Reading this post gives me a hint that somehow you are interested to visit or maybe has already booked a flight to Tokyo. If you are like me whose bucket list includes stepping foot in the land of the Rising Sun, then you’ve arrived at the right page. Continue scrolling because listed below are some of the best things to do in Tokyo to maximize your Tokyo experience.
Real-life Temple Run
Tokyo, though a vast metropolis of skyscrapers, still keeps a number of heritage sites and temples and shrines that showcases the country’s history and belief system. One of the most popular shrines includes the Meiji Shrine that’s easily accessible from Harajuku Station. Also not to miss is Tokyo’s oldest temple, the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa.
Stay Calm and Green
The hustle and bustle of Tokyo can be overwhelming but Tokyo’s urban planning, though may appear to be modern, has interwoven nature with progress. Walk leisurely along Yoyogi Park or the Imperial Palace East Gardens. Rikugien Garden, meanwhile, combines traditional Tokyo garden with an old-school lifestyle such as having a cup of hot tea in traditional tea houses in the area.
One favorite activity among locals and tourists alike is hanami picnic during cherry blossoms season. During this time, families and friends gather in parks of hanami viewing sites while chowing on some bento meals or hanami-inspired dishes while occasionally being showered with blooms of cherry blossoms. Famous hanami spots in Tokyo include Ueno Park, Shinjuku Gyoen, and the banks of the Meguro River.
Shop ‘til you drop
Live a one-day millionaire life and strut along Tokyo’s affluent shopping district and home to the poshest brands in Ginza and Shibuya. Those fond of cooking may find a loving haven at Kappabashi-dori. For artisan crafts, head on to Kuramae. For those who love fashion and youthful kawaii vibe, Harajuku is the place to be. Electronic junkies can find heaven in Akihabara while book lovers unite in Jimbocho.
Live a Sumo Life
Ever wondered how its like to be a sumo wrestler. In Ryogoku, Tokyo, not only will you have a close encounter with real-life sumo wrestlers, but you can also see them train in sumo stables within the area. But if its action that you want, grab some tickets and catch some action at Ryogoku Kokugikan. Major tournaments are usually held every January, May, and September. Meanwhile, if you are curious about what fuels each sumo wrestler, one can try a hefty serving of chanko nabe or a hearty stew which consists of meat and vegetables, to provide sufficient protein and nutrients to diners.
Live your fantasies and visit themed restaurants
Feel like a master and be served by maids in maid cafes in Akihabara. For women, feel ladylike being served with care and class at butler cafes. Those who are more adventurous can explore other themed restaurants such as Kawaii Monster Cafe in Harajuku, Ninja Akasaka, Alcatraz ER in Shibuya, Alice in Wonderland-inspired restaurants, cartoon character, and anime-inspired cafes. Also popular in Tokyo are animal-themed cafes like owl cafes and cat cafes wherein customers can freely interact with animals.
Mingle and get stuffed at yokochos
Yokochos are alleyways tucked either stone throw away from train stations or beside business districts where salary men and ladies frequent for a drink and dinner at izakayas and pubs. Pubs and restos in yokochos are relatively small, literally, patrons are rubbing elbows with fellow customers. Top yokochos in mind include Ebisu Yokocho in Ebisu, Omoide Yokocho or Piss Alley and Golden Gai in Shinjuku, and Harmonica Yokocho in Kichijoji. Stuff yourself with grilled delights perfectly paired with sake or craft beers. Want a better way to do yokocho-hopping? Join izakaya and yokocho tours like ones offered by Tokyo by Food.
Don’t just eat, learn how to make it
Japan’s culinary scene is a hodgepodge of flavors and cooking techniques. While eating each meal in its authentic form is already a feat on its own, learning how to prepare it is even more challenging and fulfilling. Make your Tokyo adventure more interesting and memorable by joining cooking classes. Tokyo by Food offers a wide array of short-term culinary classes to better help tourists appreciate Japan’s gastronomic delights.
The list of things to do and explore in Tokyo is indeed endless. There are a lot of resources online (this blog included) to help you plan your Tokyo itinerary to suit your preferences. With a little research, one can truly enjoy Tokyo in the perfect way you wish it to be. ‘Til our next foodventure.
Aleli is a wanderlust whose main itinerary is to culture soak in the places that she sets foot on, sinking her teeth in the gustatory offerings that the place has to offer and knowing the story behind it. Food for her is a marriage of the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the rich history of every city she explores and uses the pen as her tool to share to the world each unique experience she unravels.