Odaiba Illumination “YAKEI” – Feel Celebration Any Time of Year in Odaiba
Tokyo, Yokohama and Kanto
Tokyo is the largest metropolis in the world that boasts the biggest population and great history. Certainly, there are millions of things you can do to spend a nice vacation in the capital of Japan. This city is bursting with chill temples and parks, modern skyscrapers, bizarre cafes, authentic restaurants, and numerous vibrant districts. Either you are a tourist or living in this great city, I hope you will find something that you definitely should try in Tokyo.
To help you not to get lost in the wide choice of activities in the major city of Japan, I summed up the essential “must try” things in this article. Undoubtingly, these points will make your stay in Tokyo unique and unforgettable!
Tokyo gives an impression of a vibrant modern city, which is true indeed. Even though it suffered hundreds of earthquakes through its long history, you will still find plenty of charming historic places along with trendy and busy modern districts. In this chapter, I picked a few places that are inside the city or not far for a half day trip. These sights will provide you with a full and diverse impression of Tokyo.
I think it is proper to start the list with a classic area around Tokyo station. If you like wide clean streets, the classic Western architecture of the beginning of the 20th century, and modern skyscraper background, Marunouchi area and Tokyo station is the place where you should start your journey around Tokyo. I’m sure that you will enjoy your morning coffee at one of the cafes with open terrace close to the station while watching a busy crowd of people rushing to work in their suits.
2. See the Imperial Palace
Tokyo city is built around the royal residence – The Imperial Palace. The palace is surrounded by a moat and boasts a classic Japanese architecture. Unfortunately, you may enter only a small part of the Imperial Palaces’ gardens only a few times in a year. However, the building makes a perfect background for an atmospheric picture you want to capture while you’re in Tokyo. Besides, the poshest and most famous shopping district of the city – Ginza is just around the corner.
3. Follow a Standard Route
For any visitor in Tokyo, it is almost unavoidable to get off at Shibuya station, touch and take a picture with Hachiko statue (the most popular meeting spot in Tokyo), cross the busiest pedestrian scramble in the world, have a coffee in Starbucks in front of the crossing, and make a time-lapse to prove everybody you’ve been there!
4. Stroll Around Asakusa
The oldest temple in Tokyo – Senso-Ji and Asakusa area is the landmark of the capital city. You don’t want to miss a great shot with lavishing red temple and a walk through an always busy Nakamise shopping street full of street food and various souvenirs. Besides, Asakusa is the place that holds many famous Tokyo festivals. Every year you can witness Asagao Market, Hozuki-Ichi Festival, The Sanja Matsuri, Ichiyo Sakura Festival, Torinoichi Fair and other popular events in the precincts of the Senso-Ji temple.
5. Visit Tokyo Skytree
I arrived in Tokyo when they had not started building this outstanding construction. It is the second tallest building in the world after Burj Khalifa and the tallest tower in the world (634.0 meters (2,080 ft)). When it just opened its doors to the tourists, you could have spent more than half a day to enjoy a breathtaking view of Tokyo. Of course, you do not need to wait that much time to get upstairs nowadays. Thus, if you are not afraid of height, two observation decks (350 m (1,150 ft) and 450 m (1,480 ft)) are waiting for you close to the Asakusa area.
6. Take a Water Taxi
The best and most unusual way to get from Asakusa and Skytree area to, for example, Odaiba is to take a speedy water vessel or an amphibious bus. Tokyo is a city of channels, which provides you with a great opportunity to ride a speedy vessel where you can feel yourself like in a spaceship surrounded by neon lights. On the other hand, the amphibious buses run not so often, but allow you to travel both on water and on the ground without standing up. If you are in Tokyo during the cherry blossoming season, you must try this type of transportation, as the scenery that you will see from the water on Tokyo sinking in the pink cherry flowers is stunning. Please check the schedule on the official websites:
Sky Bus Tokyo, URL: https://www.skybus.jp/
Tokyo Cruise, URL: https://www.suijobus.co.jp/en/
7. Get to Odaiba
Another Tokyo’s miracle and a must visit place, is Odaiba island. This artificial island is purely made of garbage. If you don’t come here by water taxi, you can reach it by crossing a picturesque Rainbow bridge on Tokyo Monorail (this line is operated by computer only so that you will notice the absence of the driver or even a driver’s cabin). This island boasts great since museums, huge shopping malls, exhibition halls, a Ferris wheel, and is a usual venue for various shows and exhibitions of a large scale. Don’t forget to take a picture with a Liberty Statue! If you are a little “otaku” and like manga and anime, you should pay a visit to Comiket – one of the biggest subculture events held in Odaiba.
8. Walk Around Nakameguro
Nakameguro is a lovely place in the center of Tokyo. It is full of cozy cafes and bars lining the narrow Meguro river. The cherry trees along the benches create a natural arch over the river. At the end of March – beginning of April this area becomes extremely crowded as a lot of people come to have a drink outside under the blooming trees. However, if you are in Tokyo in September, don’t miss Meguro Sanma Matsuri – a popular annual Pacific Saury festival where you can try this seasonal fish for free!
9. Get on the Top of Tokyo Tower
The Tokyo “Eiffel” Tower which is the is the second-tallest structure in Japan (333 m (1,092 ft)) remained the major landmark of the city before Tokyo Skytree was built. This fact decreased the number of tourists who want to see a breathtaking view of Tokyo. So, now there is almost never a line to get to the observation deck. Nevertheless, the tower is still the most recognized symbol of the city, and it would be a loss not to visit it.
10. See Maneki Neko at Gotokuji Temple
Looking for a calm place where you can take insta-worthy pictures that will tell everyone that you have definitely seen something entirely Japanese. Then, Gotoku-Ji temple is a perfect place. This charming temple may seem usual from the beginning. However, when you see the army of cat figurines next to one of the temple halls, you will feel how your hand starts digging in your pocket to take a phone and capture what you see. The visitors of this temple purchase these figures and return them to the temple when their wishes become true. Thus, these little cats keep on making everyone happy even when their major task is complete.
11. Relax at Meiji Jingu Shrine
On the opposite side from Takeshita street and Harajuku station, next to Yoyogi park, you will see a tall wooden gate and stroll around the precincts of Meiji Jingu Shrine. Even though the territory which enshrines Meiji emperor’s soul is quite popular among tourists, you won’t feel hectic there. The old forest surrounding the shrine creates a tranquil and quiet atmosphere that makes you forget that you are in the middle of Tokyo. There is also a small traditional garden in the precincts of the shrine. You need to pay extra to get into that garden, but it totally worth it if you want to be alone and admire the perfect balance of nature and human’s influence on it at the park.
12. Watch a Small Cartoon at Ghibli Museum
Image courtesy of Sasuke88
The number of fans of Hayao Miyazaki talent never decreases. Thus, the Ghibli museum is always popular. To keep the atmosphere in the museum calm and comfortable for all visitors, the administration does not allow ticket sales at the door. Unfortunately, you can buy tickets only at the vending machines in the convenience stores in advance. And if you do not read Japanese, this might become a small inconvenience. However, if you have a chance, don’t miss an opportunity to feel yourself in the Laputa world!
13. Wander Around Shimokitazawa
Image courtesy of 白石准
Shimokitazawa is becoming more trendy almost every day. You definitely need a few hours to explore the new hipster destination in Tokyo. Isn’t it nice to wander around narrow streets with excellent coffee shops, shisha bars, antique and secondhand stores, and get stuck in the bar with some live music? Here is an article that will bring you more thoughts about what to do in Shimokitazawa, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/4008/
14. Spend an Evening at Kawasaki Factories District
Have you ever wanted to feel yourself in Britain in the middle of a technological revolution? Kawasaki area with its various factories gives me such an impression, especially at night, when all the chimneys and other factory buildings glow in the night. The Kawasaki industrial zone is becoming more popular each year. They even started providing night tours in 2010. If you are hungry for great photo shots and mesmerizing scenery, it will take you not more than 20 minutes to get there from Tokyo station.
