Tokyo is blooming lovely all-year round, but especially so during Takao Momiji Matsuri: the autumnal Maple Leaf Festival, which will flourish at scenic Mt Takao throughout November. In honour of all things flora and fauna, this is the LUXE guide to the city’s natural charms. Horticulturalists – whether budding or full-grown – can expect to feel anticipatory tingles in their (green) fingers.
Sip on a rare botanical brew – dandelion, apple mint and rosemary, perhaps – while nibbling light bites at Aoyama Flower Market & Tea Room, which is no ordinary florist (despite appearances otherwise). This little tea shop and flower-power plant shop is steeped in charm; prepare to leave with arms weighed down with foliage.
Michelin-approved dining comes with a generous side of plant life at Narisawa, whose menu revolves around the changing moods of Mother Nature, with a dash of French sophistry thrown in for good measure, too. The restaurant is on a mission to ‘bring nature to a plate’; its Japanese wines are also worth writing home about, too. Ooh la la…
Guilty of just shoving your blooms and stems haphazardly into the nearest vase? Hone your flower-arranging skills at one of Ikebana’s classes, which instruct devotees in tranquil, traditional kadō: Japanese flower-arranging. It’s astonishing what you can get up to with two sticks and a daffodil.
Wall Bar brings the old ‘concrete jungle’ concept vividly to life: this hidden-away drinking den is part bar, part art installation, with a lush vertical garden as its centrepiece. Bottles and glasses are hidden away, too – no doubt to keep the focus firmly on the foliage – but speak and ye shall find (a drink). Stick with classic cocktails or sip a glass of champagne or three.
If you want to unfurl and unwind like a water lily basking in sunshine, head to the blissful Niwa-no-Yu onsen, which sits pearl-like in a designer garden, conceived by luminary landscape architect Kenzo Kosugi. This bathing-belle bathhouse is split into male and female sudsing and soaping areas, with outdoor jacuzzis, a main pool and a unisex sauna (don your cossie for this bit). And relaaaaaax.
Aoyama Flower Market & Tea Room / 5-1-2 Minami-Aoyama / Minato-ku / + 81 3 3400 0887 / daily / afm-teahouse.com
Narisawa / 2-6-15 Minami-Aoyama / Minato-ku / +81 3 5785 0799 / Tue-Sat / narisawa-yoshihiro.com
Wall Bar / 1F / Costume National Aoyama Complex / 5-4-30 Minami-Aoyama / Minato-ku / +81 3 5774 1311 / daily / cnac.jp
Niwa-no-Yu / 3-25-1 Mukaiyama / Nerima-ku / +81 3 3990 4126 / daily / niwanoyu.jp