: A friendly café along a hip shopping street. They also serve beer and ice cream. What else do you need?
  • Bill’s: not very Japanese, but we were happy to eat healthy salads and seafood from this famous Australian chef.
  • Savoy: an intimate 13-seater pizzeria around the corner from Roppongi Hills serving the best wood-fired pizzas we’ve ever eaten!! We’re told these guys studied the craft in Italy and perfected it in Tokyo.
  • Hiroba at Crayon House in Omotesando – located in the basement of Crayon House, you’ll find an all-you-can eat organic buffet serving healthy Japanese salads, soups, rice and fish dishes in a relaxed family-friendly environment. (Crayon House also has a great toyshop and bookstore – with a selection of English books too!)
  • Maisen in Omotesando (Japanese Tonkatsu): We enjoyed lunch in this classic Japanse restaurant known to have the best Tonkatsu in town.
  • Il Boschetto in Meguro: good, simple wood-fired pizzas.


  • Meiji Shrine: An oasis in the middle of bustling Tokyo. Here you’ll find a gorgeous shrine and peaceful gardens to stroll around. A must-do on the tourist trail.
  • Tokyo City View from the top of the Roppongi Hills tower: take the lift up to the 52nd floor for 360-degree views of this enormous city.
  • Ueno Zoo: A decent city zoo with some Asian animals like Pandas. It’s set in Ueno Park, which is a vibrant area with other activities and museums on offer.
  • Shinjuku Gyoen National Park: We hoped to catch the tail-end of the cherry blossoms here but arrived five minutes too late on the day we tried to visit. It seems these and other gardens close at 4pm. Looked beautiful from outside the gates. Next time.
  • Miraikan Museum /Science Center in Daiba: A fascinating museum of science and technology. We especially enjoyed the giant globe installation and a live demonstration of Honda’s famous robot, Asimo.


  • Tokyu Hands: a one-stop, Japanese DIY shop with literally one of everything you can imagine – from cool stationery to travel gear to kitchen gadgets to home wares (this probably wasn’t the best place to bring four restless children, but we wanted to see it as so many people suggested we check it out).
  • Saturdays Surf Shop in Daikanyama: this beautiful shop offers a curated selection of surf boards, wet suits, accessories and stylish men’s clothing, but it was their café serving good coffee and delicious donuts that won us over. Enjoy them outside on their decked roof terrace – a little oasis in the middle of a bustling city.
  • Tsutaya Bookstore: This is one of the most beautiful bookstores I’ve ever been in – with three different buildings and a beautiful café inside. If I could read Japanese I might have never left!
  • Kodomo Beams children’s shop: A wonderfully curated selection of children’s brands from all over the world, including their own branded products. I successfully managed to sneak in and have a little browse – without buying anything. A feat considering how gorgeous everything was!
  • Tokyo Midtown Shopping Centre: A shopping centre with a good grocery store in the basement and lots of other specialty shops. There’s also an art gallery called 21_21, a pretty park and a cute playground behind the building.
  • Caramel, Bonton, Bonpoint,– these well-known (and gorgeous!) children’s shops from London and Paris have shops here too. As with all Japanese outlets of foreign brands, the selections are perfectly curated.
  • BorneLund toyshop in Daikanyama: a great little toy store with a selection of beautiful toys, many on display to test out and play, plus a super friendly staff. They also have a play area and bookstore for restless little ones.
  • Kiddyland: If you like kooky, cutesy or classic Japanese characters, it’s worth a stroll through this multistory shop – it’s an experience all on its own.


  • Airbnb: We rented a tiny apartment in Shibuya (near to Daikanyama) with just enough space for four double mattresses on the floor! It was perfectly comfortable though, and we were really hardly there except to sleep and shower.
  • Japan Experience: Another Japan travel specialist, these guys offer houses to rent in Tokyo and other cities.
  • A Japanese reader (and regular Tokyo visitor) recently wrote to let us know that these serviced apartments are another great option for where to stay.


Have you been to Tokyo? Are you familiar with the city? If so, please share your tips and favourite spots below – it would be great to add to the list above.

Courtney x


Comments (7)

Living in China
May 4, 2016

hahaha I see that you went to more than one pizza joint! Would of love to see some sushi and local recommendations but you probably didn’t get a chance. And no climbing Mt. Fuji and/or Disneyland! maybe wise choice. Wondering next stop in Asia would be.

Courtney in London
May 5, 2016

Thanks for your comment! We DID eat loads and loads of sushi and tradition Japanese food. We even ate fish for breakfast, as foreign as that felt. 🙂 Many of the Japanese places we popped into had names only in Japanese, and we didn’t remember to write them down, so I wasn’t able to include them in this review. The good news is that finding good sushi restaurants in Japan is so easy! They’re everywhere! xx

May 20, 2016

Hi Courtney, we have family in Japan and so it is a special place for us … I have so enjoyed seeing the pictures of your time there. I wondered if you and the Babyccino girls would mind sharing some tips and tricks (perhaps in a blog post) about how you care for your children’s clothes when travelling, in particular washing and stain treating? We are travelling overseas with toddlers in a few months time and I am wondering how to deal with messy clothes while we are away. Last time we travelled, I found myself soaking my daughter’s stained dresses in the bathroom sink of the hotel and wondered if I should have just simply packed more clothes rather than fewer and having to wash them. What are your thoughts on it all? And what laundry products would you girls use on the go? Many thanks and all the best in the Sri Lanka leg of your journey x

Courtney in London
May 21, 2016

Hi Evelyn,
Thanks for your comment. How exciting that you’re travelling overseas in a few months!
My advice is always to pack light! I pride myself on being a light packer and STILL I always pack too much. In Japan, for example, we had a washing machine (no dryer – so clothes had to hang dry) in both our Tokyo and Kyoto apartments, so it was easy to wash clothing and re-wear once they dried. In places where we didn’t have access to a washing machine, we just hand-washed in the sink like you said. Laundry hasn’t been that big of a problem this year for us – and never have I wished we had packed more clothes!
We have written a post about removing stubborn stains on our blog previously – you can find that post here: I loved the comments from readers with their favourite stain removal products!
Thanks again for your comment and good luck with planning and packing! xx

June 17, 2016

Thank you Courtney, this is so helpful and I really appreciated the link. All those tips! I now feel confident to pack lightly and wash on the go! It’s exciting (and slightly terrifying) to plan a trip overseas with little ones but I feel well prepared now, and I know it will be a wonderful time! Safe travels for you all too x

Emma (Mamalina)
May 27, 2016

Loved reading this.. we are considering a trip to Japan next summer with our (soon to be !) two…will be digging this out for sure!

June 2, 2017

[…] Tokyo, Japan’s dazzling capital, is full of traditional culture but is also constantly renewing and innovating — making it a city with a true blend of the ultramodern and the traditional. You will find neon-lit skyscrapers but also historic temples and palaces set in large public gardens. The city is full of beautiful sites to visit, amazing restaurants and bars, and gorgeous shopping. There is also an excellent public transport system. I have always wanted to visit Tokyo (the architecture is amazing!), so I was very excited for Courtney when she went! Here are her favourite, family-friendly finds in Tokyo. […]

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