10 Best Things To Do In Tokyo
First of all, we just came from an amazing trip to Tokyo and even though the title of the article is “10 best things to do in Tokyo” I could go on and on to write 100. (Maybe I will , who knows).
For sure we have thousands of pictures to go along. 🙂
So lets get into the actual trip which I want to pepper with tips and tricks that may help you along. Those little details made the world to us.
We flew from Prague to Rome (around 1.5 h) and then Rome to Tokyo Narita Airport (12 hours) so we reached the destination at around 10:30 AM after a night in the sky 🙂
There are some security checks/on the spot visa (for 3 months) and that was it. Next was getting as soon as possible the WiFi portable router.
(Tip: In Japan you will need every single day this kind of device that has a local LTE connection to internet so you can take it with you in the pocket and use it for as long as you rented it. We took from these guys http://en.wifi-rental-store.jp/ and it worked pretty well. It is rented by the way so on the way back you need to put it in an envelope and give it back in the airport.)
After we had the router we had to go to Tokyo (Shinjuku Station) where our hotel was. There are multiple ways to get to center Tokyo but we choose the NEx train.
This is a picture of the actual train station and the moving stairs up are leading to the airport departure terminal. As you can see… no English… yet 🙂
The trip takes about one hour and a half but is very comfortable so you can stare outside to rice paddies until the city emerges.
The city is really amazing and it surpassed my expectations at every corner. After you successfully arrived in Tokyo at hotel or host family get some rest because what awaits you is going to need all your strength 🙂
(TIP: Take good comfortable shoes. We did in average 20Km by foot every day 🙂 )
Ah before I start get some metro line tickets for 3 days so you don’t have to care. It is time consuming to buy for each trip ticket.
Asakusa is basically a district in Tokyo (tourist destination !!! so lots of people around). It has a famous buddhist temple called Sensō-ji and a shopping market that has everything under the sun.
Of course except shopping you will see plenty of geisha and schoolkids buying Sencha tea with ice.
This is also a great place to buy souvenirs (we actually went here second time just for that at the end of our trip).
As you can see, lots of people so you will spend at least one hour exploring the tiny shops that lead to the temple.
2. Ueno Zoo
It was totally not planned to end up in Zoo but we were walking in Ueno Park and suddenly we saw panda advertisement and we had to see it.
I like it that you can see all the animals that live in that Zoo, compared to other places where the exposure is so bad you barely see a giraffe 🙂
Ah by the way they have suspended trains 😀 and giraffes and penguins and Madagascar creatures like lemurs and much much more.
What goes without saying is that everything is extremely clean and arranged. You have instructions for everything also in English and not just in Zoo but everywhere in the city.
Being a foreigner is actually not so hard as long as you follow the rules and pay attention to what other people are doing.
3. Tokyo Tower.
Oh boy oh boy. It is so exciting to speak about this landmark. Tokyo Tower is basically on every chocolate, souvenir item you can find in Tokyo.
It is red (with white), it has 333 meters and it is used as communication and observation. We couldn’t go to the top because they had some reparations or at least it was not available at that time but we went with the elevator to the second floor. This gave us a super beautiful view of the City plus there are some windows looking down (on which you can step.. I think 🙂 and you can look down. A little scary but worth’s it 🙂
On the way down after you finished taking pictures there is a souvenir shop and restaurant waiting for you where you can try some udon soup (like Ramen but bigger nuddles 🙂
4. Edo Museum
Did you know that Tokyo was called before Edo ? I didn’t. So there is this museum that takes you basically through the history of Japan and in particular Edo period.
They have a reconstruction of the bridge and small miniature houses which don’t exist anymore due to war or time.
Also we took the second exposition of the Sakamoto Ryoma, Japan’s most famous samurai. Only problem was that they didn’t have english language audio guides in this second exposition.
5. Shibuya Pedestrian Crossing
This densely populated zone is one of the most famous images you see on internet when you google Tokyo. Basically every few minutes the semaphore lights go green and people from all directions cross to the other side or just take pictures of the hundreds of people (if not thousands) . Needless to say that Shibuya is one of the biggest shopping districts in Tokyo with Omotesando Hill where all the big brands have shop.
(Tip: If you have time go to the Cat Street. It is a snake shaped street with small shops and cool dressed people.)
I did my 31st Birthday there. It is known as the Anime/Manga world with hundreds of shops selling cartoon figures, Playstation games, plastic characters and much much more.
It is really kind of hard to describe it because it is so alive and so fun but imagine a Disneyland just with manga theme. Of course there are the neverending pachinko (mechanical games originated in Japan) but I am not so into that because they are pretty loud and addictive.
7. Hotel New Otani Garden Tokyo
It is maybe not so known touristic destination but if you want to see something very beautiful head to the Hotel New Otani (build for the Olympic Games in the past).
Also to get to the garden you have to go through the back of the hotel but once you reach it , WOW.
Every single bush is perfect, the pond, the fishes, the atmosphere it is truly amazing.
This is private property so try to keep it as beautiful as you found it.
8. Tokyo Disneyland
Whether you like cartoons or not, go here. It is so much fun that you will spend all day and by the end you will want more.
Specifically the StarTrips or StarTravel (don’t remember exactly the name) is the StarWars themed ride with a 5D experience.
Rollercoasters, trains, boats, Mickey Mouse icecreams… everything you want can be found here plus some extra restaurants where you can try things like “Hungry Bear”.
The cost for one adult is 7500 Japanese Yen /day
Odaiba is a big artificial island in Tokyo. It has small version of Liberty Status, Tokyo Television and a mall that has in front a huge Gundam Robot.
You can for sure go to the beach and swim (there are no people really in the water), or you can drink something on a teras.
10. Roppongi Hills Mori Tower
If you like skyscrapers go to Roppongi (in Minato) and get on the 54th floor of the Mori Tower. It is so high when you take the elevator up the ears feel like in plane 🙂
Once you are up you will feel on top of the world.
When we were this time it was a Marvel Gallery on top that displayed the beginnings of Marvel as a comic book company till present with movies and so on.
Tokyo is an absolutely amazing place and for sure I will write much more about it in the future.
General tips in Tokyo
- There are no garbage bins on the street so if you have something to throw you have to take it with you until hotel or the place you live
- If you don’t know something, ask!!!
- Be polite to people (this is maybe self explanatory but in Japan it is one of the most important things)
- Buy Metro daily tickets or 3 day tickets
- If you have tattoos try to hide them 🙂 (Japanese don’t like for some reason people with ink so they may now allow you to enter certain places)
- Say “Arigato” a lot 🙂
- Avoid at all costs rush-hours in metro (unless you like being squeezed to death by commuters
- In summer check this amazing blog post about uv protection filters and creams
I love Tokyo and I love the people in this city. It has so many hidden gems (outside the touristic places) and I recommend to anyone to actually get some money, travel there and let the world around them impress them. Explore and be curious , speak to people if you can and wake up early in the day to see how the city awakens.
Shinkansen bullet trains can take you to unforgettable places outside Tokyo (Mount Fuji for example) so for around 10000 Yen you can take a Railpass and explore different cities close or who knows go to Kyoto or Osaka.
In the future articles I will speak about Tokyo from the culinary point of view and we’ll tell you what to eat and where.
So until next time I say “Sayonara”