There’s so much to see and do in Japan’s capital. Mixing the old and the new on every street throughout the city, you’re going to keep finding excuses to come back.
There are plenty of traditional and ancient shrines and temples scattered throughout Tokyo but we visited the city at the end of our trip so we were templed-out by that stage. We instead visited the city’s other attractions.
It’s time to visit Tokyo.
The holy grail of Japanese transportation is of course, the train. If you’re going to forgo the Japan Rail Pass anywhere, make it Tokyo. In a lot of cases, attractions can be accessed via metro lines only.
Ueno Park is the best spot to view cherry blossoms during the season. We arrived at the backend of the season so the market stalls had all packed up and gone, making the park a peaceful spot to retreat to. We hired a paddle boat in the shape of a giant swan and explored the lake which David turned it into a race against the other tourists (we won, of course). There’s also a zoo within the park which we didn’t visit.
Located close to the park and Ueno train station is Ameya-Yokochō, an open-air market where you can stock up on souvenirs and Japanese treats. Here is where you can try the infamous egg waffle which originated in Hong Kong.
Climb to the top of Tokyo tower by day or night for incredible views over this vast city. We went at night so we could see the tower lit up in bright orange.
Sensō-ji is easily one of the most popular attractions in Tokyo. Tourists and local school groups surround the temple all day. There’s a lot of shopping and market stalls surrounding the temple which sell anything from ice cream and desserts to Pokémon toys and local artist’s paintings.
If it’s the more quirky side of Tokyo you’re after, Harajuku is the place to visit. Here, stores line the streets selling plenty of weird and wacky trinkets. From here it’s an easy stroll to Yoyogi Park and Meiji Shrine which is located within the park.
From the park you can also walk to the famous Shibuya scramble crossing. It’s not a short walk but it’s a great way to see a lot of Tokyo and its parks.
Visit the grounds of Tokyo Imperial Palace in the morning for a pleasant stroll through the gardens before the tourist group tours arrive. It’s a peaceful alternative to Ueno Park.
From Tokyo you can also visit the mighty Mt Fuji. You can book through a tour company like we did, or do it on your own. I’d probably recommend doing it yourself as many Japanese tour groups have a rushed itinerary.
Shopping and Eating Out
Tokyo is known for its themed restaurants which include the Ninja Restaurant and the Robot Restaurant. There are many themed restaurants in Shinjuku. Shopping is great in Ginza, Shinjuku and Ochanomizu if you’re looking for musical instruments. If you prefer to explore the city at night, visit Roppongi.
Spend at least five days in Tokyo so you can really get a feel for the city. It’s easy to get around but it might take some getting used to so give yourself time to adjust to the fast pace.
What do you like most about Tokyo? Let me know in the comments below!