Tokyo, Japan is one of the most sorted out travel destination in Asia and people from all over the world travel to this bustling city which not only offers unique culture, iconic sceneries and fabulous food! If you have have not been to Tokyo, I pretty sure you would book the ticket soon enough after reading my blog filled with adventures.
I spent a total of four days in Tokyo with my fiance and it was his first time to this awesome city. Although we run on a very tight schedule (tiring) but all worth it as he loved every single sightseeing planned out. One crucial thing you need to prepare when traveling to Tokyo is to ensure you plan out your traveling plan (where to visit, what to eat, how to get there) etc. Otherwise, you would be spending time trying to figure where to go next and time is of the essence when you only have a couple of days in such a magnificent city to explore.
We flew with Singapore Airlines and I must say, there is no better airline to take as it is well known for it's prestige customer service and it is no exception this time round. Not only did we get a great air ticket price, we managed to get a multi-city trip, flying into Tokyo and back from Osaka. We took the bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka (where I will cover in another blog: All about Osaka Travel) and the journey took only two hours with fantastic views along the way.
So you must be asking, what are the must see in Tokyo? Follow my itinerary below and I guarantee you will be amazed with where we have visited in just four days.
Ameyoko Shopping District (アメ横) is a busy market street along the Yamanote Line tracks between Okachimachi and Ueno Stations. The name "Ameyoko" is a short form for "Ameya Yokocho" (candy store alley) where candies were traditionally sold but today, there are streets of food stalls ranging from the famous Takoyaki to fresh Sashimi-don and fresh seafood. Try to plan your tour here around dinner time, you wouldn't want to miss all the food action!
Ginza (銀座) is considered the high fashion center of the city and contains many upscale shops and restaurants. It is one of the most expensive real estate in the world. During weekend, the street will be closed to motor traffic during the day hence becoming a Pedestrians’ Paradise. Most shops are open daily from 10am to 10pm.
We visited Kabukichō (舞伎町) an entertainment and red-light district in in north east Shinjuku beyond Yasukuni-dōri Avenue. It is very famous for hostess bars, host bars, love hotels, shops, restaurants, and nightclubs, and is often called the “Sleepless Town”.
Sensō-ji 金龍山浅草寺 is Tokyo’s largest ancient Buddhist temple and a major Tokyo attractions for Japanese and foreigners located in Asakusa. The temple is dedicated to the Bodhisattva Kannon, also known as Guan Yin or the Goddess of Mercy. It is Tokyo’s oldest temple, and one of its most significant. Formerly associated with the Tendai sect, it became independent after World War II.
Nakamise (仲見世) is located just before Sensoji after Kaminarimon or “Thunder Gate”, a massive paper lantern dramatically painted in vivid red-and-black tones to suggest thunderclouds and lightning, Nakamise is one of the oldest shopping centers in Japan. Apart from typical Japanese souvenirs such as yukata, keychains and folding fans, various traditional local snacks from the Asakusa area are sold along the Nakamise.
Aoi Marushin is a must visit for lunch as it is the famous tempura restaurant located at 1-4-4 Asakusa, Taito-ku, open daily from 11am – 9pm, located right of Kaminari gate at Sensoji Temple.
Tokyo Imperial Palace (皇居) is the main residence of the Emperor of Japan. Except on Jan 2 (New Year’s Greeting) and Dec 23 (Emperor’s Birthday), the palace buildings and inner gardens are not open to the public. Only on both specific dates, visitors are able to enter the inner palace grounds and see the members of the Imperial Family, who make several public appearances on a balcony. The Imperial Palace East Gardens 皇居東御苑 are a part of the inner palace area and are open to the public. Note that it is open daily except for Monday & Friday 9:00am – 4:00pm (Summer opens until 5.00pm).
Roppongi (六本木) well known as the city’s most popular nightlife district among foreigners, offers a large number of foreigner friendly bars, restaurants and night clubs.