15. Visit Yokohama and Rent a Bike
Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan. Practically, you will not notice a border between two cities when traveling from Tokyo to Yokohama station which won’t take you more than 20 – 30 minutes. The best way to explore the major port of Japan with its unique history is to rent a bicycle! Here is the link for the article which can give you some ideas on planning your route, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/7142/
16. Explore Kawagoe
In this small town, which is only 30 minutes away from central Tokyo, you will see an old Japanese street with houses from the Edo period. It is not easy to find a traditional area in Tokyo, but in Kawagoe, you will feel like you’re back in the old days. Feel the measured lifestyle of locals, get traditional souvenirs, and enjoy authentic Japanese cuisine in this cozy small town.
17. Climb the Enoshima Island
Enoshima is a perfect getaway destination on the south side of Tokyo. If you want to feel a bit of a laid-back California surfer vibe, try fresh seafood on the street, see some temples and enjoy abundant nature – Enoshima is the perfect place for doing it. Besides, on a clear day, you will see a perfectly shaped Mt. Fuji from this tiny island. The beach season starts on 1st of July and finishes at the end of August.
18. Take a Day Trip to Kamakura
Kamakura is a tranquil suburban paradise close to the sea where you can get by train only within an hour from Tokyo. It’s bursting with cultural heritage sites and possesses its unique lifestyle. You will notice a totally different atmosphere from Tokyo. Besides, taking a picture with the Great Buddha – the biggest outside Buddha statue in Japan is a must! This town boasts a lot of traditional festivals, and horse archery festival is one of them. It takes place twice a year in spring an in autumn. The following article will give you a brief description of this amazing event, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/3935/
19. Tokyo Festivals
Attending local festivals is an alternative way to know the neighborhood and the city generally. Japanese Festivals are unique and very distinctive. Any festival in Tokyo is a perfect place to take dynamic pictures, trying the delicious street food, socializing with locals, and having fun! It is much more convenient and enjoyable to absorb the information about local culture and traditions from the first hands! I hope you will find a nice festival during your stay in Tokyo! Here is a short list of some major Tokyo festivals throughout the year.
If you have a chance, don’t miss a naked Japanese festival! These outstanding events are common in Japanese culture, but always impress tourists. You can even not just watch, but participate in some of them. However, mainly men can join such festivals, due to religious reasons, it is always fun to watch such energetic celebrations, take pictures, and enjoy your hot drinks from the nearest food stall, as many of these festivals occur in winter. Here are a few naked festivals taking place close to Tokyo.
In this chapter, I will not focus much on some certain museums or exhibitions. Instead, I will suggest to you how and where to spend your time more exclusively, that will bring you nice and picturesque memories of Tokyo. Even though Tokyo is a rushing city, it still provides you with great places and activities to chill.
21. Visit Yanaka District
If you prefer to stay in central Tokyo instead of visiting Kawagoe or Kamakura, but still want to see a traditional district, then visit the Yanaka area close to Nippori station. This is one of the oldest parts of the city that survived all the disasters that happened in the past. The area was a thriving artisan town housing some of the country’s most famous writers and visual artists. And it still possesses the same atmosphere. You will find a shopping street featuring over 60 small shops. There you will see crafts that still being produced in the area: textiles, ink prints, wood carvings, traditional cuisines, stationery, pottery, jewelry, and much more. Besides, the area is full of various art galleries, and you can walk to Ueno park within 10-15 minutes from Yanaka.
22. SCAI the Bathhouse
In Yanaka district you will find an absolutely fabulous art gallery – SCAI the Bathhouse. Formerly a bathhouse (the building is over 200 years old), currently this building hosts works of contemporary Japanese and foreign artists. SCAI the Bathhouse is a perfect example of small Japanese art galleries that often occupy an antique building with minimum decoration inside and outside. Here is an official website of SCAI the Bathhouse, URL: https://www.scaithebathhouse.com/en/
23. Tokyobike Rentals Yanaka
When you are in Tokyo, you might notice that it is a city of bicycles. It is one of the most popular types of transportation in the city. It will be a great experience to explore the city through cruising around it on a bicycle. And one of the Japanese bicycle-making brands is currently becoming popular around the world. Tokyobike makes simple and very trendy bicycles that are perfect for the city. Even I got one for myself.
Moreover, they recently opened their first rental shop in Yanaka district. If you want to feel like a real Tokyoite, ride a Tokyobike through the narrow traditional streets of Yanaka and cruise around Ueno park! That will be an amazing experience. Here is the link to the Yanaka Tokyobike rental shop, don’t forget to make a reservation, URL: https://tokyobikerentals.com/en/home
24. Ueno Park and Zoo
It will be a shame not to visit one of the oldest public parks in Tokyo that features the most famous museums (the Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum for Western Art, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum and the National Science Museum), a great shrine, and perfect chilling facilities. It is also home to Ueno Zoo – Japan’s first zoological garden. If you have children, you might spend a whole day there and still not see all the animals. Besides, the park is one of the best places to see the cherry blossoms in Tokyo in spring.
25. Enjoy Sakura in Tokyo
If you are in Tokyo at the end of Mach – beginning of April, wander around the city and discover “hanami” spots. Become a part of the Japanese “hanami” culture. Find a nice spot under a blooming cherry tree, get yourself a drink or a snack, prepare your camera, and feel the zen. There are tons of events during the cherry blossoming season in Tokyo. The following article suggests you the best “hanami” spots around Tokyo; please take a look, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/1805/
26. Admire Momiji in Tokyo
If you missed the Sakura season, don’t get upset. Tokyo’s autumn foliage is as beautiful as the pink clouds covering the city in spring. Most of the places that feature beautiful sakura trees boast colorful autumn leaves in the fall. The culture of admiring autumn foliage is as popular as the “hanami” culture. Don’t miss an opportunity to take nice pictures and enjoy the autumn vibes if you are in Tokyo around November. Here is an article suggesting the best spots for autumn foliage hunters in Tokyo, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/best-10-momiji-spots-tokyo-2018-enjoy-japanese-fall-city
27. Have a Picnic at Yoyogi Park
Close to Meiji Jingu, close to Harajuku station, you will find one of the most popular and democratic parks in Tokyo – Yoyogi park. It becomes very popular especially in the warm time of the year and hosts various festivals and events each weekend. There is over 10000 trees, a small pond, rose gardens, and a dog area. It is a perfect place to chill out, read a book, meet with friends, and have a picnic. Be sure to drop by when you are in Tokyo.
28. Swim in the Pacific Ocean
If you have some extra time, spend a day at the beach close to Tokyo. It might not look like a tropical resort, as the gray volcanic sand looks a bit muddy, but the infrastructure of most Tokyo beaches is on the top. Besides, almost from any beach, you will see the great scenery of Mt. Fuji if the weather is clear. The most popular beach destinations close to Tokyo are Zushi, Kamakura, Enoshima, Chiba, Izu. If you like surfing, you can entertain yourself at these beaches even in winter.
29. Have Fun at Amusement Parks
Around Tokyo, there are three major amusement parks: Disneyland, DisneySea, and FujiQ Highland. If you prefer less anxious fun at an amusement park, then you need to dive into the wonderful world of Disneyland. Also, this park is better for small children. In DisneySea, the coasters are more serious, there are fewer people than at the Disneyland, and you can consume light alcohol. However, if you would like to experience real consternation and ride on some Guinness Record rollercoasters, FujiQ Highland would be the perfect place. Besides, it is just in front of Mt. Fuji. Thus, you will witness an excellent view right before the coaster’s car drops down. Here are official pages of the parks:
Tokyo Disneyland, URL: https://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/tdl/
Tokyo DisneySea, URL: https://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/tds/
FujiQ Highland, URL: https://www.fujiq.jp/en/
30. Free Metropolitan Observatory
When you found yourself wandering around the skyscraper district in Shinjuku, stop by the Metropolitan Government building towers. South and North towers offer a perfect view of Tokyo from 202 meters for free. The decks are open from 9 am to 11 pm and feature small cafes and souvenir shops. You won’t find many free observation decks in Tokyo unfortunately. So, if you are on a budget, it is a great option to see the view.
