It’s been two years since I went to Tokyo, but spring blossom trees and Facebooks’ ‘On this day’ memories have led to me reminiscing about the amazing time I had in Tokyo, Japan. What an awe-inspiring metropolis! Altogether, I’ve spent a week in Tokyo, together with my friend Madina, and we’ve seen a lot of beautiful and blossoming Sakura trees and did and saw a lot of other fun and sometimes weird things, but hey, it’s Japan!
Are you curious about what we’ve been up to during these 5 days in Tokyo? Read below all about what to do and see in Tokyo in 5 days, per neighborhood!
You can’t go to Tokyo and not cross this busy but awesome crossing at least a couple of times! Only then will you truly experience the sheer enormity of this city and just how many people live in it. You can also have a coffee at one of the surrounding cafes and watch the crowds of people cross. When you’re done people watching, you can start your shopping frenzy at all the countless malls and shops surrounding Shibuya crossing.
Say hi to Hachiko
For those who are not familiar with the story: Hachiko was a Japanese Akita dog who waited loyally for his master to return every day at the station. What the dog didn’t know, was that his owner passed away one day while commuting. The statue of Hachiko near the crossing remembers this faithful dog. Plus, he’s so cute!
Harajuku: Takeshita street
This famous fashion street is where you’ll find all the teenagers shopping, and somehow it’s always crazy busy. It’s fun to walk around for a bit and do some (window) shopping, but if you go to one of the parallel streets, you can also find a lot of cool stores that can even be slightly cheaper than what’s on Harajuku street.
Located close to Harajuku is Meiji Jingu, a Shinto shrine situated in Yoyogi Park. It’s a beautiful place to visit, and if you’re lucky (like us!), you might see a traditional wedding ceremony taking place there. It’s a great spot to take a walk and take in the nature and the zen-like atmosphere.
The Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace covers quite a big area, so make sure to wear something comfortable when you visit it. There are a few nice gardens located in the compound, and it just felt like a really peaceful place, especially in spring when all the flowers are blooming. Definitely a lovely spot for strolling around and soaking in the Japanese history.
Visit the Pokemon and Hello Kitty Store at Tokyo Station
Visit your childhood friends at these store under the Tokyo Station! There is also a bigger Pokemon Store somewhere else in the city, but as we found ourselves close to the Station, we had a look at the store there. You will also find some other cute stores, such as Snoopy town, Hello Kitty store and a Ghibli store.
We stayed in the Shinjuku area while in Tokyo, and I must say that it was an ideal place to stay as it’s so easy to go explore the rest of Tokyo from there. There are also plenty of shops and restaurants.
During Spring: Sakura Springblossom trees in the Park
When you visit Japan end of March or beginning of April, there’s a good chance you will experience the Sakura season. Many parks will be colored in white and pink spring blossom trees that are blooming. We loved the Shinjuku Gyoen National Park, which was a huge park and it was exploding with spring blossom trees! Also perfect for a little picnic and some people watching.
Watch a Robot Show
Although I must say that this is quite of a touristy thing to do, it was strangely fascinating to watch gigantic “robots” fight each other, with weird background music playing and hypnotic lights flashing. If you think this sounds like an interesting thing to do, then definitely go for it. But be careful: It get’s really weird, let me tell you. But perhaps that’s also part of the Japanese charm!
The famous Senso-ji Buddhist temple, which is the oldest temple in Tokyo, is located in the Asakusa neighborhood and consists of the temple and five pagodas, all colored in bright red. You can also buy yourself a little fortune on a paper. Around the temple, you can find many shops selling little trinkets, so it’s fun to walk around and shop a little as well.
Tokyo Skytree is a big tower where you can go up and have an amazing view on Tokyo from high above. However, it’s quite pricey, so I didn’t actually go there. Many say that going to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is actually a much better deal because you can get the same view on Tokyo by going to the observation deck, and it’s all for free!
Stroll Along the Canal and visit Boutiques, Galleries and Eat Street Food
I’m not sure what exactly the area is called, but the streets along the canal near Naka- Meguro metro station were so enchanting during Sakura season! We went at night and you can enjoy amazing Japanese street food and marvel at all the Sakura trees lined up along the canal. There are also loads of cute boutique stores and art galleries, so we really enjoyed just taking a stroll along the water. It’s definitely a must-do if you ask me!
Tsukiji Market (Fish Market)
The famous fish market of Tokyo is definitely a must-see, not only for the market itself but also the small restaurants around it that serve mouthwatering fresh sashimi bowls and dishes. For the brave-hearted, there is the tuna auction at 3AM (some suggest to go even earlier), which is apparently a pretty cool experience. For others who can not bring themselves to wake up (or stay awake) so early – like me – you can still see the market action if you go later in the morning.
Other Things To Do
When in Japan you can’t miss going at least once to a karaoke complex! You can rent a private booth and sing your heart out for hours at an end. I had so much fun at these karaoke places; so far they are the best you can find in Asia. They have a nice selection of English songs as well, so don’t be afraid that you will only find Japanese anime songs 😉 Some Karaoke places even let you dress up with all kinds of funky costumes. All in all, it will be a fun night (or day!) out guaranteed.
Cuddle with Cats at a Cat Cafe
Even though cat cafes can be found all around the world nowadays, the true cat cafe experience can only be found in Japan. We went to one in Shinjuku, which had quite a few cats. If you’re a true cat lover you might like it, though I’ve found that the cats will only come towards you if you have food, for which you’ll have to pay extra. It’s funny to see all the people yearning for these cats attention, while the cats will randomly (or so we think) choose who to get their cuddles from.
Play Games at the Arcade and snap Purikura photos
All around the city you’ll find tons of big arcade halls, where you can play games all day and night long. Madina and I particularly liked the Purikura snapshot experience. These are photobooths where you and your friend can snap some cute pics, and then edit them and add some cute and funny effects, like making the eyes bigger and adding cute stickers.
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post about things to do in Tokyo! If you have any question or comments, just write them in the comment section below! I’ll be happy to get back to you 🙂