I expected jewellery shops or precious metals for sale on “Platinum Dori”, but what I found was even more exciting: a tree-lined avenue with cafes, boutiques, spas, chocolate shops. And very cool buildings.
Most of these buildings on/around this street are new, even if they look old.
Shirokane is my favourite part of Tokyo and as the name means “white gold” it is very appropriate that Gaien Nishi Dori, the most famous street, is known as Purachina Dori (Platinum Street) to the locals.
I see why words such as “gold” and “platinum” are used when talking about Shirokane , which has been one of the most upmarket residencial neighbourhoods in Japan for the last 100 years or so. Shirokane is the home of some of Tokyo’s finest resturants, private gardens and a former imperial residence. It’s one of the few places in modern Tokyo with well-preserved old building (and new ones that are made to look old) The residents are sometimes called “Shiroganese” (as in Milanese) and they are generally a trendy bunch, some of them quite well-to-do.
None of the shops on/near Platinum Street sell what most people would call necessities – but for some of us hat feathers, handmade chocolates, linen water, organic dog treats and antique French novels are a part of daily life. Who needs milk, bread and toilet paper?
My favourite chocolatier in Tokyo is Chocolatier Erica. It’s a chocolatier and cafe which sells fresh chocolate and this chocolate slab like a rocky road but it has walnuts, marshmallow and fudge in it – outstanding.
Stellato is the most obvious restaurant on the street; it looks like they took a house from Southern France and dropped it in Tokyo. The restaurant is quite nice: dramatic interiors and chic presentation. Course menus are ¥6,000 and upwards. The wine list is extensive and reasonable.It’s standard “posh western cuisine” as seen in many places in Tokyo: fish, beef with sorbet intermezzo – and then fancy cakes. I love the rooftop, be sure to book in advance.
Cha Cha is a very cute and modern Japanese bar and cafe. It has nice snacks and dinner and drinks are very cheap.It has long tables (some of the seating is just a cushion on the floor)so it’s a great place to take a group of friends… if you book. The “party room” holds 6 people.
The place for haute cuisine in Shirokane is Chez Tomo, which is between Platinum Dori and Meiji Dori and has made its way into the Tokyo Michelin guide… how many Michelin Star places have dinner for ¥6,000? Certainly not Quintessence, which is close by in the Barbizon Building and with its rare 3-star Michelin rating, it is (on paper) of the best restaurants in the world. Although the dinner at Quintessence is about ¥18,000 – 25,000 before drinks, their lunch set is only ¥7,000. You won’t stroll Quintessence, rather stagger out for fresh air: It’s a full gastronomic course with more than 10 courses. That’s a lot of work.
For those who don’t want to spend crazy money there’s the Blue Point Cafe next to Stellato and a great Chinese restaurant also near stellato. I can’t read the name (“Shirokane-something”… I still don’t read Japanese very well) so below is a picture Lunch is less about ¥1000 and it’s a good size.
Happo-en is large private Japanese garden with a shrine, tea house, European restaurant and a Japanese restaurant inside. I’ve never eaten at the restaurant here but I went to D and E’s wedding here a few months ago. It was exquisite – and they host 1000s of weddings every year. Happo-en means “garden which is beautiful from every angle.” I don’t think there is a more appropriate name for it. I think the garden is quite an old one and some of the statues and pagodas are hundreds of years old (the have plaques in English and Japanese) It’s so tranquil at quiet at Happo-en that it makes it hard to believe you’re in the middle of Tokyo.
Then there are the shops. Millions of tiny, cool shops and they sell small, exclusive wares. That’s all you need to know about them: wants, yes. Needs, no. They are all nice but nothing outstanding except for the Adam et Ropé Biotop shop which is just so very, very special and all shops should be just like this one: it’s another unusual building that sells beautiful plants, organic products, candles and natural cosmetics on the ground floor, clothes upstairs and has a treehouse cafe on the top – very cool. The candles in this shop are divine. I love the Santa Maria Novvella hair products. Have you ever raved about an air freshener to your friends? You will when you try the Kuumba International incense and home fragrances.
The Olive Spa shop is a spa chain that offers massages and hot stone therapy but they also sell nice candles, hair ornaments, homewares and other useful things. I think it’s quite easy to get an appointment for a massage or a spa – they are staffed till 5.00AM.
For the most beautiful body products, find the Jurlique shop, it’s down a little side street. Go find it.