New food, fun and things to do in Tokyo this winter!

Tokyo. Photo credit: Clay Banks via UnSplash

It’s been a long time coming but we can now all head to Japan for the first open border ski season since 2019/2020. Excited, much? Understatement.

A snow trip to Japan isn’t a snow trip to Japan without a stopover in Tokyo. This gateway city blends old and new, east and west, chaos and calm.

From the colourful shopping streets of Harajuku to the quirky 200 bars crammed into the six streets of Golden Gai, Tokyo will have you at hello, or konnichiwa.

There’s a ton of new accommodation and attractions and dining open in this thriving city, so mark these on your travel list and enjoy. Kanpai!

What’s New in Tokyo


Mesm, Tokyo.

From ancient ryokans to cool Air BnBs to five star hotel luxury, Tokyo serves up a plethora of options to lay your head down. New this winter include the following.

Located near the waterfront within the aptly named ‘WATERS Takeshiba Precinct’, Mesm Tokyo brings authentic Japanese design and hospitality combined to make for the ideal choice for travellers seeking innovation and creativity. On the other side of town in the heart of Shinjuku, Kimpton Shinjuku is a sophisticated boutique hotel offering an edgy ambience, stellar city views and seamless service.

In Toranomon, Tokyo EDITION features 206 guest rooms including 22 suites with iconic views of the Tokyo skyline. The hotel includes 3 restaurants with an outdoor terrace overlooking Tokyo Tower and its new Gold Bar offers prime people-watching and a drinks list that pays homage to the pre-Prohibition golden age of tipples.

The coolest hotel in Tokyo hidden in plain sight

Hot culinary scene additions

Maz Tokyo.

Oishi means delicious in Japanese, a word you’ll be repeating at every dining stop. It’s impossible to get a bad meal in Japan, impossible, even the fare at Lawsons chain stores is exceptiona.

Lucky for you The Michelin Guide Tokyo 2022 has been released, and now includes 432 restaurants in the metropolis. Maz Tokyo, led by Santiago Fernandez, explores Peru’s food culture in inventive combinations while star chef Daniel Calvert is in the kitchen at Sezanne, situated in an art-filled space inside the Four Seasons, Marunouchi.

Meanwhile at Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura, head chef, Antonio Lacoviello, interprets Japanese ingredients through the lens of Italian cuisine. For ramen lovers, the recently opened Michelin starred, Ginza Hachigo, serves beautifully complex soup created by combining Japanese and Western elements.

Arts, activities, and adventure

Team Lab, Tokyo.

Tokyo has always been known for its creativity and art.

Launched by teamLab, ‘Planets Tokyo’ sees guests walk through water installations or take in the scents of 13,000 real orchids that ‘react’ by making space for visitors to walk around. Michelin-starred restaurant Vegan Ramen UZU Tokyo has also opened on site.

For a slice of Olympic history, visitors are now free to explore the Japan National Stadium – the tour lets visitors explore various parts of the Tokyo Olympic Stadium at leisure.

Meanwhile for Disney fans, the beloved Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea is offering a 20 percent discount on one-day park tickets with fixed-date admission until January 31, 2023.

All the discount travel passes

If you’re unsure of your plans there are several reloadable smart cards allowing you to tap on and tap off at nearly any public transport in major cities, and many regional areas (often with a discount compared to the cash fare).

In Tokyo, the main options are SUICA and PASMO. Each card starts from 1000 yen, which includes a refundable 500 yen deposit and 500 yen of credit.

Aside from the popular rail passes, there are also a number of other discount passes that could save you money. Starting from 6,800 yen for a 2-day pass, THE TOKYO PASS gets you entry to over 35 of Japan’s leading museums, parks, gardens, zoos, and aquariums, as well as all unlimited rides on Tokyo’s subway.

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.