Tokyo, Japan is an undeniably wonderful place to visit. No matter how much time you spend there, an underlying desire to learn more about this great city along with its fascinating culture will no doubt ensue. From its pristine parklands, sensational shopping, fabulous fashion, charming cuisine and heavenly hospitality, Tokyo is like nowhere else on the planet.
Here’s just a few suggestions you may wish to build into your busy Tokyo itinerary.
Things to do in Tokyo:
1. Take a Tour
If it’s your first time in Tokyo, consider a guided morning tour of the city. A 3.5-hour organised excursion will take you on a popular tourist trail where you’ll enjoy spectacular views from the top of Tokyo Tower, a stroll around the stunning Imperial Palace Plaza, plus a trip to Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa, with some souvenir shopping thrown in. Not only will you tick off some great Tokyo tourist hotspots in one morning, but you’ll also have the rest of the day to spend as you please. Now that’s Japanese efficiency!
2. Tokyo Parklands
Take a relaxing stroll through Tokyo’s plethora of picturesque parklands. Nestled between the great skyscrapers and sprawling metropolis are beautifully enchanting open spaces, offering the perfect opportunity to embrace a slower pace in the heart of the bustling city. Choose from the majestic moat surrounded outer gardens of The Imperial Palace, and the French, Japanese and British inspired, perfectly manicured gardens of Shinjuku Goen. Although these lush, green spaces are captivating at any time of year, the best and most popular time to visit is during the infamous Japanese Cherry Blossom season which falls at the start of Spring, around the beginning of April each year. See also ScrubySnacks’ A Walk in the Park blog here.
3. Fresh Fish Feast
Positioned close to Ginza and right next to the great Sumida-gawa River, the infamous and always busy Tsukiji Market handles and auctions off the largest quantities of fish in the whole of Japan. It also happens to be the best place to sample some of the highest quality sushi and sashimi in town. With so many great fish restaurants to choose from, try and get there before 10am to join the queue. Although the wait-times can be up to an hour or even more, when you finally score a seat before a talented sushi master, you’ll understand why. Watch on as he skilfully slices and dices your choice of sweet, succulent seafood, before delivering your platter of pleasure directly to you. Now that’s fresh.
4. Shop ‘Til You Drop
A trip to Tokyo wouldn’t be complete without a healthy dose of retail therapy. Tokyo really is a shopper’s paradise with everything from stylish clothing and accessories to quirky electrical goods and gadgets on offer. ScrubySnacks tip? Opt for an expandable suitcase! For more info on where to start your Tokyo shopping adventure, check out the Tokyo Shopping Tips post here.
5. Trip to Mount Fuji
Take an organised 1-day tour of Mount Fuji and Hakone. Not only will you view the iconic and majestic Mount Fuji in all her glory from the 5th Station, but you’ll also enjoy a ride on the Komagatake Ropeway and cruise along Lake Ashi. To top it all off, the tour includes a high-speed ride on the Shinkansen (bullet train) back to Tokyo, which is a particularly exciting experience in itself.
6. Grab Some Grub at Gonpachi
Most famously known as the ‘Kill Bill’ restaurant, although the wood-adorned establishment in Nishi-Azabu didn’t actually feature in Quentin Tarantino’s cult movie, it was indeed his inspiration which makes it just as exciting. Impressive to the eye both outside and in, you’ll have a hard time resisting an impromptu photoshoot within Gonpachi’s timber festooned dining hall. Complete with cosy booth seating and an open chef’s kitchen area, the best views here are from the wooden balconies of the second floor. It may be a little on the cheesy side, but this certainly hasn’t stopped ScrubySnacks from frequenting this rather delicious if not a little over-priced culinary cult haunt. Well worth a visit!
7. Karaoke Time!
No visit to Japan is complete without embarking on a musical journey from the comfort of your very own private booth. If your personal repertoire doesn’t happen to include the more traditional Japanese melodies, fear not, as Tokyo’s large karaoke establishments (for example Big Echo) offer a plentiful array of cheesy tunes of the Western variety for you to choose from. If it’s Dutch courage you’re looking for, you can even negotiate the addition of a one or two hour unlimited drinks package along with your room hire. Beware, this is not an experience for the faint-hearted and may even lead to a previously undisclosed karaoke addiction.
Other helpful Tokyo posts from ScrubySnacks: