Tokyo: What to Do
If you’re considering a trip to Tokyo, Japan, you may be wondering what to do in the city. With its buzzing energy, modern culture, and rich history, there’s a lot to take in. That’s why it’s important to know what to miss and what to do in Tokyo to make the most of your visit. In this blog post, we’ll provide a guide to help you decide what to skip and what to do in Tokyo.
Navigating Tokyo's Highlights
When navigating Tokyo's highlights, it's important to have a plan. Start by visiting iconic landmarks like the Tokyo Tower and Meiji Shrine. Then, immerse yourself in the vibrant neighborhoods of Shibuya and Harajuku. Don't forget to explore the historic Asakusa district and its famous Senso-ji Temple – and of course, no trip to Tokyo would be complete without experiencing the breathtaking views from the observation deck of the Skytree. With so much to see and do, navigating Tokyo's highlights will be an adventure you won't soon forget.
Remember to Venture Outside of the Popular Tourist Spots
When exploring Tokyo, it's easy to get caught up in the popular tourist spots. If you want a more authentic experience, consider skipping the crowded areas and venturing off the beaten path. Explore the hidden gems tucked away in Tokyo's lesser-known neighborhoods, where you can find charming local shops, peaceful parks, and serene temples. For alternative bohemian fashion and lively bars, opt for Shimokitazawa over Harajuku; for anime goods, try exploring the Nakano area’s Nakano Broadway instead of Akihabara. By avoiding the largest crowds, you'll have a chance to truly immerse yourself in the culture and discover the hidden treasures that make Tokyo so unique.
Eat Your Heart Out at Tokyo's Best Restaurants
Indulge your taste buds and explore the culinary delights of Tokyo at some of the city's best restaurants. From world-renowned sushi joints to traditional izakayas and trendy ramen shops, Tokyo has something for every palate. Sample the freshest seafood at Tsukiji Fish Market, feast on a Michelin-starred meal at Sukiyabashi Jiro, or try local favorites like tonkatsu or okonomiyaki. Whether you're a foodie or just looking for a memorable dining experience, Tokyo's dining scene will leave you wanting more.
Avoid Overpriced Souvenir Shops
Don't fall into the tourist trap of overpriced souvenir shops in Tokyo. Instead, venture off the beaten path to find unique, authentic gifts. Explore local markets and street stalls where you can discover one-of-a-kind treasures that truly represent Japanese culture. Whether it's traditional crafts, beautiful ceramics, or stylish clothing, you'll find souvenirs that are both memorable and reasonably priced. Don't waste your money on generic trinkets - take the time to explore and support local artisans for a truly meaningful souvenir shopping experience.
Find Unique Cultural Experiences in Tokyo
Discover a whole new side of Tokyo by immersing yourself in its unique cultural experiences. Take part in a traditional tea ceremony, try your hand at calligraphy, or learn the art of sushi making. Explore the vibrant neighborhoods of Yanaka and Kagurazaka, known for their preserved Edo-era charm. Don't miss the opportunity to witness a traditional Japanese performance, such as kabuki or taiko drumming. Tokyo has so much to offer in terms of cultural experiences, so make sure to add these unforgettable activities to your itinerary.
Take Advantage of Tokyo's Amazing Public Transportation System
Taking public transport in Japan, including using trains, subways, and buses, can be a convenient and efficient way to get around the country. Here's a general guide on how to use public transport in Japan:
Purchase Single-Ride Tickets: In most cities, you can purchase single-ride tickets at ticket vending machines located at train and subway stations. These machines usually have English language options. Select your destination and pay for your ticket. Keep the ticket until you reach your destination and feed them into the machines as you exit through the turnstiles.
IC Cards (Pasmo, Suica, ICOCA, etc.): IC (Integrated Circuit) cards are rechargeable smart cards that make traveling more convenient. They can be used in various regions of Japan and can be loaded with money.
Note: At the time of this article’s publishing, Japan currently has a shortage in production of these kinds of cards and has suspended sales, but fear not – tourists can get a Pasmo Passport, which is valid for 28 days and available for purchase at many stations as well as major international airports. Load money onto the card at the vending machine or ticket office. You can use these cards not only for trains but also for buses, trams, and even some vending machines and shops.
To use the card, simply touch it to the card reader at the ticket gate when entering and exiting the train or bus.
JR Pass: If you plan to travel extensively within Japan, you might consider a Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) for tourists. It allows unlimited travel on Japan Railways (JR) trains for a set number of days. You must purchase the JR Pass before arriving in Japan, as it is only available to tourists and cannot be bought within Japan.
Bus Tickets: Bus tickets can usually be purchased from the driver when you board the bus, or from ticket vending machines at bus stations. Some routes might have ticket offices where you can buy tickets in advance.
Tips for Staying Safe in Tokyo
When visiting Tokyo, it's important to prioritize your safety. While Tokyo is generally a safe city, it's still essential to take precautions. Keep your belongings secure, be aware of your surroundings, and avoid walking alone late at night. Familiarize yourself with emergency numbers and the location of the nearest police stations. It's also a good idea to learn some basic Japanese phrases to help in case of any emergencies. By staying vigilant and taking necessary precautions, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to Tokyo.