Digital Detox: 5 Places In Tokyo To Completely Disconnect

Have A Full Mental And Digital Break

By Emi Schemmer
March 5, 2019
Health & Beauty

Get a real digital detox to help you reconnect...with yourself!

In times of endless digital saturation, Instagram-glued life and endless (and more often than not, pointless) social media interactions, taking some time away from our devices can truly become a rejuvenating experience. Spending a few hours a day without the worry of notifications and messages or the constant checking of social media, does not only allows us to take a moment and have a meaningful conversation with people whose company we treasure (including ourselves, too!), but also lets our brains get back on track and work better the next time we use them.

While work and social life may be keeping you constantly busy, challenge yourself to take just one hour this week and simply disconnect. One hour! We promise you the world won’t end. Here are five places in Tokyo where you can do just that!


1. Sakurai Tea Experience: Where time has almost stopped


 

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Vietnamese monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh once said that we should drink our tea ”slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.” Sakurai Tea Experience in Minami-aoyama is the perfect place to work on this.

Hidden on the 5th floor of the Spiral Building, just meters above from the busy streets of Minami-Aoyama, Sakurai Tea Experience is a beautifully designed intimate tea salon where guests can enjoy the most quiet, peaceful and Zen-like experience. From the moment you enter the shop, you are politely greeted and then escorted to the counter seating that awaits you. You are then presented with an exquisite tea tasting menu which will last anywhere between 45 to 60 minutes. What makes Sakurai Tea Experience extra special is that each tea is served and explained delicately and with care, creating an experience that feels peaceful, thoughtful, and reflective. It will surely be one of the most memorable experiences you will have in the city and trust us, you won’t have time (or the need) to check your phone.

Where: Spiral Building, 5-6-23 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku
Open: Daily, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Cost: Full tea-tasting course from ¥4,800, Tea from ¥1,400, Sweets from ¥380


2. Ota Memorial Museum of Art: Where you can reconnect with Edo-style art


 

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Ota Memorial Museum of Art is a small museum that is tucked away on a quiet side street between Takeshita-dori and Meiji-Jingumae metro station. It primarily focuses on ukiyoe art and its quiet and somewhat hidden location offers the perfect afternoon escape from the city crowds and noise. The museum’s collection is largely comprised of Utagawa Hiroshige prints, all impressive, immaculately preserved and beautifully presented and with excellent English descriptions. Don’t be fooled by the size of the museum. Though a bit on the small side, the collection is something like over 200 artworks and so what is selected for display, often changes. It’s a wonderful activity to check out some history, culture, and beautiful artwork all in one.

Where: 1-10-10 JingumaeShibuya-ku 
Open: 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Closed Mondays.
Admission: ¥700 (Adults)


3. Nicolai Bergmann’s Flower School: Where you can explore your hidden creativity


 

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Located in his beautiful flower atelier in Aoyama, you can enjoy learning from the expert himself, Nicolai, how to create beautiful, elegant and fashionable floral arrangements and floral artworks.

A variety of floral design courses and special interest workshops are held year-round, catering to beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. Students who don’t speak Japanese and would like instruction in English are invited to join the school’s Creative Workshops, all taught by Nicolai himself. While the main language of the class will be Japanese, Nicolai ensures any non-Japanese speakers receive individual instruction and personalized attention so that they are able to follow the class with the rest of the students.

The atmosphere of the school is relaxing and friendly and after each class, you are welcome to relax in the Scandinavian-style atmosphere to enjoy a nice warm beverage or even a healthy light meal at the shop’s cafe. Throughout his atelier, you will find magazines and books about floristry which you can freely pick up and browse through to help expand your knowledge and feed your curiosities about flowers and interior design.

Where: 5-7-2 Minami-aoyama, Minato-ku
Open: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. (Class schedule varies. See monthly schedule here.)
Cost: ¥15,500. From ¥8,500 to ¥17,500 for other classes.


4. Shiseido Gallery: Where you can go back to basics


 

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There is an increasing amount of scientific, as well as medical research, which indicates that art enhances brain function and we can still feel the benefits from art for stress reduction without having to actually create anything.

Located in the basement floor of Shiseido’s standout red flagship building in the bustling streets of Ginza, the Shiseido Gallery is one of Japan’s oldest running galleries, with a history of over 140 years of achievements. To date, the gallery has hosted over 3,100 exhibitions, and since its opening, the gallery has kept true to its pursuit of non-profit activities with many of these being focused on emerging artists.  

When you make your way into the basement, taking the modern staircase down, you immediately find yourself in a contemporary space with an impressive 5-meter ceiling, making it a very open and enjoyable space to spend time in. The gallery is easily accessible from Shimbashi station or can also be a nice stroll from Ginza station.

Where: Tokyo Ginza Shiseido Building B1F, 8-8-3 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Open: Weekdays, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sundays and National Holidays 11am-6pm. Closed every Monday.
Admission: Free 


5. Le Furo: Where you can heal your body and soul


 

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Meditation is a powerful stress reliever and a habit that can lead to increased resilience and inner peace. But while there are many different ways to experience the benefits of meditation, finding time for that in a busy city like Tokyo can sometimes be difficult. So, what about bringing meditation to your daily routine – like bathing?

Le Furo is a hidden inner-city oasis where you can find yakuseki (medicinal) hot stone sauna, a wonderful twist on Japan’s traditional hot-spring bath. Their concept is simple: bath meditation.

Bath meditation combines the standard benefits of meditation practice with the benefits of a relaxing hot bath. The calming and rejuvenating environment will soothe tired or aching muscles and help you escape from all that piled up stress, even if just for a short moment. In addition to the bath and sauna services offered at Le Furo, you can also try touji, a Japanese traditional balneotherapy treatment that is well known for its benefits on health and beauty. This spa operates on a member-only system, but they offer full trials too. 

Where: 3-21-3 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku 
Open: Daily, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. (Until 9 p.m. on Sundays and holidays). Closed every first Monday of the month.
Cost: ¥6,912 (Trial, includes use of the entire facility and complimentary mineral cosmetics for home use. Reservations required: 03-3401-3977). ¥25,000 per month for members (anytime use). 

Now take a deep breath, close your pc or phone and just relax — you need it.


For recommended gardens and quick urban escapes in Tokyo, see this and this article.