The Gateway to the Rising Sun
One of my favorite cities, and rightfully so, Tokyo has some of the best attractions, world class foods, and Amazing atmosphere that’s a mix of Futuristic and Traditional. As my first ever international trip, Tokyo Japan represents my gateway to the enticing world of travel. It was always my dream as a child to go to Tokyo for all of its influential video game and anime culture, high-energy fast-paced city and out of this world food (Yes I’m a sushi fanatic). So here’s my long awaited review of the Top Ten things to do in Tokyo, Japan!
#10 Walk through Ueno Park
Ueno, a district of Tokyo a little outside of the central city, is a wonderful area known for its peaceful parks. Its a huge change of pace from the usual over crowded cities of Tokyo. But Ueno Park is an iconic symbol of natural beauty within a modern city. With lots of shrines, oddly shaped trees, and gardens its definitely worth a visit to admire some of the traditional Japanese architecture.
#9 Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa
Another district in Tokyo, Asakusa has Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple Senso-ji. With a vibrant red color it is quite the impressive sight to see. Here are some tips on how to properly pray while your at the center shrine: Bow your head once, then use the rope to ring the bell. Toss a few yen into the wooden box, bow twice more followed by two hand claps and another bow.
#8 Tsukiji Fish Market
Pretty much the biggest Fish Market in the World, Tsukiji is a great place to try Japanese sushi and other seafood while your in Tokyo. The food served at any of these restaurants is absolutely mind blowing. The good news, The sushi is even better than your expectations. The bad news is you’ll struggle to find sushi quality of this caliber once you leave. I can write a whole other post on all the amazing food of Japan (and probably will) so I’ll leave my advice short and say go try it. If you wake up early enough and want to check out the Tuna auction, its quite the experience. Even just walking around the market is entertaining enough with lots of eccentric looking goods for sale.
#7 Meiji Shrine
Located in a lush green forest in the center of Shibuya, Tokyo, the Meiji shrine is a Shinto shrine dedicated to the former Emperor Meiji. To find such a secluded wonder in the midst of a bustling city is quite the experience. Tokyo feels like a city with two opposing vibes but executes it beautifully. The serenity resonates through you and puts you completely at peace.
#6 Giant Gundam Robot
For all of you not savvy with old anime, there’s a giant robot statue in front of the Diver City Mall in Odaiba, Tokyo. Even if you’re not a Gundam fan, its still a pretty awesome statue. Might have been replaced by a newer, flashier Robot since then but I guess you’ll just have to go and see. Plus the Diver City Mall is super huge and has lots of high quality stores worth checking out. Plus there’s just a ton of random stuff going on throughout the mall from a fancy car garage to an outdoor activity area.
#5 Akihabara, Electric Town
Pretty much the culmination of my adolescence, Akihabara is the Electronics district of Tokyo. As soon as you step off the subway you’ll feel the futuristic energy flowing from all the lights and tech stores. You can buy the latest gadgets and videos games almost anywhere you look. Plus you can find accessories and figures from a wide range of anime so it’s easy to spend a few hours just looking at all the cool merchandise. One of my favorite things in Akihabara is the many Sega arcades that have awesome video games rarely found anywhere else. The best way to spend an afternoon!
Grab your friends and head into your own personalized show room and sing the night away. With futuristic equipment to select what seems like a limitless amount of songs you’re bound to have a great time. Plus every Karaoke place is BYOB so You can save money on drinks. If your into anime you’ll be able to sing all the theme songs you know till your hearts content.
#3 Bar Hopping in Shinjuku
One of my favorite parts of Tokyo, Shinjuku has one of the best nightlife scenes I’ve ever experienced. The area Called Golden Gai is a section of tiny 5 person bars that are very different from the norm. Other bars around the area have Nomihodai, the Japanese version of Happy Hour on steroids. Basically you have a one or two hour period of all you can drink and eat. With some as low as 600 Yen (around six USD) it will probably be one of the best bargains of your life. Including the relaxed open alcohol carry container laws, stop by one of the many convenience stores (referred to as Conbinis) and grab a walking beer while you look around for cool spots. A word of caution: Shinjuku station is one of the most confusing subway systems ever created.
#2 Tokyo Sky Tree
When you feel the need to gain some height and want a killer view of the city, Go up to the observation deck of the Tokyo Sky Tree. Being the tallest building in Japan, the view from the top is breathtaking. Get ready to wait a long time to get up though. Get your ticket early and then come back at the scheduled time to utilize your time efficiently. The Nujabes they played at the top made it a completely unforgettable moment of acoustic euphoria. Totally worth it.
#1 Party All Night in Shibuya
Highly relatable to New York’s Manhattan, Shibuya is known for its fancy name brand shopping departments, great restaurants, huge population density, and very esteemed music scene. While you’re there, witness the awe inspiring Shibuya Crossing, the busiest intersection of the world. If you never thought you’d be impressed with people crossing the street, think again. With such a large amount of people flooding the streets, its amusing to watch how chaotic the instance is. People watching aside Shibuya’s atmosphere is filled with high quality musical performers and metropolitan feel. It also has some great concert venues with performers like Shing02 and FatJon. Club Bar Family, an underground bar with DJs spinning records old school style and a former hub for Nujabes, is a great way to spend the night for a chill vibe. And nothing beats 3AM ramen!
With a city that can go from high tech to traditional Zen in a matter of a few blocks, Tokyo can capture a wide range of vibes. I hope this article gives you some ideas for you to make the trip for yourself one day. Its a city I’ll always go back to and never get bored of. With so many things to do it was hard coming up with a list of just ten, so expect a part 2 to this list. Keep Leveling Up!