When I was a little lady, I always wanted to go to Japan. Actually I wished I was Japanese (I was clearly going through some sort of oriental identity crisis). Then for years I kept putting it off for lots of silly reasons and one depressing night when I was working late, I came to the startlingly original conclusion that I shouldn't put off what I love and I booked myself a flight to Japan for 2 weeks during the cherry blossom season.
Guys, I'm tempted to share with you what could be the longest photo slide show ever in the history of time. However I exercised huge restraint and put my top 10 photos from Japan on my Instagram page (only my poor suffering friends will see the +100 photos I put on Facebook and only me will ever see the +2,000 photos I took...I had varying exposure levels to deal with people - the sun was so bright!).
Just to give you a flavour of my obsessive and control-freak ways
So the first place I want to write about is the sublime Sky Lounge Stellar Garden bar within the Princes Park hotel in Tokyo which my trusty guide book recommended as an alternative to going up the Tokyo Tower. Rough Guides are after my heart when they suggested I spend the money I would have paid to go up the Tokyo Tower to have a cocktail on the 33rd floor at the Sky Lounge bar so I could also see the tower and that I did.
Mirror selfie with a twist
Prior to going to Japan, quite a lot of people asked me if I had seen "Lost in translation". Yes I've seen it, yes I know about the Park Hyatt, no I'm not that bothered about recreating some Bill Murray / Scarlett Johansson scene with my female friend that I was going with. I genuinely am really pleased we went to the Princes Park instead because we turned up on a Saturday night without reserving and didn't have to wait that long was pretty good yet there were lots of people to give it atmosphere. It was unpretentious and we actually felt quite over-dressed in our dresses.
The seating was arranged to maximise the key feature of the bar - the view over Tokyo
This mixed berry punch had vodka, orange, Yuzu liqueur and ginger ale. It arrived looking like an English wild garden. It tasted like a sweet English garden.
The Sky Lounge Stellar Garden bar is also known for its martini options of which I had a fruit one. I'm ashamed to admit that I forgot to make a note of it but I remember it being a blend of 2 fruit flavours which I thought sounded sweet and refreshing.
Overlooking the Tokyo Tower as I'm sippin my martini - this life will do
The bar itself - even without the most stunning skyline view ever - was beautifully discreet, sophisticated and modern. As with the whole of Japan, everyone there was so polite. When the couple sitting on the sofa in front of us left, we asked if we could sit there (for an uninterrupted view of the skyline) and we were ushered to another seat in the corner which had a view right next to the Tokyo Tower. They wanted us to have the best seats in the bar!
I would absolutely recommend this place to anyone visiting Tokyo. I can't compare to the Park Hyatt as I didn't go but I would say for beautiful views, great cocktails and service, this is on your to-go list.
OK so I'm cheating a little, I didn't take this photo from this bar but I wanted to show you how awesome the Tokyo skyline is at night and why you need to get to a kick ass bar to see it. This photo was taken from the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan building. Another must visit in Tokyo.