10 THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN TOKYO
So you’re planning a trip to Tokyo and have no idea where to start. No worries! With over 35 million people packing the streets of Tokyo, there is just so much to see and do. So how do you make sure you see the best of the best? I was recently in Tokyo and following my experience, I have compiled a list of 10 things you must see and do. Enjoy! 1. TOKYO SKY TREE To get the best vantage point of Tokyo, I suggest visiting Tokyo Sky Tree on your first day in Tokyo. Morning is best and get there at 8am when it opens. Forget about getting there any later or you’ll be waiting in the longest line known to humankind for hours. There are two levels to explore and I was happy with the aspect first observation deck offered. When you’ve finished walking around the deck, catch the elevator down to terra firma and head on over to explore the Asakusa area.
2. ASAKUSA Asakkusa is the centre of Tokyo’s shitamachi “low city” where an atmosphere of the past decades survives. The areas main attraction is the Sensoji, a Buddhist temple built in the 7th century. The temple is easily found via the Nakamise, a shopping street selling a variety of traditional touristy wares and local snacks. Do walk around the streets, there are heaps of cute alleyways and hole in the wall style restaurants serving mouth watering sashimi.
3. SHIBUYA Shibuya is one of Tokyo’s largest shopping and entertainment districts. Centred around Shibuya station, the district is home to a collection of major international flagship stores including the multi-level H&M and Zara. Perfect if you want to get your shop on. Make sure you explore the alleys filled with wall to wall vending machines.
4. KABIKUCHO Fancy a drink and dance? The red light district of Kabikucho is where the party’s at. Expect Japanese men in suits luring young, beautiful things into their nightclubs. Amongst the lover hotels, restaurant and nightclubs, visit the neon popping Robot Restaurant where you’ll drink Asahi and watch a weird and wacky robot show – girls scantily clad in bikins and dancing with three metre tall robots.
5. HARUJUKU Easily my favourite district in Tokyo, Harujuku is split into two main areas; Takeshita Dori, the centre of youth fashion and Omotesando, is a tree lined avenue with upscale boutiques. Known as the birthplace of many Japanese fashion trends, shops open daily from 11am to 10pm so keep in mind everything in Tokyo opens later in the morning! It gets crazy busy on weekends, but that’s part of the fun, and you’ll run into the world famous Harujuku girls! When you get to the bottom of Takeshita Dori, cross the street and meander around the alleyways. Here you’ll find the best vintage stores I’ve come across in my life. You will easily spend hours here – I did!
6. MEIJI SHRINE When you get off the train at Harujuku station, escape the crowds by turning right at the station and you’ll find yourself at the grand entrance at Meiji Shrine. An oasis tucked behind the hectic streets of Harujuku, you’ll come across beautiful sake barrel offerings amongst other gorgeous offerings.
7. CHIDORIGAFUCHI Roam around Chidorigafuchi and the Imperial Palace, which is decorated by hundreds of cherry blossom trees around the impressive moat. Its one of the most beautiful sights in Tokyo!
8. UENO KOEN PARK Arguably the best spot to enjoy the annual cherry blossom season, Ueno Koen is a large public park. The park is packed with families, school kids and Japanese people enjoying their daily walks.
9. TSUKIJI FISH MARKETS This is only for the early risers! From 5am, 120 visitors per day are allowed into the notoriously private Tsukiji Fish Markets. Here you’ll see local fisherman auction of their prized catches – tuna and salmon.
10. MT TAKAOSAN Escape the hectic streets of Tokyo and catch the train to Mt Takaosan for a day of exploring and hiking. When you arrive, I seriously recommend catching the chair lift to the first platform otherwise you’ll be hiking for hours and hours and hours – not ideal if you don’t have a lot of time. Plus the chairlift is super fun and offers some of the best views of Tokyo. But what happens when you reach the summit of Mt Takaosan? You’ll be rewarded with Mt Fuji tucked behind the surrounding misty mountains!