Recently opened in the heart of one of the world’s most vibrant districts, Ginza 815 is a top-class dining establishment specializing in sushi and champagne. The so-called “sushi-cham” eatery is a dream partnership between the renowned food and wine distributor Arcane Ltd. and the Michelin-starred restaurant Ginza Iwa. It’s not all about sushi and champagne, though. The one set menu available – that does change depending on seasons and markets – includes a number of delectable dishes and drinks that can be enjoyed while watching the chef work his magic behind the counter. Average Price: Dinner ¥10,000 Address: 6-3-12 Ginza, Chuo-ku Website: http://www.stillfoods.com/815/ Tel: 03-4330-4469

A lounge dining bar, R2 first opened its doors in November 2011 to great fanfare. It quickly became known as one of Tokyo’s hottest night spots, with its high standard of drinks, food, service, and tunes spun by high caliber DJs. Average Price: ¥6,000 Address: 7-14-23 Roppongi, Minato-ku Website: http://www.r2sc.jp/    Tel: 03-6447-0002

You’ve most likely visited Gonpachi’s Roppongi branch, otherwise known as the “Kill Bill restaurant.” But did you know that the brand has 11 other branches? The latest opened on January 16, 2017 in Asakusa, and offers all the innovative dishes that keep Gonpachi customers coming back for more, along with an excellent view of the neighborhood’s bright red Azuma bridge. Average Price: Lunch ¥2,500 Dinner ¥6,000 Address: 2-1-15 Kaminarimon, Taito-ku Website: http://www.gonpachi.jp/asakusa/ Tel: 03-5830-3791

Blacows is an Ebisu based burger restaurant that uses carefully selected ingredients and collaborates with famous bakery Maison Kayser. Average Price: Lunch ¥2,000 Dinner ¥3,000 Address: 2-11-9 Ebisunishi, Shibuya-ku Website: www.kuroge-wagyu.com/bc/ Tel: 03-3477-2914

Welcome to steakhouse heaven. Whether you’re looking for a succulent ribeye or a hefty tomahawk, Ruby Jack’s uses the best meats from the US, Australia and Japan. If you’re in the mood for a splurge, go for their 50-day dry aged premium Japanese beef. Start things off with a tempting array of appetizers and an expertly blended cocktail, and savor your meal with a bottle drawn from their wide-ranging wine list. Their weekend brunches are perfect for families, and they serve a special Christmas course in December. Average Price: Lunch ¥3,000 Dinner ¥12,000 Address: 1-4-5 Roppongi, Minato-ku Website: http://rubyjacks.jp/en/ Tel: 03-5544-8222

Thanks to its distinct four seasons and its abundant natural resources, Japan has developed a food culture that is recognized for the healthiness of its ingredients, its balance of unique flavors, and its sheer variety. Restaurant Byakko strives to pass on traditional Japanese food culture to the next generation, preserving its exquisite taste and beauty in a wide range of delicious, satisfying meals. Average Price: Lunch ¥3,000 Dinner ¥12,000 Address: 3-5-14 Kudanminami, Chiyoda-ku Website: www.byakko.link/index.html    Tel: 03-3261-5872

Welcome to steakhouse heaven. Whether you’re looking for a succulent ribeye or a hefty tomahawk, Ruby Jack’s uses the best meats from the US, Australia and Japan. If you’re in the mood…

Still on the hunt for that perfect present? Here’s our roundup of 23 unique gifts for him, her, teens, and tots. Let the shopping begin… FOR HIM For Boys Who Like Toys…

Mario, Yoshi, and Princess Peach zoom by, going about 60 kilometers an hour. They dodge obstacles and each other, occasionally screeching to a halt, and frequently waving to the crowd of spectators. Sound like a familiar video game? Try again. This is real life Mario Kart, a fantasy you can live out in the streets of busy Tokyo. By Tamatha Roman MariCar is the largest of the companies in Tokyo that specialize in public go-karting, and is located about a 3-minute walk from Keikyu Kita-Shinagawa station or a 15-minute walk from JR Shinagawa station. Founded in June of last year, the company now books about 1000 go-kart spots per month, with 90% of the clientele being foreigners. According to the the staff, MariCar stands out against the competition due to its “Hi-Spec” karts, range of costumes to chose from, as well as other rental options. [adrotate banner="243"] I recently had the chance to make my childhood Tokyo Mario Kart dreams come true on a cold March afternoon. Along with 19 fellow foreigners, we showed up at MariCar ready for the ultimate show down. First things first: we signed a waiver and showed them the proper identification. In order to partake, you need to have a Japanese driver’s license, an international driver’s permit, or a SOFA license (US Armed Forces). Next up: we picked our costume. They have a rack of outfits and accessories to choose from, ranging from your classic Tokyo Mario Kart characters to a few off-the-wall selections (Batman anyone?) In addition, helmets, face masks, and gloves are available for those who feel inclined. I found my inner princess in Princess Peach, crown and all, and skipped outside for our race tutorial. Every button and lever was carefully explained in English, and soon I found myself at the seat of my own little red kart, eager to get on the road. MariCar employees donned costumes themselves and led the pack through their Tokyo Mario Kart experience on one of their three designated courses. We had chosen Course A which included Tokyo Tower, Roppongi, and Shibuya. The pack drove together, generally in two lines, and made sure to stop after traffic lights to make sure everyone was caught up. “Racing” itself was conceivable but everyone was required to follow traffic laws: 60 kilometers per hour was the max and seriously crashing into your friends, Mario Kart style, means a traffic accident. And a fine. A gentle tap won’t summon the police but try to be careful regardless of your intentions. Laws aside, zipping through Tokyo alongside the general traffic was one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done. My favorite part was going through Shibuya Scramble, also known as the busiest intersection in the world. The paparazzi, (aka every normal pedestrian around), was at their finest as we zoomed through in glory. Thousands of pictures were taken, high fives were given through passenger windows, and I laughed with glee as I passed my rival, Princess Peach #2, for the 12th time. After the final vroom into home base, I then understood why MariCar gets a lot of repeat visitors. “Once is never enough,” the staff proclaims. Yes, the need for speed is quite addicting. (You can see our adventures below.) A few tips: Pick a costume that is weather appropriate. Wearing a frilly princess dress in mid-winter may win audience approval, but won’t protect you against the arctic blasts. Pick a car with an AV cord so you can plug your tunes in. Though the music won’t drown out the roar of your kart’s engine, nothing beats stopping at a red light and jamming to your own soundtrack. If you have a GoPro and something to attach it to, bring it, or rent one from the shop. Pictures can be a bit tricky to take when you’re trying to safely steer with two hands. Have fun and happy karting! According to the recent suit that Nintendo won against MariCar, the company is no longer allowed to use Mario Kart-themed costumes, but you can check out their site for course maps, prices, and directions: www.maricar.com. BOOK A GO-KART TOUR GET UP TO 37% OFF "MARICAR" GO-KART TOURS IN JAPAN For an extra 5% off use our coupon code TOKYOWEEKENDER during check-out. [/su_column][/su_row]