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Esther Anderson's Tokyo

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Tokyo, Japan

Esther Anderson’s Tokyo

After 10 trips to Japan, Home and Away star Esther Anderson has certainly made Tokyo her home away from home…

‘Most of my jobs were in the city but for location work we got to travel to the beaches and places further out,’ says the actress, who immersed herself in the country’s passions of cherry blossoms and baseball I had an awesome time!’ Esther says of spending the best part of six years working as a model in Tokyo. ‘I loved it and got to see so much of the city. I was comfortable instantly, but it is a whirlwind – it’s like being on another planet, but in a good way.’

The Home and Away actress suggests getting about like a local, which is an experience in itself. ‘I was living in Nishi Azabu and I miss riding my bike around!’

says Esther. ‘It’s a great way to see the city – they have lots of bike paths and you can hire bikes. The subway system is also easy to use – with that many million people using it, it’s slick. There’s another world underground – whole shopping districts where you’ll find the best bargains. That’s where you can get lost…’

Fashion and food

‘The Japanese may be conservative, but the young people are into some wild hairdos and out ts,’ she says. ‘The fashion is so eclectic, there’s a real art to making it look good!’ And the shopping? ‘If you’re on a budget, even window shopping is satisfying,’ explains Esther. ‘The shopfronts are huge – the Prada building (right) is amazing – and the architecture is really modern, powerful.’

Boutiques Bulgari, Dior and Chanel have their own cafe and restaurants where you can re-fuel and celeb spot, and Armani Ristorante is one of the latest designer dining experiences in Ginza Tower. But Esther recommends traditional Japanese: ‘The food is amazing, and while a lot of places don’t look great from the outside – with the plastic display dishes in the window – the food is fantastic. They also have the best Indian food in Tokyo,’ she says. ‘Strange but true!’

Where the stars come out

‘Tokyo has the best nightlife in the world!’ says Esther. ‘A lot of famous Westerners go to Roppongi, the mixed district where east meets west. I went to Lexington Queen and met Gwen Stefani! It’s a well known, touristy area with a huge strip of bars, clubs and restaurants, where visiting celebrities go. I met Leonardo DiCaprio, racing car driver Dario Franchetti and Eric Clapton there!’

The music scene is rocking, ‘Tokyo Dome is another spot to see great acts,’ says Esther. ‘We saw Bon Jovi there and then had dinner with them, which was fun.’ Karaoke is huge and, ‘I couldn’t believe how much I got into it,’ says Esther. ‘The Japanese are so adorable to watch!’

Art and culture

‘Living there has shown me there’s so much more than the neon lights and shopping,’ Esther explains. ‘I was lucky I had time to appreciate it all. But even if it’s a quick trip, there are always art exhibitions on. Check out some of the photography – Tokyo locals are really into artistic expression.’

Another must is Yoyogi Park. ‘During autumn, spring and summer everyone ends up there,’ Esther says. ‘It’s a massive park with traditional temples, grassy areas, street performers, dancers, food stalls and artists selling their work.’ She adds, ‘If you’ve got time, we went out of town a bit to Eto, which is famous for the Onsen baths. They’re amazing – it’s pretty cheap and you get your own outdoor bath looking out on nature. Bliss!’

Secrets of the Orient

After living in Tokyo for years, Esther knows all the best places to do some serious celeb-spotting!

Have a tea ceremony

Reese Witherspoon took part in a tea ceremony on a recent visit for Avon. Larger hotels like Hotel Okura offer it.

Shop like Paris

The celeb fave is Samantha Thavasa, where Paris Hilton headed on her last visit. ‘The shopping is great,’ she says.

Head to Harajuku

The district is full of the crazy fashion Gwen Stefani adores. She even named her fashion line Harajuku Lovers!

Head to the mall

Shop in some of the world’s biggest, most over-the-top stores. Mariah Carey visited VenusFort on her recent visit.

Written by Wendy Winkler

This travel story appeared in issue 113 of OK!


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