There are so many things to do in Tokyo Japan and amazing travel experiences that you should try while you’re here! Having completed our 12 days of travels in Japan, we decided to distill all the Tokyo attractions and places to visit in Tokyo into this comprehensive post!
1. What to eat in Tokyo?
There are SOOOOO many yummy foods in Tokyo! As Singaporeans, travelling to Tokyo definitely revolves (to a certain extent) around food. When you think about what to do in Tokyo, instead of Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo Skytree, foods such as ramen, sushi, takopachi and udon comes to mind! For our travels in Japan, it was no different. The itinerary had a HUGE emphasis on food. Here’s some highlights of what we’ve tried in Tokyo Japan…
Ichiran Ramen. Probably the best tonkotsu ramen in Tokyo and maybe even Japan.
Midori Sushi. Waited 2 whole hours before we eventually got in! Popular sushi joint with the locals.
Gindaco Takopachi was probably the best takopachi we’ve eaten so far. Beware, it’s really hot on the inside!
Butadon (Grilled Pork Rice). A specialty along Ameyoko Shopping Street.
Meals at Japan’s Convenient Stores (Konbini)! The top 3 konbini in Japan are Family Mart, Lawson and 7-11. You can practically find them at every corner of the city. Remember to stop by for cheap and good coffee (that’s what keeps us going on our travels), japanese bakery, rice balls or even a full fledge meal (think bento sets)!
Ebi Tempura…crisp on the outside and succulent within. Ah…
And how can we leave out the popular Japanese Curry Rice and Beef Bowl from Yoshinoya?
Established in 1880, Kamiya Pub is the place to visit in Tokyo for drinks and its home-made concoction of brandy and herbs (260 yen) called Denki Bran…
2. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building 東京都庁
If you’re in Tokyo and wondering where to go in Tokyo Japan, look no further than Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building! Why? Because you’ll be able to see all the places of interest in Tokyo from the observatory at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. And it’s absolutely free!
Address: 〒163-8001 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 2-8-1
North Observatory: 9:30 to 23:00
South Observatory: 9:30 to 17:30
North Observatory: 2nd and 4th Monday of each month
South Observatory: 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month
3. Gachapon Capsule Toy Machine!!!(aka Turn Turn 转转 Toy Dispensing Machines in Singapore! :P)
One of the experiences that we wanted to try in Japan was the capsule toy machine! Remember those “tikam machines” (Singlish for “Try Your Luck”) that you’ll find outside mama shops (Singlish for “Mom and Pop Stores”)? Known as Gachapon in Japan, they can be found in many places all cross Tokyo! Not to mention, the many cute toys (Anpanman, MyMelody, Hello Kitty etc.) that you don’t normally find in Singapore. Try out this experience while you’re in Tokyo!
4. Tokyo Imperial Palace East Gardens: Tranquil Greenery
For a tranquil and peaceful experience in the heart of Tokyo, visit East Gardens of the Tokyo Imperial Palace. The gate, moat and garden premise itself are great spots for photos. Entry is free.
5. Tokyo Shopping Streets: Shimokitazawa Street, Harajuku, Shinjuku, Ameyoko Shopping Street
If you’re bored or thinking about where to go in Tokyo, head to one of the many Tokyo shopping streets. During this trip, we visited Shimokitazawa Street, Harajuku, Shinjuku and Ameyoko Shopping Street. At Shimokitazawa and Harajuku, you’ll find many hipster shops and cafes catered to the young (and young at heart). Over at Shinjuku and Ameyoko, you’ll be able to find great eateries and options for souvenir shopping in Tokyo. Even if you’re not in cafes or shopping, these shopping streets are still a must see in Tokyo. Check them out!
