Tokyo, the capital of Japan and the city of all things amazing. It is a beautiful mix of old and new, living harmoniously together. I recently travelled to Japan with my boyfriend and we spent just under a month travelling the country, with over a week in Tokyo. It was such an amazing experience, this was my third time to Japan, and I can’t recommend it enough. Below are my top tips for places to go, food to eat, shopping and budget ideas so you can spend all your money at Disneyland.
Places to Visit:
There is so much to see in Tokyo, it can cater for just about everyone. There are some places around Tokyo that shouldn’t be missed.
Tokyo Tower is a very popular spot to enjoy the skyline and countless skyscrapers of Tokyo. The red and white structure is unmissable at 332 meters. It has two different observation decks, the first at 150 meters, and the second at 249 meters. There are four levels of shops and restaurants to enjoy under the tower. Be sure to visit on a weekday or early to miss the busy crowds.
Where all the hustle and bustle of Tokyo converges in one place. Shibuya crossing is known as one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the world. Enjoy the view from up high at surrounding cafes like Starbucks and L’Occitane Café. It’s located just by Shibuya train station for easy access.
A break from the craziness, Meiji Shrine is a piece of quiet in the middle of Tokyo. Surrounded by a forested area, all you can hear are the cicadas in the trees, and the gravel beneath your feet. The shrine itself is dedicated to previous Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. On the way to the shrine, enjoy the decorated sake barrels, and gardens.
A popular street that encompasses Japanese teenagers, Takeshita street has many food and fashion shops. Located in Harajuku it’s the perfect spot for people watching, or some seriously insta-worthy sweets. It’s not far from Meiji Shrine and Omotesando, a popular area for luxury brand stores; so it makes Harajuku a great area to visit.
This place should be visited by all sushi lovers. Customers choose the sushi on a tablet; and zips out on a conveyor belt. This puts my local sushi train to shame! I really enjoyed this meal, but also as an experience. My favourite was the shrimp nigiri, but the California roll was a close second.
These delicious, light tarts are little pockets of magic. I couldn’t get enough of these on my trip. They come in plain cheese, chocolate and matcha.
Santa Monica Crepes
All crepes are delicious in Tokyo, but I liked this place on Takeshita street due to its curb appeal and the variety of choices, both sweet and savoury. I picked the chocolate and banana option.
Located in the shopping mall Sunshine City in Ikebukuro, Wako is a tonkatsu restaurant. Tonkatsu is a dish of pork cutlet, covered in panko bread crumbs and deep fried. We picked a set meal which comes with miso soup, rice and cabbage. The pork loin was so tender and perfectly cooked, it was one of the best meals of the whole trip. Don’t forget to try restaurants based in shopping centres or train stations, most restaurants are located on the top level or the basement and are extremely delicious (from experience).
When we went shopping we would pick one specialty store or area that we would want to go to and then anywhere else we visited was by passing it in the street. I found this to be really refreshing and fun. There are also many high quality shopping centres attached to train stations. Takashiyama, Isetan, and Seibu are some of the luxury shopping centres that we frequently spotted near train stations, or even attached to them. I would recommend picking an area of Tokyo, and just have a wander around. But here are some cool options to check out too.
Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku
This shopping centre has the most extra, over the top entrance I’ve seen. A kaleidoscopic mirror encases the escalator into the centre. These shops are mainly Japanese independent fashion stores but the clothes are so cute, and their accessories are unique and different. I bought my favourite purchase here on the last day of our trip. On the 6thfloor you can enjoy your coffee or beer (depending on the time of day) on the rooftop garden overlooking Harajuku.
This shopping centre has it all. Not only is there four levels of shops, there’s an aquarium, planetarium and observation deck on the 60th floor. You could spend all day here! Did I mention J-World? It’s an indoor theme park based around One Piece, Naruto, and Dragon Ball Z. Plus, we had amazing tonkatsu here. This is the perfect place to visit, especially with kids.
Found in many large cities, Yodabashi is more than just cameras. Their many floors sell electronic goods like phones, computers, cameras but also a wide variety of toys, game consoles and luggage. I compare it to jb hifi, good guys, and a toy shop all combined on steroids. Many also have restaurants on the top floors along with fashion stores. Its any boys dream, or so my boyfriend says.
If You’re on a Budget:
Metropolitan Government building observation deck
For an excellent view of Tokyo, visit the Metropolitan Government Building. The building has two observation decks which are free. Located in Shinjuku, the views overlook landmarks like Meiji Shrine and Tokyo Tower.
100-yen shops like Daiso are excellent for all those souvenir obligations. You can pick up cute items like magnets, keyrings and sweets. Most items come in at 108 yen, about $1.30 AUD so you can avoid the overpriced shops for items of the same quality.
If you don’t want all your money to go on food, or hungry on the go; then convenience stores are your BFF. It feels like Family Mart, 7 Eleven, and Lawsons are on every street corner in Tokyo! Their onigiri, sandwiches and set meals are all really cheap and great quality. Be sure to check out the yummy ice creams they have as well.
Restaurants in shopping centres
Many shopping centres have 1 or 2 floors dedicated to restaurants of every cuisine. These restaurants are excellent because they’re not too expensive, and it’s delicious! Many also have plastic examples of their food in the windows so you know what sort of food they serve. It doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg to have a great meal.
Have you been to Tokyo? Where are your favourite places to go? Share them in the comments below!
Thanks for reading,