31. Spend Time at TeamLab
Image courtesy of rabbit_akra
To diversify your Tokyo experience more, I strongly suggest you visit one of teamLab’s contemporary art exhibitions. In Tokyo (in Odaiba) they have a permanent exhibition. However, new exhibitions pop up everywhere around the country. These digital art exhibitions create something unusual in pretty usual and traditional places, develop your creativity, and spice up your travel experience! Please refer to the official website to know what’s going on right now, URL: https://www.teamlab.art/e/?type=pickup
When you think of shopping in Tokyo, many people imagine posh boutiques or huge department stores in Ginza, Omotesando, Shibuya or Shinjuku. However, those places are widely popular, and I won’t talk much about it in this article. On the other hand, I’d like to introduce you to alternative ways of shopping and show what else the capital of Japan can offer you. I’ll talk about cozy shopping areas, a few unique shops and special events where you can get unique items as souvenirs or something only for yourself.
32. Shopping for Souvenirs
Although you will find souvenir shops everywhere near the tourist spots in Tokyo, I’d suggest you visit a few shops that offer exclusive items that will bring you joy and visual satisfaction for a long time. Here are three shops which I like most.
– Souvenir From Tokyo in the National Art Center is more than a regular souvenir shop. You will find a wide variety of Japanese-style accessories, clothes, crockery, and pieces by feted local designers. URL (Japanese only): https://www.souvenirfromtokyo.jp/
– Koncent will become a perfect shop for those who want to bring something useful with fine design. Even though it possesses itself as a homeware shop, you will find so much extra in there. URL (Japanese only): https://koncent.jp/
– Atelier Gangu is an exceptional shop that offers Japanese folk toys. You will find almost everything from Maneki-neko, traditional masks, wooden toys to kites and papier-mâché animals, all made by local craftsmen. URL: http://ateliergangu.com/en/
– Kukuli Textiles is a shop that sells scarves and handbags made with woven fabric from production regions throughout the nation. You can support local producers and bring great souvenirs. URL (Japanese only): http://kukuli.co.jp/
33. Wander Around Tokyo Flea Markets
The flea markets and antique fairs that pop up here and there in Tokyo provide you with an outstanding opportunity to find almost anything for a reasonable price! It is like a chest with treasures for souvenir hunters, artists, designers, and those who like to bargain! Indeed, you can find almost anything on such events, from second-hand traditional clothes, furniture, porcelain to artworks, books, old electronics, and even organic vegetables. For example, at Nogu Market you will find anything that is necessary for creating and maintaining a traditional Japanese garden. In the following article, you will find 20 most trendy Tokyo flea markets, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/7758/
34. Experience Traditional Festival Markets
During many traditional events and festivals, you will find not only popping food stalls. Some of the booths sell unique items prepared only for a certain event. Thus, you can get a rare item, also for quite a reasonable price. For example, at Asagao Market you will have a chance to get special Japanese plants that they can ship anywhere in the world. And during Torinoichi Fair they sell special lucky charms in the shape of a rake. You can get these limited terms only during these events, but they will surely satisfy your needs in having something special.
35. Roam Around Ameya-Yokochō
This old street market used to sell and keeps on selling almost anything, from fresh veggies and seasonal seafood to sweets, cosmetics, jewelry, and clothes. I especially enjoy coming there before national holidays when there are a lot of people, and all vendors try to sell their goods as loud as possible, of course beating each other’s prices. I like this market even more than Tsukiji as it runs almost any day from 10 am to 7 pm, and there are many more unknown things that you want to discover while strolling around. Here is the link to its official website, URL (Japanese only): http://www.ameyoko.net/map/
36. Textile Paradise – Nippori Textile Town
Even if you are not looking for any textile, or you want to find something special, pay a visit to a traditional textile district in Nippori area and be creative. This is DIY-clothing heaven. This one-kilometer street dates back to the Taisho Period (1912-1926), and hosts about 100 stores, offering everything from straight pins to fat squares. You will see many Japanese “Obasan” running their shops for the whole life, which can become a nice cultural experience as well!
37. Pigment Lab – an Outstanding Establishment
Image courtesy of jafca
Pigment lab is “a laboratory for exploring “expression in color and matiere*” as well as an academy, a museum, and a store combined into a comprehensive facility for creativity” as they describe themselves. Indeed the shop itself looks like a piece of fine contemporary art. Even if you do not buy anything, it is worth stopping by. They have thousands of jars with various color pigments along with different art supplies. You can spend hours digging through the items in the shop. Besides, any picture from the shop will look fabulous on your Instagram. Here is the official site of Pigment lab, URL: https://pigment.tokyo/about/
38. Shop for Original Manga and Anime
If you are not a fan of manga or anime, dropping by a specialized store would be a good experience. At least you can wander around and get souvenirs for your geeky friends. Most of these shops are around Akihabara station (along with, any “otaku“ stores, electronic stores, cosplay stores, and maid cafes). However, I prefer one particular store in Shibuya – Mandarake. You will find almost anything to satisfy your interests in the manga of any genre (including adults only) and anime heroes here. They sell both new and second-hand items. Here is their website, URL: https://earth.mandarake.co.jp/shop/sby/index.html
39. Stroll Around Daikanyama
Daikanyama often referred to as “the Brooklyn of the Japanese capital.” I’d say that this is one of the coziest neighborhoods in Tokyo only 20 minutes by walk from a famous Shibuya crossing. You will find plenty of small design stores, bookshops, cute cafes, hairdressing salons, anything to spend a weekend. Most of the places have a nice design, so you’ll have a nice chance to take great shots!
40. Buy an Ema Board
You will probably stop by at least one shrine while you’re in Tokyo. Then, why not to buy an Ema board. Ema board is little wooden plaque adorned with art and handwriting. It is a Shinto tradition to buy this board, write your wishes, and leave at a designated place at the shrine. Nowadays, Ema boards have all shapes and forms which makes it an original souvenir. If you want to follow a tradition, but still keep the board, just get two of them. The boards are different in various shrines.
41. Takeshita Street – a Scool Girl’s Paradise
If you wonder about the “Kawaii” culture, Takeshita street right in front of Harajuku station is the focal point of Japanese teenage culture. This narrow street features fashion boutiques, trendy shops, second-hand clothes shops, and various eateries. All of them are targeting Japanese teenagers. Thus, many Japanese fashion trends originate here. Takeshita street becomes extremely crowdy on weekends, but that doesn’t stop thousands of tourists and locals to stroll around and get something “Kawaii”😊.
42. Buy Something at Vending Machines
Your shopping experience won’t be complete if you don’t buy something from the vending machine in Japan. Tokyo is a city of vending machines. You can find them on every corner, at the stations, in parking, at various restaurants. There would be a few vending machines before you reach the closest convenience store. Mostly they sell soft drinks, hot or cold, depending on the season. However, you can see ones selling alcohol, cigarettes, toys, lucky charms at shrines, food tickets at the restaurants, and much more.
Tokyo is the capital in many ways. Regarding excellent food, I would put it in the first place for sure. Tokyo boasts the 234 restaurants that have one Michelin star or greater. I guess it’s the highest density in the world. Only in Tokyo, there are more than 160000 restaurants. You can find something to eat at any time and at any price. Thus, I would like to share a few things and places where you should try Japanese food during your stay in Tokyo.
