Best things to do, see and eat in Tokyo: Expert expat travel tips


Originally from Wangaratta, a quarter-life crisis saw Lucy quit her job in music and move to Japan in 2016. She now lives in Shibuya, Tokyo, where she works as a travel writer, is co-founder of bilingual communications agency Y+L Projects and co-hosts the Global Hobo writing workshop,,


Meguro Sky Garden is forever one of the best secret views of the city, and it's free. The garden is a lush meticulously maintained rooftop garden. Backdropped by the cold grey Tokyo skyscrapers, it's a well-hidden secret that sits atop an unassuming building just a short walk from Ikejiri Ohashi Station. It's home to a cluster of cherry blossom trees and in summer it's an excellent low-key picnic hangout in summer. To find it, just look for the Meguro Sky Garden sign near the South Exit of Ikejiri Ohashi Station.


Rent a bike to get around. Tokyo isn't really known for being a super bike-centric city, but it is! Most locals get around by bike and given the number of things to see - which you're bound to miss on the train - nothing beats exploring your local 'hood on two wheels. Tokyo Bikes in Nippori rent out super stylish pushbikes, while you can also pick up a red Docomo-sponsored e-bike in most major city hubs. Tokyo's so safe too, so your chances of it getting stolen are next to nil. Helmets are not legally required, but highly recommended.


Not to be confused with the mega-popular ramen chain Ichiran, tomato ramen shop Ichirin serves the best spicy tomato ramen in town. Chock full of chunky tomato, egg, garlic cloves and topped with green chives, it's like stinky tomato soup on steroids. You can select your noodle style (ramen, udon or konjac) and spice level, and when you're done, ask the staff for "Breath Care" (pronounced: Bre-su care) - and they'll give you a handful small mint-liquid-filled tablets. Swallow them whole to combat the after-garlic aroma.


Nestled in the delightfully ramshackle backstreets of Shimokitazawa, you'll find 808 Lounge, a local bar that seats a maximum of 10 (six on the counter, four up the back corner). This bar doesn't have any fancy flourishes, just (totally unironic) semi-kitsch Americana/Hawaiian decorations and possibly the best mojito in town,


While it is considered one of the major centres of the city - Tokyo is like 100 cities in one - staying in the heart of Shinjuku is a recipe for developing social anxiety. The crowds are hectic all year round, the lights migraine-inducing and the best places to eat are hidden from the tourist path. Opt for somewhere more neighborhood-like, such as Nakameguro, Nippori, Shimokitazawa or Sangenjaya, and you'll have a much better time!