Tokyo Tower (東京タワー) the world’s tallest self-supporting steel tower is a communications and observation tower. At 332.5 metres (1,091 ft), it is the second tallest artificial structure in Japan. Completed in the year 1958 as a symbol for Japan’s rebirth as a major economic power. Visitors can ascend to the main observatory at 150 meters and the special observatory at 250 meters to get a bird’s eye view of Tokyo. I strongly suggest you to go up as the view is spectacular.
Tsukiji Market (築地市場) is the biggest and famous wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. Opening hours are daily except Sunday & alternate Wednesday: 4:00am – 11:00am. All of the shops here offers fresh Sashimi and Sushi, definitely a place NOT to miss for meals.
Akihabara Electric Town (秋葉原) is the largest town collecting all kinds of electronic appliances and devices in the world. The products at the very top of technology are always abundantly available here. Over here, staffs master 20 languages of the world. Open daily from 11:00am – 9:00pm.
Harajuku street fashion is a culmination of all things “Tokyo.” It’s weird, trendy, young, and uniquely Japanese. If you came to Tokyo for the fashion, there is no better place to go than Takeshita Street. Don't forget to visit their famous cat cafe and owl cafe. I would highly recommend you to try the Crepes from Sweet Box. The street shops are open daily from 11:00am – 8:00pm.
Shibuya – Hachiko Statue
One of the most touching real life story in the world. Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor in University of Tokyo, took in Hachikō, a golden brown Akita, as a pet. During his owner’s life, Hachikō greeted him at the end of each day at the nearby Shibuya Station. The pair continued until May 1925, when Professor Ueno did not return. The professor had suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage and died, never returning to the train station where Hachikō was waiting. Every day for the next nine years the dog waited at Shibuya station. Hachikō died in 1935, and was found on a street in Shibuya.
Shibuya – Famous Intersection
It would be a shame to come to Tokyo and not take a walk across the famous intersection outside Shibuya Station and in Shibuya Station. Believe it or not, both my fiance and I walked four times across this infamous intersection.
Take the bus from Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal to Lake Kawaguchi and it cost (Adult Yen3500) return.
Lake Kawaguchi is located on the northern side of Mt. Fuji. Lake Kawaguchi is a popular destination for tourists seeking views of Mt. Fuji. There are also museums, shops and hot springs to visit and many fun activities, such as fishing and marine sports. Unfortunately, it has been raining for the past two days since we got to Tokyo. We were only able to grasp a glimpse of Mount Fuji Tip.
Kawaguchiko Sightseeing Retro Bus
Right by the Kawaguchiko Station off the Fujikyuko Kawaguchi Line you will see a cute, yellow bonnet bus. This bus line starts at Fujikyuko Line Kawaguchiko Station and connects local sightseeing spots in the area such as the “Kawaguchiko Music Forest”.
Kawaguchiko Music Forest
A museum that houses many valuable music boxes that Medieval European royals and aristocrats used to enjoy. Every hour their beautiful tones echo in the main hall, giving you a feeling of elegance and warmth. In the rose garden, you can enjoy the beautiful roses. These blossoms are of rare, older bushes that have been praised by many.
Shinjuku's Memory Lane (Omoide-Yokocho) - Typically from 11:00am to 12 Midnight (some are 24hrs)
Omoide Yokocho (memory lane) also known under its more colorful nickname Piss Alley is a small network of alleyways along the tracks northwest of Shinjuku Station. The narrow lanes are filled with dozens of tiny eateries serving ramen, soba, sushi, yakitori and kushiyaki. Many restaurants consist of just one counter with some chairs, while others have a couple of tables. This is the one foodie place you have to try, well patronized by the locals especially after work.
Quick tip: Once you have planned out all your itinerary (places you want to visit), do work out the transport plan. It would be more economical to buy One day Ticket either for the Tokyo Metro or Toei Subway lines.
If you wish to get a full itinerary plan from me, do drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.