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The P.E Guide to Japan: On Tour With Pip Edwards
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The P.E Guide to Japan: On Tour With Pip Edwards

Published March 23, 2024


What made you want to take this trip to Japan?

The opportunity presented itself from my dear friend Muz at Falcona – I’m a keen music lover and a huge ski enthusiast so it was combining both passions – and I’ve never ever skied Japan before. Also, the bonus was to be able to support my long time friends Sneaky Sound System as they performed at the festival too. I was excited to go see music in the mountains, and see some friends play.

Have you been before? Share a favorite memory of that time.  

It's been a while since I've been back. I know Tokyo very very well. Back in my Ksubi days I used to travel there 3 to 4 times a year to buy a Japanese designer, Tsumori Chisato, for our Ksubi stores. I also used to visit there regularly for creative trips when I was working at sass & bide.

I used to love shopping Harajuku and going to my favorite little wine bar, Bar Piano in Shibuya - which I actually revisited again, and it was still there, it has the most incredible plum wine. That was really cool, that even after 8-10 years it’s still there, and still owned by the same people.

The food, the clubs, the karaoke, the designer shopping, the vintage shopping, the architecture, the street style, and the energy and vibe and bustle of Tokyo is so, so exciting and electric. To walk the streets is a feast for the eyes.


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What surprised you most about the destination?

That sushi isn’t really their main go-to food which I thought I would find on every corner.

I found the language barrier a bit tricky, and some of the directions and how to get around in terms of transport was difficult. The best thing about Japanese people is they're so kind and they're so helpful, so what you might lack in direction you get tenfold in help.

What is something that Japan does really well?

Japan is very, very good at retail. Their retail spaces and the architecture and level of detail in flagship stores over there is out of this world - Prada, Miu Miu, Comme des Garçons, Balenciaga … they’re all located in Aoyama. The stores and architecture at the Omotesando Hills precinct too. You need to see it to believe it, their attention to detail is crazy.

What do you love most about Japan?

The fashion!!! The Japanese designer fashion, the attention to detail and the styling. So inspirational. So unique. And so layered.


What style cues or trends have you noticed?

Clashing. They’re very good at clashing silhouettes and proportions. They can layer and clash punk trends with hip hop trends with cowboy trends - they’re amazing and unique in that way. It tends to make sense and look natural only in Tokyo, it sets them apart.

What was one of your favorite moments of the trip?

Going to a jazz bar with Sneaky Sound System and watching Connie jam with the musicians. Again, couldn’t speak the language but it didn’t matter. We walked in at 1am in the morning, and someone was on the piano, the drums, the trumpet. They gave Connie a mic and she just freestyled and performed with them and it was seamless - so beautiful and so incredible to watch a dear friend do what she loves and is so incredibly good at. Lost in the moment.

What kind of footwear did you choose for getting around a busy city?  

Trainers, one hundred per cent. I wore my Asics quite a fair bit.


Where do you recommend staying in Tokyo?  

The Bulgari Hotel. It’s on the 40th floor of an ultra-skyscraper in the Yaesu 2-Chome North District of Tokyo. It’s like a labyrinth to get into, it’s dark, it’s minimal, it’s so beautiful. When you arrive, they escort you straight to your room - we didn’t have to check in - it’s that level of service. Everything is done for you, the views are breathtaking, the food, the choose-your-own-pillow - everything is Bulgari standards.

What do you do to maintain or build the level of fitness you need to enjoy hours on piste?

Well leading up to this trip I was doing my usual Pilates which is so good for strength and endurance, but I probably should have done a bit more cardio to prepare for the slopes.

What's something you tried for the first time?

I tried extreme contrast therapy for the first time, so while we were staying in Hakuba for the Snow Machine festival I went from the outdoor onsen hot tub at our hotel, to lying in the snow. I’ve never done that before. It was phenomenal. I’ve done sauna-to-icebath before but this takes it to the extreme - going from super hot onsen, to lying in the snow and it’s 34°F outside. The snow is so cold, your skin feels a stinging sensation, but you hold it for as long as you can, then jump back into the tub. It’s so challenging, but so amazing.


Tell us about Snow Machine - what was the energy like?

Everyone at the resort was there for Snow Machine, so the energy was all on. It was all about the set up and the location, you’re watching all these incredible acts and you’re rugged up in the freezing cold - you’ve got the apres vibe with all this live music happening around you. The main venue is off the mountain, then there are three different mountains with three different acts playing at any one time. Every night you go down to the base of the mountain and it’s set up like a proper festival. The best part… in the Golden District in Tokyo’s Shinjuku, there are six tiny alleyways all jampacked with 200 small bars and each one has space for a handful of customers. So at Snow Machine, they replicated it for the festival, so they had a ‘Golden Gai’ area with little containers, each one housing a DJ and tiny space for people to come and hang and dance. During one of Diplo’s sets I got lost in the Golden Gai and went on a barhopping adventure which was so fun.

Who was you favorite act?

Diplo was amazing, Nina Kraviz was amazing, Sneaky were amazing. All the more intimate sets too, like Reuben (Styles) from Peking Duk.


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24 Hours in Tokyo - The Essentials

Qantas. (from Australia)

The Bulgari Hotel, 2-2-1 Yaesu, Chuo-ku Tokyo 104-0028 Japan.

Go to Golden Gai in Tokyo for the experience.

I’ve got two recommendations:
Bar Piano in Shibuya, which is tucked away and down some stairs and has the best plum wine. The bar itself is an actual upright piano. It’s tiny and so ornately decorated - think old paintings, chandeliers, antique glasses and goblets to sip from.

The Bulgari Bar at the Bulgari Hotel is so fun! We had a lot of friends in Tokyo the first night that we arrived, so in the evening time they all met us at the bar and it was pumping, it was so good. People go to the hotel purely to go to the bar for the experience. Get a Tommy’s, that’s what I always order, and the food too - order the sushi, the truffle chips, the popcorn.


For contemporary pieces go to Omotesando Hills and Aoyama. For vintage go to Harajuku and Shinjuku.

Onibus in Nakameguro (tiny, and outdoor)

Iruca in Roppongi

Gallery Common in Harajuku

Small club

Go to the museums. I went to TeamLAB Planets and it’s phenomenal. Multi-sensory, fully immersive, pure escapism, expansion, inspiration.