WAN­DER: Up­mar­ket Aoyama’s main thor­ough­fares are renowned for high­end fash­ion houses, glam­orous fit-outs and cut­ting-edge ar­chi­tec­ture. But there’s also a cer­tain bliss to be found in the qui­eter sur­round­ing laneways where a host of smaller bou­tiques, eater­ies, bars, gal­leries and home­ware stores of­fer more rea­son­able al­ter­na­tives for the de­sign and life­style con­scious; go­

SHOP: Tucked be­neath a de­com­mis­sioned rail­way sta­tion (Man­seibashi be­tween Kanda and Ochan­o­mizu on the Chuo Line) in­side a tunnel of pol­ished con­crete arches is a thought­fully pre­sented se­lec­tion of beau­ti­fully crafted Ja­panese wares and must-have dec­o­ra­tive items for house or body. MAAch ecute is a trea­sure trove;

EAT: In an unas­sum­ing res­i­den­tial laneway op­po­site a whis­per-quiet tem­ple com­plex is L’Ef­fer­ves­cence, which of­fers a din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence de­signed to en­sure each guest is treated not only to a won­der­fully ex­e­cuted meal but an ar­ray of vis­ual de­lights. An al­most womb-dark, in­ti­mate foyer opens onto a light­filled din­ing room with sub­tle but mes­meris­ing views of a Zen-in­spired gar­den. Waiters carry trays of metic­u­lously plated food on cov­etable ce­ram­ics up the stair­case-cum-cat­walk from the kitchen, which dou­bles as a per­for­mance space. The meal fin­ishes with a short tea cer­e­mony ex­e­cuted by staff trained in the art; lef­fer­ves­

DRINK: A peace­ful out­door bar is perched on the rooftop of Amuse Mu­seum, which holds a small col­lec­tion of tra­di­tional and con­tem­po­rary arts, craft and de­sign. The bar menu is lim­ited but the views di­rectly over the Asakusa district’s ver­mil­ion Senso-ji tem­ple com­plex are mag­nif­i­cent; amuse­mu­

STAY: An­daz Tokyo To­ra­nomon Hills, a 164-room bou­tique mem­ber of the Hy­att ho­tels group, of­fers mul­ti­func­tional precincts in a gallery-like space that will ap­peal to those who love com­fort and eclec­tic style. Pub­lic ar­eas, in­clud­ing lifts, are adorned with modern art and tex­tu­ral in­stal­la­tions of wood, pa­per and stone. Gue­strooms are vis­ual and er­gonomic gems;­daz.hy­

Jane Law­son is an Aus­tralian writer who spe­cialises in Ja­pan where she hosts reg­u­lar cui­sine and cul­ture tours for Zenbu Tours. Her lat­est book is Tokyo Style Guide (Mur­doch Books). More: zen­b­u­

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