Insights from an expert, from toys to cherry blossom, in Tokyo

by Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Mandarin Oriental Tokyo’s Director of Concierge Services is Masumi Tajima. She has worked at the hotel since it opened, 13 years ago. She was born in Gunma prefecture, which is famous for traditional hot springs of the highest quality; a unique combination of nature and industry; and winter sports, like skiing and snowboarding, close to major urban centres like Tokyo. She loves her job because “It is always an interesting, exciting and challenging routine. There are many situations that you don’t expect to encouter every day.” 

Masumi Tajima.

Her favourite locale when enjoying a day off

Gardens, newly opened shops and restaurants.

Where she takes her own guests when they visit

Visiting Yanaka, Kagurazaka and Kuramae to see the small traditional area, and Daikanyama to see Japanese designer shops. Visiting the antenna shops for a literal taste of the various prefectures of Japan, if my friends only spend the time in Tokyo.

It’s a rainy day but we want to explore. What we should do

Visit museums/galleries and explore the complex, and inside the station, “Ekinaka,” which not only has many unique shops and dining places but also some Japanese traditional massage places. Joining craft workshops, such as making Japanese paper art, origami and sake glass engraving. Also, enjoy a Japanese cultural experience such as tea ceremony, flower arrangement, kimono wearing and calligraphy.

Recommendations for night-time entertainment

Traditional performing art “Suigian” – They present Noh drama, Kyogen drama, Nihonbuyo dancing, and various other traditional performing arts performances. They also offer handpicked selection of Japanese drinks such as Japanese wine, Sparkling Sake and Cocktails.

Key phrases visitors should learn

Arigato gozaimasu  – Thank you

Konnichiwa – Hello

Sumimasen – Excuse me

xxx Wo kudasai –  I would like to xxx…

xxx Wa dokodesuka – Where is xxx?

Best shopping and souvenirs 

In Nihonbashi area – There are many great artisanal crafts and traditional shops. Lacquerware, fans, toothpicks, kimono/fabrics, knives, washi papers/crafts and glasses.

Japan traditional crafts at Aoyama Square – It is the only officially designated Japanese gallery & shop where traditional craft products from various areas can be found…

A child-friendly thing to do or place to go

Ueno Zoological Garden – It is the oldest zoo in Japan and exhibits 500 species of animals including the Giant Panda.

Tokyo Dome City – It is a leisure complex comprising the Tokyo Dome baseball stadium, an amusement park, a variety of shops and restaurants. Enjoy various rides and entertainment facilities including a large indoor playground for children called “AsoBono”, where children from six months and up can play with various kinds of toys.

Best-kept secret or favourite hidden treasure

The Machikado Museum Project, which is in the historic Chuo City and showcases manu local cultural treasures. I am so impressed with Edo Character!

Best way to get to the airport

I highly recommend our hotel limousine. Narita Express – It offers easy access from/to the hotel as it is five minutes away from a central station.

Best time of the year to visit

Spring (the end of March to middle of April) for cherry blossoms. Autumn (October and November) for autumn foliage.

Anything else we should know when visiting

Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo has created a guide to Nihonbashi, which shares insights on the neighbourhood where we are located; Nihonbashi. Not just a key financial and commercial hub, Nihonbashi is full of history, and is known as the birthplace of Tokyo. The guide can be downloaded from our website.


For more information, or to book, click here.