6. Pablo Cheese Tart Tokyo: Must Do in Tokyo!
Swept by the Tokyo cheese tart revolution? How about heading to the originator – Pablo Cheese Tart Tokyo? There are 2 entrances to the Pablo Cheese Tart branch at Harajuku. If you’re having takeaway, there is a queue at level 1 for purchases to go. If you decide to have a quick break, there are also tables and chairs available after you make your purchase. If you’re thinking of having a more leisurely afternoon tea break, the cafe upstairs provides you with that option. As the queue downstairs is usually longer, we chose to head upstairs for our cheese tart fix. 🙂
Address: 1 Chome-14-21 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan
Opening Hours: 10AM–9PM
7. Shibuya Crossing: What a Sight!
If you’re thinking about what to see in Tokyo, there is a sight that you must see for yourself at Shibuya Crossing. Here, you’ll be able to witness the sight over over 1000 people crossing the street at the same time. At peak hours, there have been reports of 3000 people crossing the Shibuya crossing in Tokyo – at the same time! :O As a result, you’ll see a sea of heads moving across this massive junction. This happens because of 2 reasons. Firstly, all the lights at this particular junction changes at the same time. Meaning, you can cross horizontally, vertically or diagonally all at the same time. Secondly, due to the central location of the city, many working class citizens and tourists past through this junction. And of course, some travellers like us who cross this junction just for the sake of crossing it 😛 You can get a good view at the bridge of Shibuya JR Station. Definitely a Tokyo must-see!
8. Shopping at Don Quijote: Best Selection of Tokyo Souvenirs
Even if you think that you have visited all the shopping venues in Tokyo, your shopping experience is not complete without a visit to Don Quijote. Don Quijote (also known as Don Don Donki or Donki for short) is a 24 hours shopping venue (akin to Mustafa in Singapore), where you can get all your souvenir shopping done at a relatively cheap price. Shopping options even extend to fashion, electronics, watches, jewelry and food at some outlets. Here, we got our kit-kat and Japanese souvenirs, not only at a discounted price but also with tax free shopping! With over 160 stores across Japan, Don Quijote is definitely within reach from wherever you are in Tokyo.
9. Tsukiji Fish Market Tokyo: Freshest Catch of the Day!
There are many places of interest in Tokyo. One of the top things to do in Tokyo has got to be the Tsukiji Fish Market. The reason? You’ve got it – the freshest catch of the day! Even the Japanese Royal Family get their source of the day’s freshest catch from Tsukiji Fish Market. Not only will you be able to taste the freshest sashimi/sushi here, if you’re early enough (we’re talking about 4am/5am), you’ll also be able to witness the auctioning of freshly caught Tuna – one of the most valued delicacies in Japan…
Address: 5 Chome-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0045, Japan
Opening Hours: 5am to 1pm (3pm for the outer markets)
10. Tokyo Ueno Zoo: Seeing social classes in the animal kingdom of Japanese Macaques
At 600 yen, the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo is probably one of the cheapest zoo we’ve ever visited. But it does not mean it is of a lower quality. Besides the fact that many descriptions (if not all), are in Japanese, the collection of animals are actually quite interesting. Loved the cute sun bear playing with a broken trunk, the giant panda taking a lazy nap and the most memorable Japanese Macaques (snow monkeys) grooming each other.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLRwzkg-aic&w=600&h=480]
11. Akihabara Tokyo: Electronics and Chillax by the River
Akihabara is a electronics shopping district in Tokyo. Here, you’ll be able to find the latest gadgets and Nippon made (made in Japan) electronic products at a slightly discounted price as compared to back home. There are also many amusement parks from big names like Sega and Taiko. If you’re into UFO catchers, we’d advise not to try it here as we saw many people spending quite a bit to get those stuffed toys because the “hands” are actually quite flexible – meaning you’ll have a poor grip on the toys. Over at Kanda River, you’ll also be able to chill at Hatachino Brewing Lab @ Maach Ecute. There, we enjoyed a couple of freshly brewed beers, overlooking the bright lights of Akihabara…
12. Ordering from one of these Automated Ticketing Machines
Though not as fresh a travelling experience as before, we still wanted to try ordering from one of these automated ticketing machines inside Tokyo restaurants. At these machines, you’ll choose your desired dish, pay for it (almost always in cash) and a ticket will be dispensed. You’ll then bring your ticket to your seat and hand over the ticket to the staff who will then deliver your order in a relatively short time. We got to try this at Ichiran Ramen, Curry House and Yoshinoya in Tokyo!
