Welcome to VOYAGES, our monthly guide to Julie Elliott's most-loved cities and spa destinations. Learn how she unwinds, indulges, and explores—and discover which In Fiore products she carries with her.
By now you certainly know that Japan is In Fiore's other Motherland. I've been traveling between Tokyo and Kyoto for decades—both are continual sources of inspiration for my personal style, as well as this brand. When I was compiling this list, I realized that I've been to Tokyo over thirty times…perhaps I should write a proper guide book! In the meantime, here is my highly edited list of places to unwind, indulge, and explore.
There is no shortage of amazing hotels in Tokyo, but the Aman Tokyo will ruin you for all others—so if you decide to make the trip, do yourself a favor save it for your happy ending. As far as luxury wellness sanctuaries go, it is the pinnacle…there is no detail too small. The spa, with its traditional Japanese Kampo medicine treatments, is the central concept of the hotel, and once you check in you will not want to leave. Ever. You cannot pry me away from those spa baths. But even the hotel rooms are spa-like: each has its own onsen-style stone bath, and their version of turndown service is to draw you a sugo (shaved cedarwood) bath and leave a suite of fresh-pressed juices in your fridge. I’ll take that over chocolates on the pillow any night.
Another hotel I love, and one that is excellent for a maiden visit to Tokyo, is the Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel. It is well situated in Shibuya within walking distance to several interesting areas you'll want to explore. You also can’t go wrong with the classics: the Park Hyatt Tokyo and Four Seasons Marunouchi.
If you think you’ve had authentic tempura but you’ve never had Tokyo tempura, you have probably not had authentic tempura. (And this is an experience you must have.) Tenichi Ginza Hoten is the place to do it. Bonus: their red lacquer countertops are a pleasure to behold in their own right.
Grab a cocktail at the New York Grill at the Park Hyatt. It’s the best view in all of Tokyo.
Okay, so it’s admittedly not Japanese, but Mariage Freres has a three-story building in Ginza. The first floor is retail and the second and third are tea salons—their selection of teas is absolutely beyond. They’re located close to (a very well-curated) Barneys and Dover Street Market.
My favorite destination for traditional Japanese tea and sweets is Higashiyama, which has locations in Ginza and Aoyama. It's a beautiful place to have lunch, but be sure to make reservations. Sakurai Road Tea is another special place.
And the pièce de résistance: Yakumo Saryo, first introduced to me by graphic design icon, Tamotsu Yagi. (Make a reservation.) You're welcome.
Whereas Kyoto is all about the temples and shrines, Tokyo is the city for museums, architecture, collector's bookstores, and gardens.
The collections at Nezu Museum by Kengo Kuma lean toward the more traditional side but they’re beautiful, nonetheless. (I also love the bamboo-lined path leading to the building.)
Not only does the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography have excellent exhibitions, it also has a library with very cool collections. The bookstore is by Nadiff, so that's a plus, too.
The Watari-um at The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art has an incredible bookstore and consistently interesting exhibitions.
Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens is one of the best scenic parks in Japan, and Happo-En Gardens in Shirokane is quite beautiful, too. It’s a small park, but very scenic, with a traditional tea house that serves matcha and sweets. Happo-En means "beautiful from every direction."
Maison Hermés flagship in Ginza, designed by Renzo Piano, is, hands down, my favorite building in Tokyo. Plus...you know. Hermés.
Speaking of shopping, Okura is one of my favorite shops for traditional textiles, and Kamawanu for Tenugui (traditional Japanese wrapping cloth)—both are located in Daikanyama. Also in Daikanyama is the must-see T-SITE bookstore, which reinforces the idea that print is alive and well (a concept I will always support). Daikanyama, Nakameguro, and Ebisu are all interesting areas to wander and explore.
4-2-4 Travel Set
These are the non-negotiables. It may seem like a lot, but I usually land in Tokyo and head straight to a formal dinner with my team. And, well, this is the beauty industry. I also drink three liters of water during the flight, which not only helps to stay hydrated and looking fresh upon landing, but helps with jet lag, too.
FOR THE DURATION
My schedule while in Japan is jam-packed so it’s all about doing everything I can to support my immune system, energy, and flow. This means leveraging baths, dry brushing, hot and cold showers, lots of tea, three to four liters of water per day, and watching my salt intake. (And, of course, a plethora of homeopathic and herbal remedies, but that’s a conversation for another day.)
Firmante Elevating Leg Tonic pre- and post-flight promotes circulation, which is essential after traveling that far. I love Vetivert balm in the morning for energy, and Shevanti balm for when I need to wind down before bed. Both are best applied to warm, damp skin post-bath.
I find that my skin looks best in Tokyo when I keep my skincare routine as simple as possible (plus I like to indulge in facial treatments) so it’s best to not to overdo it. At night, I do the 4-2-4—no matter what—followed by a boost of Comfrey Solution to promote overnight repair and Transparence for hydration and rhythmicity. In the morning, I splash my face with cold water several times, then apply a few drops of Calendula Solution for a healthy dose of antioxidants and nutrition. Next, it’s Transparence for hydration, Complex de Fleur for boosting firmness, and Fleur Vibrante for anti-pollution protection. Morning and night, I finish with Veloutée Lip and Eye treatment.
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