43. Have a Breakfast at Yakumo Saryo
If you would like to experience an authentic Japanese breakfast, you must try one in Yakumo Saryo restaurant. The building of the restaurant is a getaway place from Tokyo’s stressful everyday life. The atmosphere of the restaurant is an essential part of the dining, and the hosts made everything possible for you to enjoy your time in the restaurant. The place is not cheap, but totally worth its money if you’d like to experience something extra during your Tokyo cuisine tour. Here is the link to their website, URL: http://yakumosaryo.jp/e/
44. Experience a Tea Ceremony
“Sadou” or “Chadou” – a Japanese tea ceremony is a traditional cultural activity, that helps people to enjoy tea and socialize. It is a very beautiful process indeed. At many ceremonies, you will taste Matcha – a powdered Japanese green tea. The host usually prepares it in a special tea bowl with a bamboo whisk. Today, in Tokyo many places provide a tea ceremony service. Here are some of the most popular ones:
Yanesen Tourist Information & Culture Center, URL: http://www.ti-yanesen.jp/en/same-day-reservations/tea-ceremony-sado01.html
Kyoto-kan, URL: http://www.kyotokan.jp/en
New Otani Seiseian, URL: https://www.newotani.co.jp/en/tokyo/facility/
Chazen, URL: http://www.chazen-us.com/
Also, in most of the traditional Japanese gardens, they have tea houses. There is a great chance that they offer a tea ceremony there as well.
45. Try Harajuku Crepes
While you’re walking around Harajuku area, you will notice many windows that display rubber crepes with numerous fillings. They look real! It will be an omission if you don’t try one of those fantastic cone-shaped desserts. You can assemble your type of crepe. The choice of the fillings is almost unlimited! You can go traditional by adding some matcha ice cream and sweet beans or add vanilla cheesecake, fruits, and cream.
46. Grab Some Street Food Nakamise Street
When you are in Tokyo, especially around Asakusa, you will see many food stalls selling Takoyaki, Corn Dogs, Yakisoba, Grilled Seafood and more on Nakamise street close to Senso-Ji. You simply must try some of those delicacies. On Nakamise street those stalls are permanent. However, the street food will taste exceptionally delicious when you try it during a festival as the atmosphere influences the taste. Check out the most popular festival and street food in this article, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5504/
47. Grab Your Craft Beer
The most popular alcoholic beverage in Japan is beer. Since the foamy drink was widely introduced to Japan in the 19th century, its popularity never decreased. Except for well-known brands, like Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo or Ebisu, a lot of small cart beer breweries pop up here and there in Tokyo lately. Trying delicious local beer will become a nice accent to your journey. Here are a few places to try a high-quality craft beer in Tokyo:
Yanaka Beer Hall, URL (Japanese only): https://www.herofield.com/bbq/yanakabeerhall/
Craft Beer Bar Ibrew, URL: https://www.facebook.com/CraftBeerBarIbrew
Y.Y.G. Brewery & Beer Kitchen, URL: http://www.yygbrewery.com/en/
Craft Beer Market, URL (Japanese only): http://www.craftbeermarket.jp/
Also, if you’d like to know more about “Beer Garden” culture in Japan and look for some new places, this article will be helpful, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/7142/
48. Eat Tuna
Did you know that almost 80% of the world catch of bluefin tuna goes to the Japanese market? The tuna eating culture here has a very long history and tuna specializing restaurants are everywhere around Tokyo. You will be surprised at how many ways this magnificent fish can be prepared! Of course, the most obvious place where you can try fresh tuna sashimi is at Tsukiji market. However, here is a short list of exceptionally tasty tuna restaurants I’ve been to in Tokyo (I suggest you make a reservation before you arrive):
Maguro Mart – a typical Japanese Izakaya specializing in tuna only, URL: https://www.facebook.com/maguromart003
Saru – not only tuna is on the menu, but you must try their tuna cheeks and tail grilled on the apple charcoals, URL: http://saru-yoyogiuehara.jp/
Maguro Restaurant Miuraya – tuna and veggies – simple and delicious, URL: http://www.maguro-miuraya.com/en/
49. Pay a Visit to Kawaii Monster Café
The concept of Kawaii Monster Café is focusing on Tokyo (Harajuku especially) as a Monster that absorbs all the new trends. This café is bursting with flashy colors, trippy design, and bizarre food. I can’t say that the food is somehow on the top level, but everybody goes there for the bizarre feeling and outstanding pictures. I am sure that this place will stay in your head for a very long time! Here is the link to the official website, URL: http://kawaiimonster.jp/
Also, you can read more about Kawaii Monster Café here, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/kawaii-monster-cafe-another-harajuku-story
50. Slurp Ramen
Slurping is normal when you eat noodles in Japan, don’t be confused. Even though ramen originally came from China, Japanese made it taste like the food of Gods. I could have eaten ramen every day! There are three major soup bases: shoyu – soy sauce, shio – salt, and tonkotsu – pork base. The rest ingredients make each ramen shop unique. Try these fantastic noodles while you are in Tokyo and bring some back with you, because I am sure you will love it! The price for a potion usually never exceeds 1000 Yen, even at Michelin Starred shops. Here are a few recommendations:
Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta (Sugamo area) – The World’s First Michelin Starred Ramen, URL: https://www.facebook.com/jsn.tsuta
Nakiryu (Minami-Otsuka area) – One more Michelin Starred Ramen, URL (Japanese only): http://www12.plala.or.jp/nakiryu/
Muteppo Tokyo (Nakano area) – very rich and unique tonkotsu ramen, URL (Japanese only): http://www.muteppou.com/
Ramen Nagi (Shinjuku Golden Gai area) – In the heart of the bar district. Exceptionally tasty fishy flavor, URL (Japanese only): http://www.n-nagi.com/
Garyu (Sangenjaya area) – Delicious and light noodles with some chicken meat, URL (Japanese only): http://www.ramen21.jp/photo/garyu_p.html
51. Let the Wagyu Melt on Your Tounge
Wagyu – a famous Japanese beef that contains so much fat that the meat almost “melts” when you put it in your mouth. Not the cheapest option for dinner, but it would become a discovery if you never tried it before. They prepare it in various ways: barbeque on the net, sukiyaki style, teppanyaki, burgers and many more. Here are a few famous places to try it:
Kobe Beef Kaiseki 511 (Roppongi area), URL: http://www.a511.tokyo/en/
Yakiniku Han no Daidokoro (Shibuya area), URL (Japanese only): https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1303/A130301/13024474/
Kobe Beef Teppanyaki Hakushu (Shibuya area), URL: https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1303/A130301/13054097/
Rokkasen (Shinjuku area), URL: http://www.rokkasen.co.jp/en/
Sukiyaki Imahan (Asakusa area), URL: https://www.imahan.com/sp/inbound/e/category_sukiyaki.html
Charcoal Cuisine Kobe Beef Ikuta (Shinjuku area), URL (Japanese only): https://www.oztable.net/ikuta
52. Try Poisonus Fugu Fish
Only chefs who obtain a special license can prepare this dangerous fish and make it safe to consume. Delicate blowfish meat is a true delicacy. The number of chefs who have the license is small. Thus, not many restaurants even in Tokyo can boast fugu dishes. Like with any other fish, you can enjoy it as sashimi, deep fried, or in a hot pot. If you are brave enough to experiment, here are a few restaurants that serve this extraordinary fish:
Fukuji (Ginza area), URL: http://www.fukuji.jp/
Yamagata (Yoyogi Uehara area), URL (Japanese only): http://kappou-yamagata.com/
Sawa Ichi (Roppongi area), URL (Japanese only): http://sawaichi.jp/
Takase (Yoyogi area), URL (Japanese only) http://takase-yoyogi.com/
Yamadaya (Hiroo area), three Michelin Stars restaurant, URL (Japanese only): http://www.usukifugu-yamadaya.jp/
53. Taste Whale Meat
Only in two countries in the world, you can legally eat whale meat, in Japan and in Iceland. If you are not from Iceland and would like to experience the unique taste of whale meat, Tokyo offers you a few places to do so. For Japanese and for Icelanders, whale catch is an important part of the culture. In Yamaguchi Prefecture, there is a whole festival dedicated to whale catch – Kayoi Whale Festival (Thus, whale tasting may become a special experience that brings you closer to this culture. Only a few places offer whale cuisine in Tokyo, here are some of them:
Kujiraya (Shibuya area) – last original whale meat restaurant in Tokyo, URL (Japanese only): http://www.kujiraya.co.jp/
Geinanhonbo (Ueno area) – a restaurant and a shop specializing in whale meat at Ameya-Yokochō, URL (Japanese only): https://www.e-kujira.or.jp/
Taru Ichi (Shinjuku area) – a typical Japanese Izakaya focusing on whale meat, URL (Japanese only): http://www.sinjyuku-taruichi.co.jp/
54. Simply Eat Sushi
You can’t ignore sushi when you are in Tokyo. The city spoils you for choice as is the birthplace of sushi as we know it. Having sushi in Tokyo is an essential and almost transcendent experience. You can visit a high-end restaurant or grab your raw fish on rice in a regular kaiten-zushi, but you will never lose. The capital of Japan is the ideal place to try this traditional dish. Tsukiji market is probably the most famous spot to try the freshest fish in the city, but you will find thousands of sushi restaurants around this metropolis. Here are a few suggestions:
Sushi Aoki (Nishi Azabu area), URL: http://www.sushiaoki.jp/en/index.html
Sushi Kanesaka (Ginza area), URL: http://www.sushi-kanesaka.com/
Sushi Masuda (Minami Aoyama area), URL (Japanese only): http://sushimasuda.jp/
Sushi Dai (Tsukiji area), URL (Japanese only): http://www.tsukijigourmet.or.jp/22_sushidai/index.htm#02
Ganso Zushi (Chainstore), URL (Japanese only): http://www.gansozushi.com/
55. Matcha Everything
At any restaurant in Tokyo, you will find something made of Matcha – a Japanese powdered green tea. Recently matcha used as an ingredient in many popular dishes and gives them a unique taste along with the green color. You can try matcha noodles, matcha gnocchi, matcha waffles, and pancakes. Also matcha chocolate, ice cream, and cookies will make a great dessert. Put matcha latte on the top, and feel the authentic taste of Japan.
