Sandra Barron

Correspondent

  • Tokyo, Japan, Asia

Sandra Barron is a correspondent who lives in Tokyo and covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. Barron has worked for the Japanese media both in New York City and Tokyo. She loved the serenity of living in rural western Japan and now thrives on the energy of Tokyo. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNN International, in The Japan Times and in its trend blog, Japan Pulse. She also is contributing to a book about some of Tokyo’s most intriguing hidden destinations.

  • On April 29, 2013
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    Sandra Barron is now following Tokyo
  • On April 23, 2013

    I hope we haven't.... Startled you.

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  • On April 22, 2013
    Sandra Barron answered the question: Sandra Barron

    What are the best restaurants in Tokyo?

    Tokyo takes food very seriously. It goes without saying that the Japanese food is some of the best you'll find anywhere, but the city also has some of the best of every type of cuisine you can imagine. If it's an Italian restaurant, the chef probably apprenticed for years in Italy, and so on. Emilia near Harajuku is one of the many wonderful Italian restaurants where the pasta and bread are made fresh onsite every day.

    Sukibayashi Jiro in Ginza is widely considered the best sushi bar in Tokyo. For a quick and simple bite that doesn't require (or take) reservations, you can't beat the ease and freshness of a standing sushi bar like Uogashi Nihon Ichi, which has over a dozen locations in popular drinking areas.

    When the occasion calls for something fancier, make a reservation to be dazzled by the molecular magic of Flatiron inside the Tokyo American Club. Or, stick with a more subtle kind of culinary artistry with traditional vegetarian shojin ryori at Itosho, where course after course of painstakingly prepared seasonal food is served at individual tables in elegant tatami rooms.
  • On April 21, 2013
    Sandra Barron answered the question: Sandra Barron

    What are the best things to do in Tokyo?

    Up early? How about a morning trip to Tsukiji Market followed by a sushi breakfast. The main action at the market happens as the sun is rising, so this is a great one to put on your list for the first or second day, when jet lag will have you up and ready to go while the rest of the city is still asleep.
    On a nice afternoon, you can't beat a walk through Yoyogi Park, where Tokyo-ites come out in groups to practice their favorite hobbies, from dressing up in costume to juggling glass orbs to breakdancing - you name it, someone is doing it in the park. Grab some yaki-soba, flavorful fried noodles right off the griddle from one of the vendors lining the park's entrance, or some icecream from the stand inside the park. The adjacent Meiji Jingu, with its stately wooden torii gates, is always a peaceful respite from the city.
    For a quieter park experience, there's Shinjuku Gyoen, which gives you acres of serene gardens to stroll or picnic for a small entrance fee. But if it's the crush of the city you crave, try Shibuya or Ikebukuro for some serious shopping. Hustle down the narrow alleys of Shinjuku's Omoide Yokocho and duck into any one of the many yaki-tori shops for some chicken grilled on skewers. (Chicken wings cooked this way are especially tasty.) Cap off the night around the corner with a drink in Shinjuku's Golden Gai, a dense warren of bars packed with character that each seat only a handful of people.
  • On April 21, 2013
    Sandra Barron posted:

    Still a bit chilly in Tokyo, but bright and sunny today!

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  • On April 19, 2013
    Sandra Barron answered the question: Sandra Barron

    What are the best attractions in Tokyo?

    Tokyo Skytree is the world's tallest broadcasting tower, and has stunning panoramic views of the city and far beyond  - not to mention a vertiginous view straight down through a glass-floored deck. The surrounding area, Solamachi (Japanese for "sky town") is full of shopping and dining. A short walk away, Sensoji temple and its imposing Kaminarimon entrance gate bedecked with a huge red lantern offer a taste of ancient Edo right in the heart of modern Tokyo. Delicious traditional treats like red-bean-paste filled sweets called ningyo-yaki are cooked in cast iron molds right before your eyes, then served piping hot from a paper bag or neatly boxed up to enjoy later.
    Water buses dock nearby and run to many popular attractions along the Sumida River. Several different lines run; the fully enclosed Himiko looks like it's straight out of a futuristic comic book. On these boats, it's easy to get to the many shopping and entertainment options on Odaiba, the relaxing gardens of Hamarikyu, or the grand Sumo hall in Ryogoku when there's a tournament on. After all this walking, a seat at the newly refurbished Kabuki-za for a Kabuki performance could be in order. For a quieter sit-down, you could obseve some of the world's best bartenders shake up a perfect cocktail or two in one of Ginza's top-class bars. Kampai!
  • On April 19, 2013
    Sandra Barron answered the question: Sandra Barron

    Where is the best shopping in Tokyo?

    It's hard to beat the convenience of the new crop of urban shopping centers that have cropped up in central Tokyo over the last year.

    The newest of these shopping complexes is Kitte, part of a towering renovation of the historic Tokyo Central Post Office just across the street from Tokyo Station. The unique triangular atrium preserves some of the old building's original features while adding stunning modern architecture. Start with a snack at the airy bookstore cafe on the fourth floor and wind your way down. (Don't skip a peek into the free natural history museum on the second floor.)

    Tokyu Plaza is colloquially called Omo-Hara, as it sits at the intersection of Omotesando and Harajuku. It's a nice blend of the characters of the two neighborhoods: Omotesando's good taste and Harajuku's youthful fun. The green rooftop garden is a great place to relax. You'll want to have your camera ready as you go up the escalators surrounded by striking fun-house mirrors at the entrance.

    Divercity is a day trip for the shopper interested in seeing a pristine Japanese take on the Western shopping mall concept. Familiar brands mingle with Japanese favorites, and the vast food court has a wide array of fresh and accessible Japanese and international meals and snacks. The property is surrounded by views of Tokyo Bay. Out back, a park with a towering, colorful statue of beloved Japanese anime character Gundam provides a photo op and a place to rest and enjoy some fresh air and icecream on a nice day.
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