13. Side trip to Mount Fuji
One of the biggest attraction in the whole of Japan has definitely got to be Mount Fuji. While in Tokyo, why not plan a side trip to Mount Fuji and the Lake Kawaguchiko area? During this trip, we took a 3 hours bus ride from Tokyo Station to Kawaguchiko Station – walking distance to our hotel at Fujizkura Inn where we had a room that overlooked Mount Fuji. To up the ante, we also visited Fuji Kawaguchiko Onsen Konansou for the Ryokan experience, complete with in-room onsen with Mount Fuji in the distance. Ah…
14. Battle of the Tonkotsu Ramen in Tokyo: Ichiran or Ippudo
One thing that we had to figure out for ourselves was the battle of the best Tonkotsu Ramen in Tokyo. Did it belong to Ichiran Ramen (一蘭) or Ippudo Ramen (一風堂)? For us, Ichiran ramen won this battle hands down with its rich flavours, generous chashu and firm textured ramen. Where is the best tonkotsu ramen for you in Tokyo? Let us know in the comments section below.
15. Where to Stay in Tokyo Japan
With the likes of 5-star/Luxury-class hotels such as the Imperial Hotel Tokyo, there are no shortage of upscale hotels in Tokyo. The good news is that having travelled to Tokyo, Takayama, Nagoya and Mount Fuji, we realized that almost all hotels in Japan are impeccably clean. Also, due to the Japanese culture of taking hot baths, there’s almost always a bath tub in the room. So go ahead and enjoy any of the wonderful selection of Tokyo Hotels deals here!
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We hope you have enjoyed this Tokyo guide to the top things to do in Tokyo Japan! Remember to let us know your thoughts after visiting all these points of interest in Tokyo!
If you have just completed a post from our 12 days of travels in Japan. Find out more about this trip to Japan in the following posts below.
15 Travel Experiences and Things to do in Tokyo Japan!
Top 9 Things to do in Mount Fuji and Kawaguchiko Area!
Top 5 Things to do in Hida Takayama (高山)!
Top 6 Things to do in Nagoya (and food to eat)!
12 Days of Japan Travels: Tokyo Jimbocho and Imperial Palace Gardens Day 1
12 Days of Japan Travels: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Shinjuku Pablo and Shibuya Day 2
12 Days of Japan Travels: Mount Fuji, Lake Kawaguchi, Sanrokuen and Fujizakura Inn Reviews Day 3
12 Days of Japan Travels: Lake Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center & Sightseeing Bus Tour Day 4
Konansou Mount Fuji Hotel Review (湖南庄) : In-Room Onsen and Meals with views of Mount Fuji!
12 Days of Japan Travels: Lake Saiko Wind Cave, Ide Brewery Mount Fuji and Bus Ride to Takayama Day 5
12 Days of Japan Travels: Takayama Morning Markets Jinya-Mae, Miyagawa and Takayama Hidagyu Day 6
12 Days of Japan Travels: Takayama Hidagyu (Hida Beef) and Bus Ride to Nagoya Day 7
Takayama Hidagyu Beef: All You Need To Know!
12 Days of Japan Travels: Eating our way through Nagoya Day 8
12 Days of Japan Travels: Visit Nagoya Castle and Overnight Bus Ride from Nagoya to Tokyo Day 9
12 Days of Japan Travels: Ichiran Ramen & Kamiya Pub Reviews Day 10
12 days of Japan Travels: Tsukiji Fish Market, Ippudo Ramen & Akihabara Tokyo Day 11
12 days of Japan Travels: Ueno Zoo, Ameyoko Shopping Street & Giga Butadon Day 12
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