56. Experience Sake Tasting
Japanese sake is an alcoholic beverage that Japanese people are proud of. Its variety and taste notes are uncountable. It will be a miss if you do not try a real Japanese sake while you’re in Tokyo. If you are in the city around April, I strongly recommend you visit a Craft Sake Week at Roppongi Hills. At other times many sake bars will offer you a great variety of this holy drink from all parts of Japan. Here are a few recommendations:
Nihonshu Stand Moto (Shinjuku area), URL: https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1304/A130401/13111891/
Shu Shu (Kanda area), URL (Japanese only): http://kanda-shushu.com/
Kuri (Shinbashi area), URL (Japanese only): http://www7a.biglobe.ne.jp/~kurisake/
Aka Oni (Sangenjaya area), URL (Japanese only): http://www.akaoni39.com/
Hasegawa Saketen (Marunouchi area), URL: https://www.hasegawasaketen.com/index_en.html
57. Grab Yakitori at Omoide Yokocho (Piss Alley)
Next to a big Uniqlo store close to Shinjuku station West exit, you will find a tiny street with many lanterns filled with tiny narrow eateries. Mostly, they make yakitori – traditional skewers. The architecture of this alley didn’t change after the war which creates a cozy atmosphere. Besides, it is a paradise for those who would like to try various parts of meat or seafood. The intimate atmosphere inside these tiny eateries allows you to talk with locals freely over a cup of nice sake or beer.
58. All You Can Eat Hot Pot
When you are really hungry, all you can eat hot pot restaurants around Tokyo allow you to have pretty reasonable and healthy dinner. Depending on the meat quality, you will pay from 1500 to 5000 Yen per two hours corse for one person. Don’t miss a chance trying Japanese hot pot especially when its cold outside and this dish becomes even more popular among locals. Here are a few recommendations:
Nabezo (Chainstore), URL: http://nabe-zo.com/lan_en/restaurant_search_en/
Mo-Mo Paradise (Chainstoe/Shinjuku area), URL: http://www.mo-mo-paradise.com/
Onyasai (Chainstore), URL (Japanese only): http://www.onyasai.com/
Tokyo absorbed all crazy activities which you can experience in Japan. Of course, many of them you can try only in the capital. To make your adventure in Tokyo even more special, I summed up various crazy (and no so) activities that you should try while you are in the city. Experiencing at least a quarter of it would definitely make your trip memorable and create nice stories to share with friends and family!
59. Dive in the World of Virtual Reality
VR Game centers pop up around Tokyo more often in the last two years. If you have never tried it before, do it in Tokyo. This outstanding experience is still something new to most of the people. So, why not to become one of the pioneers? The prices and systems vary depending on the game center. The admission fee may start from 800 Yen to 3000 Yen. Here are a few famous VR game centers in Tokyo:
VR Park Tokyo (Shibuya area), URL: https://www.adores.jp/vrpark/en/
VR Zone Shinjuku (Shinjuku area), URL: https://vrzone-pic.com/shinjuku/en/
Zero Latency VR in Tokyo Joypolis (Odaiba area), URL: http://tokyo-joypolis.com/language/english/attraction/1st/zerolatency/index.html
Konica Minolta VirtuaLink in DiverCity Tokyo Plaza (Odaiba area), URL (Japanese only): https://planetarium.konicaminolta.jp/VirtuaLink/DiverCityTokyoPlaza/
Sky Circus Sunshine 60 (Ikebukuro area), URL: http://www.skycircus.jp/english/
60. See Tsukiji Fish Market Auction
If you want to see this amazing process, you should hurry in all senses. First, they allow only a limited amount of people to see the auction early morning and do not make reservations. Thus, you must get up really early to get to the market and line up (around 3 am). Second, the market will move from its original historical place close to Ginza to Toyosu close to Odaiba. It should happen in October 2018, but they have moved the date a few times already, so no one actually can predict the certain timing. Here is the address of the information center of Tsukiji Market: 5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0045, Japan. 3:30 am – 6:00 am (Closed on Sundays and some Wednesdays)
61. Make Visual Memories at Purikura
Image courtesy of Jirka Matousek
Purikura is a photo booth machine with a variety of functions. You must have seen those crazy pictures with lots of colorful frames and stickers. It is a popular pastime among Japanese teenagers, and you can find purikura almost in every game center in Tokyo. Modern booths allow you to take pictures and print it on a usual paper, make it a sticker, or send it on your phone. Some game centers rent out costumes and wigs. The usual price is 200-400 Yen.
62. Sing in Karaoke Booth
A truly Japanese experience is singing in one of the numerous karaoke booths. There are thousands of karaoke centers in Tokyo. These bars offer a space where you alone or with friends can spend a relaxing time over a drink and sing your favorite songs. Of course, in such tough competition, each karaoke chain tries to surprise their customers and offers additional services like renting musical instruments, costumes, offering nice food, etc. Your Tokyo experience would be incomplete without visiting one of the karaoke bars.
63. Have Fun in a Gay District
Next to Kabukicho in Shinjuku, you will find another bar hopping destination, and it is not Golden Gai. Locals simply call it “Nichome” which means a block number (block number 2). It is an area with over 400 gay-friendly bars and clubs. Even though the area is open-minded, it stays pretty traditional. Thus, among many drinking and small karaoke bars, you will notice traditional Japanese restaurants that are open till the morning and plenty of shot bars. In Nichome, you will find nice food and drinks, a unique atmosphere, open conversation, and maybe even a romantic encounter.
64. Go Clubbing in Roppongi or Shibuya
The city where over 34 million people live obviously has a great night scene. It is one of Asia’s top nightclubbing destinations. World’s biggest DJs are performing in Tokyo on a weekly basis. If you feel like dancing tonight, you will have a great choice of nightclubs especially in Shibuya and Roppongi areas. Whether you’re after techno, K-Pop, rock or a nightclub with a twist, there are places for any music style lover in Tokyo. Such famous places as Showbox, Ageha, Harlem, ALIFE, 1 OAK Tokyo, WOMB are waiting for you almost every night.
