Vibrant and exciting, Tokyo is an amazing experience that truly encapsulates all aspects of Japan. Get swept up in the fast-paced energy the city, see into the future with Tokyo’s leading technology and underground fashion scenes, or escape the hustle by visiting ancient temples, beautifully manicured state gardens and catch a glimpse of traditional life. With so much going on and a near-endless amount of activities to do and sights to see in Tokyo, you could easily lose yourself for weeks in this dynamic city, but you are sure to enjoy it just as much with an action-packed 24-hour jaunt before or after your epic snow trip. Below we have listed a range of experiences that we recommend checking out.
Shinjuku & Shibuya
Shinjuku and Shibuya make up the entertainment, business and shopping hub of Tokyo and are the epitome of hustle and bustle. Sporting the world’s two busiest railway stations (transporting more than 2 million passengers each every day) and the famous 4-way crossing (seen below) outside Shibuya station’s Hachiko Exit, this region is a hive of activity. Don’t be put off by the crowds, made up mostly of business people, these areas have a vivid nightlife and restaurant scene. Golden Gai is a small and atmospheric district packed with over 200 small bars and restaurants, most only seating a handful of customers at any one time. Center Gai is a pedestrian zone known for its street fashion, boutique stores and gaming centres as well as nightclubs and bars.
See for yourself just how vast Tokyo is with a visit to an observation deck in Shinjuku. There are a number of observation decks around this region, many of them free including the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings which offers views of Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree and Mt Fuji. There are also lots of walking tours available.
Shinjuku is also home to Kabukicho, the entertainment district of Tokyo. Grab a coffee at the Robot Cafe, where the robotic waiters are controlled by human staff suffering from severe disabilities working from their homes. Speaking of robots, Robot Restaurant provides a fast-paced, sensory overload show where robots and performance meet spectacularly. If you’re after some a bit more immersive then head to the VR Zone, a modern amusement, gaming and virtual reality centre featuring state-of-the-art simulators as well as classic arcade games. Our favourite? Living out a childhood dream of actually being in the race of Mario Kart (seen below).
The third tallest structure in the world (behind #1 Burj Khalifa in UAE and #2 Warsaw Radio Mast, Poland), Tokyo Skytree is a must-visit if the weather is good. The two observation decks on levels 350 and 450 provide a 360-degree view of the sprawling, endless metropolis that is Japan’s Capital city. Expect to pay around ¥3,400 for a combo ticket, that gains you access to both decks.
Dubbed, with good reason, the Eiffel Tower of Tokyo, the Tokyo Tower is just as impressive as its European counterpart and offers views of the city and Mt Fuji in the distance.
It is easy to escape the crazy pace of the city, with many beautiful State gardens and temples spotted throughout the city.
Sensoji Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple in Asakusa, Tokyo. Dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy, Sensoji is the oldest temple in Tokyo and one of its most significant. Expect a big tourist crowd on weekends, so if you can, visit midweek. Entrance is around ¥1,000 for adults. There are many more lesser-known temples in Tokyo if you are looking for a quieter pace.
One of the reasons Whiteroom loves operating in Japan is how much care and pride the Japanese people take in the appearance and treatment of things – whether an ancient temple or a steamed bun, you can be confident that thought and consideration have gone into it. This is no different for the public gardens located throughout Tokyo. Huge tracts of land have been reserved for green spaces, and these are typically beautifully maintained. Find zen-like tranquillity amongst the skyscrapers by taking a stroll through one of these exquisite spaces.
Yoyogi Park is located in Shibuya and is the fifth-largest park in Tokyo. This should be on your must-see list especially on the weekend. Each Sunday sees performers present their diverse range of shows. If you visit Meji Jingumae Shrine you might see a traditional wedding and Harajuku is located right next to the park entrance.
Renowned for the quirky, vibrant street fashion, Harajuku is a must to see the trendiest styles in Tokyo with locals pushing the foundations of what fashion is, with their fingers on the proverbial pulse.
There is something for everyone in Tokyo, and as mentioned at the start, it is simply impossible to experience everything in a short stopover, but it is still one of our favourite cities to visit and explore, simply because you don’t know what is going to be around the next corner.