65. Dine Out at Robot Restaurant
This is another recent crazy Tokyo experience. Unfortunately, you will not be served by robots here. However, you will see an intense show where cute Japanese girls are fighting with cyborgs, mechanized spiders, and robo-sharks. The evening spent in this extraordinary place will satisfy your needs in neon lights and Japanese “weirdness.” Recently they do not include a bento set to the ticket price. However, you can do it by adding 1000 Yen. Here is the link for an official website, URL: http://www.shinjuku-robot.com/pc/
66. Experience Bar Hopping in Shinjuku Golden Gai
Golden Gai bar district used to be one of Tokyo’s hidden gems. But in the last ten years, it became so popular among tourists that you cant call it hidden anymore. However, it is still a gem as the place didn’t lose its tranquil and traditional atmosphere. A tiny area with a few narrow streets features over 200 hundred small and cozy bars. Many of the bars have a cover charge (you will notice a sign at the door), but to the other places, you can enter freely. The owners are very friendly and always ready to talk with the customers.
67. Wander Around Kabukicho
Image courtesy of
Between the Robot Restaurant and Golden Gai, you will witness Tokyo’s historical red-light district – Kabukicho. The entertainment district will amaze you with bright lights, bars, restaurants, love hotels, and pachinko parlors as well as touts and hustlers. Unless you are serious and know what to expect, don’t follow anyone who tries to get you in a bar. Your wallet will become much much lighter after such a visit. For safety reasons, I suggest you stick with usual bars and keep on walking around to enjoy the nightlife in Tokyo.
68. Feel as Bill Murray at the New York BarImage courtesy of Jun Seita
Have you ever wanted to have your Suntory whiskey on the top floor of a skyscraper in a scenic bar listening to live jazz performance and enjoying an epic night view? That is what Bill Murray did in “Lost in Translation.” The New York Bar, where some of the scenes of this movie were shot, is open every night. You can have this unforgettable experience if you get on the top floor of the Park Hyatt hotel in Shinjuku. Here is the link to the official website, URL: https://restaurants.tokyo.park.hyatt.co.jp/en/nyb.html
69. Learn Everything About Malts in Tokyo Whisky Library
Image courtesy of Tak H.
Visiting a whiskey bar might seem not a Japanese experience, but it is totally Tokyo one. People from the capital enjoy drinking whiskey in a chill atmosphere with the dimmed light. Tokyo Whisky Library in Aoyama is a perfect place for a long drink that boasts a variety of over 1200 different distilled spirits from around the world. Unlike some other whiskey bars in Tokyo, this place is created for those who want to learn more about the overwhelming variety of fine malts. You will notice a friendly attitude of the staff and feel comfortable for sure. Here is the link for the official website, URL: http://tokyo-whisky-library.com/
70. Experience a Ninja Tour
Shinjuku Kabukicho provides you with another crazy experience – Ninja Trick House. If you wanted to feel like a Ninja, at this fine establishment you will have a chance to dress up like an ancient warrior, throw shurikens, take up a Japanese sword, learn more about Ninjas and Samurais, and make nice pictures of course. This place is good for everyone – a group of friends or a family with children. Take a look at their official website for reservations, URL: http://ninja-trick-house.com/
71. Dine Out in Maid CafeImage courtesy of BreakdownDiode
Akihabara is an “Electric city of Tokyo.” Except for various electric, anime, and manga shops, where you can spend hours, there are various cosplay shops and maid cafes. If you would like to experience an extraordinary service of girls dressed as maids, taste some cute food, and join those fun activities they offer. Usually, the prices start from 2000 Yen. Here are a few cafes in Akihabara:
Pinafore (Akihabara area), URL: https://pinafore.jp/en/
Mia Café (Akihabara area), URL: http://www.mia-cafe.com/
@home café (Akihabara area), URL: http://www.cafe-athome.com/en/
72. Take a Walk at Nakano Broadway
Nakano Broadway is a shopping complex in Nakano area featuring many stores that sell manga and anime goods. Quite often, you will find items that are not sold anymore, and this complex is a paradise for collectors and those who want to find unique items. This place is perfect if you want to know more about Japanese otaku culture or shop for rare souvenirs. Despite Akihabara, at Nakano Broadway, you will see all your favorite goods concentrated in one place! Here is the link to the official website, URL: http://www.nbw.jp/#!/en
73. Go to Onsen
Image courtesy of Kentaro Ohno
Tokyo also features several very nice onsens (hot springs). If you want to experience a traditional Japanese hot spring, I’d suggest you visit Oedo onsen in Odaiba or Edoyu in Ryogoku area. Oedo onsen boasts a beautiful open-air bath, with hundreds of attractions and activities.
On the other hand, Edoyu is more modern and popular with locals. Besides, Ryogoku is a traditional place for sumo wrestlers. Thus there is a chance that you will meet the athletes there as well.
Oedo onsen (Odaiba area), URL: http://daiba.ooedoonsen.jp/en/
Edoyu onsen (Ryogoku area), URL (Japanese only): http://www.edoyu.com/ryougoku/index.html
74. Watch a Real Sumo Competition at Ryoguku Kokugikan
Image courtesy of Travis
Another crazy but authentic experience will be visiting a real sumo match in the Ryogoku area. Kokugikan – a current major sumo stadium in Japan features many sumo tournaments throughout a year. However, these tournaments are a matter of season, and I suggest you check the schedule and book your tickets in advance. Usually, you buy a ticket for the whole day, come to the stadium with your food and drinks and enjoy. You can come and leave at any time. Here is an English website where you can see the schedule and book tickets, URL: http://www.sumo.or.jp/En/
Also, if you are in Tokyo around June, don’t miss an outstanding festival featuring a real sumo competition – The Sasagawa Sumo Festival
75. See the Traditional Kabuki Theater Performance
Kabukiza in Ginza is the biggest and most famous Kabuki theater in Tokyo. The art of Kabuki appeared about 400 years ago to educate and entertain people. Current topics come from popular stories and resemble soap operas in many cases. However, attending one of the performances gives you a great chance to see traditional costumes and enjoy old Japanese music. So if you are lost in Ginza on one of those rainy days, just stop by the theater and watch one of the performances. Here is a link to the official website, where you can see what’s going on and book the tickets, URL: https://www.kabukiweb.net/
76. Spend a Night at the Capsule Hotel
Image courtesy of Trueshow111
This recent crazy experience becomes very popular among tourists and locals. If you missed your train, or want to know how is it to sleep in a capsule, almost all central districts of Tokyo offer you a wide variety of capsule hotels. It might be the best solution for the budget traveler and definitely an unforgettable experience. Most capsules are large enough for one person to sleep comfortably, and are equipped with an alarm clock and wifi. Some have extra service as adjustable beds and fine art pieces on walls. Here are a few of my recommendations:
The Millenials (Shibuya area), URL: https://the-millennials-shibuya-shibuya-ku-jp.book.direct/en-gb
Tokyo Ginza Bay Hotel (Ginza area), URL: https://ninehours.co.jp/en/shinjuku-north/
Khaosan Tokyo Samurai Capsule (Asakusa area), URL: https://samurai.khaosan-tokyo.com/en-gb
Book and Bed Tokyo Ikebukuro (Ikebukuro area), URL: http://bookandbedtokyo.com/en/tokyo/index.html
First Cabin Tsukiji (Tsukiji area), URL: https://first-cabin.jp/en/hotels/12
77. Choose Your Cutie to Hang Out With
Image courtesy of Abujoy
You might have heard that animal cafes are becoming a big trend in Japan now. The industry develops fast, and now you have a variety of cafes that specialize in particular animals for you to hang out while you have your coffee. These cafes are very convenient for those who cannot have pets but still want to play with small cute friends. Choose between cats, owls, rabbits, or hedgehogs, at any choice you will spend an unforgettable time! Here are a few popular cafes with animals in Tokyo):
MoCHA (Cats, Shibuya area), URL: http://catmocha.jp/
Owl Village (Owls, Harajuku area), URL: http://owlvillage.jp/english/harajuku/
Ra.a.g.f (Rabbits, Harajuku area), URL (Japanese only): http://raagf.com/
HARRY (Hedgehogs, Roppongi area), URL: http://www.harinezumi-cafe.com/en/
78. Stay Over at a Love Hotel
Image courtesy of RynseOut
The names of these hotels suggest you activities to experience inside. Love hotels are all over the city and country, but the biggest areas in Tokyo for these hotels are Uguisudani near Ueno, the Dogenzaka “Love Hotel Hill” area of Shibuya, Shinjuku’s Kabukicho, and Ikebukuro area. Flashy designs of the rooms and the exterior of love hotels fill you with various fantasies and prepare you for a lovely night. Here are some recommendations: Hotel Adore, Hotel Emperor, Hotel Casa Nova, Hotel Ring My Bell, Casablanca Ikebukuro, Hotel Zebra, Ramses Club, XO Shinjuku, Hotel Ring My Bell, etc. Most of these hotels have no website, but you can easily book them at booking websites or at the door.
79. Try Your Luck at Pachinko SlotsImage courtesy of MichaelMaggs
Pachinko Game Centers are everywhere around Japan. But Tokyo boats the biggest and the noisiest ones. Pachinko gambling halls are the main social phenomenon of contemporary Japan. Their noisy and smoky atmosphere along with the feeling of excitement will recharge you after dinner and let you understand how many Japanese spend their free time. Pachinko is a hybrid between a slot machine and pinball. The goal is to win as many metallic balls as possible. Then, you can exchange them to different prizes like soft toys, drinks, cigarettes, etc.
80. Find Out Your Fortune from Omikuji
When you wander around Japanese shrines and temples, you will notice a place where people hang small paper strips with a random fortune written on it. In many places, they sell these strips for a reasonable price (100-200 Yen), and it can be in English too. Sometimes they even have vending machines for Omikuji. If you got bad luck, you should leave your strip at a designated place in the temple, and if you are lucky, you can either hang it at the temple to empower the effect or keep it as a lucky charm.
81. Dress Traditionally
Tokyo remains a huge city where people still wear traditional cloth on a daily basis. You might be surprised to see a lot of people wearing yukatas (light version of kimono) somewhere in the subway during rush hour. A lot of small ateliers offer a kimono rental service throughout the year. However, in summer, it would be a great idea to purchase an inexpensive yukata and attend some festival. Then you can keep it as a souvenir, wear it at home, or on some special occasions. Besides, traditional Japanese clothes will make you look stunning in the pictures.
82. Run a Marathon
Can’t imagine your life without running. Tokyo and neighboring prefectures boast popular marathons, and you can attend it as well. As for the Tokyo marathon, it is more challenging and expensive to reserve a place there. Here is the official website, URL: https://www.marathon.tokyo/en/. However, If you’d like to ride a bicycle and don’t mind a smaller scale competition, the one in Chiba is also nice. Please refer to the following article for more details on “Tour de Chiba.”
83. Cook Washoku
Washoku (Japanese Cuisine) has recently received a status of World’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. Would you like to know a few recipes of truly Japanese cuisine? Only cooking classes can provide you with basic Japanese cooking skills and tricks. It would be an outstanding experience to spend a couple of hours with a Japanese chef who will show you how to cook in a Japanese style properly. They will tell you all the secrets that you need to know, and when you follow it at home, be sure that your friends will be surprised by your cooking skills upgrade! Here are a few places to take a cooking class:
Japanese Cooking & Culture School Salon de Hifumi-an (Shinjuku area), URL: https://en.hifumi-an.com/
Cooking with Mari (Yurakucho area), URL: http://www.japanese-cooking-class-tokyo-mari.com/
Chagohan Tokyo (Asakusa area), URL: https://www.chagohan.tokyo/
84. Attend a Sushi Making Workshop
If you only want to learn and witness how to make sushi, Tokyo won’t disappoint you with the choice of sushi-making workshops. Find out how to prepare perfect rice for sushi, choose a proper fish, and secret tricks of mamos chefs at a 2 hours workshop. There are not many people at these workshops so that you can interact freely with the chef and other participants. Here are a couple of places that offer sushi-making workshops:
Tokyo Sushi Academy (various locations in Tokyo), URL: http://sushimaking.tokyo/
Air Kitchen (various locations in Tokyo), URL: https://airkitchen.jp/list/tokyo/sushi.php
85. Experience Shamisen Grooves
Shamisen is a traditional Japanese three-stringed musical instrument derived from the Chinese instrument – sanxian. When you want to experience authentic Japanese dining, the sounds of this instrument will make your food taste even better. Many Okinawa cuisine restaurants in Tokyo offer live syamisen nights. However, there is no fixed schedule for syamisen nights at most of the places. Following two Japanese izakayas offer syamisen lives on a daily basis:
Kikko (Asakusa area), URL: http://www.waentei-kikko.com/index_e.html
Oiwake (Asakusa area), URL: http://www.oiwake.info/
86. Craft Yourself a Candy
Experience one of Japan’s traditional crafts. Amezaiku is the art of making tiny candy sculptures. At Ameshin Hanakawado Studio you can know how and try making your candy with small scissors, imagination, and your hands. Usually, people create figures of animals, but it is all up to your imagination. The workshop costs 3000 Yen per person and booking is essential. Please refer to the official website for reservations and additional information, URL: http://www.ame-shin.com/en/
87. Drive Like Super Mario
Image courtesy of MIKI Yoshihito
Another crazy Tokyo experience would be driving through the city in a small Mario kart dressed as a famous character. It is exciting, and a must-have experience when you visit Tokyo indeed. This service allows you not only to rent a kart but also adjust a live camera and rent costumes for your ride. You can rent a go-kart for 1, 2, or 3 hours, between 10 am and 8 pm. Don’t forget to bring your international driving license and passport to the venue! Here is the official website, URL: https://maricar.com/en/akihabara.html
88. Arrange Flowers at Ikebana Workshop
Ikebana is an old Japanese tradition of flower arrangement that dates back to the 6th century. There are thousands of Ikebana schools around the world that follow various styles. However, if you are not a professional in Ikebana and striving to know more about this fine art, I recommend you attend a workshop. Ikebana generally revolves around the basic principles of minimalism, asymmetry, balance, and harmony. Here are a few places to experience this workshop:
Atelier Soka’s (various locations in Tokyo), URL: http://www.atelier-soka.com/english/howtolearn.html
Ohara School (Aoyama area), URL: http://www.ohararyu.or.jp/english/lesson.html
Masashi Kaki Design (Ueno Area), URL: https://www.masashi-kaki-design.com/book-online/japanese-style-flower-lesson
89. Find your Zen in Tokyo
Are you planning to find your Zen in Tokyo? Several temples in the city offer brain-strengthening and stress-busting classes. Usually, these sessions do not take more than an hour and the time varies depending on the temple. Here are a few recommendations:
Kouunji Temple (Setagaya area), URL: http://kouunjizazenkai.web.fc2.com/engindex.htm
Rinsenji Temple (Kohinata area), URL (Japanese only): http://rinsenji.net/
Korin-in (Hiroo area), URL (Japanese only): http://kourin-in.com/
90. Take a Rickshaw
Feel yourself like a privileged Japanise citizen in the Edo period and look at the city from a different perspective from Rickshaw. Rickshaw is a man-powered two-wheeled car, recently used to entertain tourists around major sightseeing spots in Tokyo. Usually, in the Asakusa area or Kamakura, you will notice Japanese young men in tiny shorts wearing straw hats and offering you a ride. Of course, they will take a picture of you during your ride. And you will look astonishing if you wear a yukata as well. The service is made for tourists, so the price bites a bit. Usually, it costs about 400o Yen per one person for 10-15 min, and 5000 Yen for two people. The longer you take it for, the more attractive the price you get.
91. Cut your Hair for 1000 Yen at a Convenience Barber Shop
If you do not want to spend much time in a hair salon, don’t need a rinse, steamed towelettes, head massage, and shoulder-chop (which are usual services in the Japanese hair salon), then a convenience barber shop is a right choice for you. The most popular convenience hair salon chain in Japan is QB House. They will cut your hair within 10 minutes. They even have a special timer in all of their shops indicating how much time is left. You can find these shops around all major stations in Japan including Tokyo, of course.
92. Hike in Tokyo
There are not only buildings and parks in Tokyo. Especially in the Western part, you will find a lot of mountains that allow you to have a one-day hiking trip. Only an hour away from central Tokyo you will feel surrounded by nature. Mt. Takao and Tama river district boast breathtaking natural scenery. I’d suggest you go hiking there in spring or autumn when it is not too hot. Besides, during these seasons you will have a chance to admire beautiful cherry trees in bloom and fiery-red maple leaves. It’s a great destination to escape from the noisy city.
93. See Tokyo from Above
If the observation decks in Tokyo are not enough for you, then, a private helicopter tour will make your day and leave an unforgettable memory! There are plenty of companies providing this service nowadays. This kind of experience will become a great present to celebrate any occasion. Besides, you will become one of those people who can boast that they had an exhilarating flight and saw the city with an eye of a bird.
94. Visit Remote Tokyo Islands
Tokyo features not only tall buildings with millions of people. Approximately a 40 – 50 minutes flight from Chofu airport will take you to a remote, tranquil paradise of Ogasawara archipelago. Crystal clear waters, untouched nature, and hospitality of local people living on these volcanic islands make it a perfect getaway destination. Alternatively, you can reach Ogasawara islands by a ferry that takes 24 hours and operates only once a week. If you have a couple of days that you want to spend in a subtropical paradise still being In Tokyo, I strongly recommend you visit Ogasawara islands – Japan’s version of the Galapagos Islands.
95. Explore the City by Solving Puzzles Around Tokyo Metro
Have you heard of “The Underground Mysteries” in Tokyo metro? It is a quest where you need to solve puzzles at and around various lines and stations of Tokyo metro. This is an intriguing game and a great way to explore the city. The fact that you won’t know your next destination until you solve a puzzle makes your adventure more challenging and unpredictable! To start playing you need to get a starter kit that costs 2200 Yen and includes a 24hours pass for all lines of the Tokyo metro. You can purchase the kit at Ueno, Shinjuku, Tokyo, and Kita Senju stations. In 2018 the game will take place from 1st of October to 31st of January. Here is a link for the official website, URL: http://realdgame.jp/chikanazo/5/en/index.html
96. Meet Hello Kitty
Image courtesy of
Coming to Tokyo and not meeting one of the most famous Japanese characters would be a shame. Only 30 minutes away from Shinjuku, you will find a Hello Kitty city, where all your favorite characters wait to entertain you. If you are a fan of Hello Kitty, or your children want to spend a day in an amusement park, Sanrio Puroland will become a good alternative to overcrowded Disneyland of FujiQ Highland. Here is the official website of this place, URL: https://en.puroland.jp/
97. Meet the Works of One of the Most Famous Japanese Modern Artists
Yayoi Kusama – is a Japanese Pop Art Queen. Famous for her polka dots and pumpkin statues she also collaborated with a few world-famous fashion brands recently and finally opened a museum in Shinjuku at the end of 2017. The museum is open only from Thursdays to Sundays and National holidays. There are only four time slots for 90 minutes a day between 11:00 to 17:00. You must purchase the tickets only on advance through their official website. The museum seems to be very popular, so I suggest you plan your trip there beforehand. Here is the link, URL: https://yayoikusamamuseum.jp/
98. Taste Senbei in the Oldest Rice Cracker Shop in Asakusa
Senbei or Japanese rice crackers is an old traditional treat that Japanese people love since childhood. Many of them would prefer rice crackers to potato chips. You will definitely have an exciting experience trying this traditional treat at “Iriyama Senbei” – the oldest rice cracker shop in Tokyo. They serve the crackers for over 100 years. First, they dry the dough on the sun for three days, grill the senbei with charcoal, and generously season it with thick soy sauce. You will easily find this outstanding shop on the Sushi street in Asakusa not only by its look but by the alluring aroma. Here is the address: 1 Chome-13-４ Asakusa, Taitō-ku, Tokyo.
99. Go Fruit-picking
Fruit-picking is not what may come to your mind when you first think of Tokyo. However, the city features numerous farms that produce various fruits and berries throughout all the year. From December to May you can enjoy picking strawberries which are delicious in Japan. June is time for cherries. From June to September there are many opportunities to pick peaches. And in autumn, from September to November its time for chestnuts. Apples come up in October and November. Here are a few farms you should pay a visit:
Mizuta-en in Higashimurayama City (Higashi Muroyama area), URL (Japanese only): http://kazyu-mizutaen.server-shared.com/
Berry Cottage in Ome City, URL (Japanese only): http://www.berry-cottage.com/
Strawberry House (Ebina area), URL: http://strawberryhouse-ebina.com/picking/
100. Gamble at a Horserace
You might not be a professional at horseracing, but you will have fun betting and drinking beer at Fuchu Racecourse. This Japanese version of spending a nice afternoon does not require fancy hats and Grasshopper cocktails, everything is much more simple. The complex is huge, and it costs only 200 Yen to get in. You can use automatic betting machines, bring your snacks and drinks, and even enjoy with children as there is a large activity area for kids. Wouldn’t it be an exceptional experience while you’re in Tokyo? Here is the link for an official website, URL: http://japanracing.jp/en/
Hope this article brought you some ideas of how you can spend your time in the biggest city in the world. It is impossible to mention every single activity here, but at least it becomes clear that you can find almost anything in Tokyo. Whether you want to see famous sightseeing spots, attend traditional festivals, cruise around bars, eat delicious food, or go for some crazy activities, Tokyo will never let you down!
If you’d like to diversify your trip, ask a local for advice in planning, or go together through some sightseeing spots, Huber guides are here to help. Don’t hesitate to click on the banner below and to ask any questions about your future trip to Japan!
Kyoto is an old capital of Japan and a cultural and historical mecca for everyone who visits this country. It is the most popular city among tourists and a must-see destination indeed. Kyoto boasts over 4000 historical places including shrines, temples, and attracts visitors with its charming atmosphere of an ancient city. This city is great for shopping, bicycling, hiking, museums, galleries, green spaces, and features many famous festivals. In the following article, you will find 100 things and many ideas on how to spend your time in Kyoto! Please, have a look! URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/100-things-kyoto-sightseeing-spots-traditional-japanese-events
Being the third largest city in the country, Osaka is one of the major gateways of Japan. Even if it is not the main place of your destination, it would be a great idea to stay in this great city for a few days. Whether you want to go sightseeing, shopping, eating out, or trying something special that you can experience only in Japan, Osaka has it all and even something extra. In the following article, you will find 100 things to do in Osaka and many ideas on how to spend your time in the city!
A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel a bit lost. They confuse about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!
If you look at Tokyo from another angle, you will figure out that this is a city of festivals. Each part of the town has a local community with its traditions. And for Japanese people, it is essential to keep a sense of their community. Thus, you can see plenty of festivals almost every week in different parts of Tokyo. The following article will provide you with the best Tokyo festivals each month of the year!
Japan is a country of festivals indeed. Matsuri is an essential part of traditional Japanese culture. Thus, every day somewhere in Japan a festival takes place. There are traditional and modern festivals, on the sea and on the ground, in summer and winter. Japanese are hardworking people. However, when you attend at least one festival in Japan, you will understand how locals like to party. The article under the link below will introduce you to a celebration on any day of the year. I am sure you will find an event that suits your interests utmost!
Image courtesy of Tomomarusan
The food presented during Matsuri is pretty different from the one you get at the restaurants in Japan. Besides, there is a certain charm in grabbing some snack from a food stall and diving back into the festival crowd. I am sure that you will discover something new about Japanese festival food from the following article!
Tokyo, Yokohama and Kanto
Tokyo, Yokohama and Kanto
Tokyo, Yokohama and Kanto