10 Things to Do in Tokyo That Should Be on Your Bucket List
By Abbi Browning
Tokyo is a city ever-growing in tourist popularity, with 28.7 million visiting last year. In such a large city, it is hard to explore all of its hidden wonders, so here is a guide to the best attractions in Tokyo to ensure you don’t miss out on all the amazing sites, including several that are not often seen by many.
Explore the Tokyo Tower
A tourist favourite in Japan is the Tokyo Tower , which is home to many attractions within, such as its annual summer show, “Milky Way Illumination.” This runs between June and September and is the only time the outer-staircase is open at night. It is one of Tokyo’s most iconic structures, with a similar lattice design to the Eiffel Tower, standing at 1092ft.
See the Cherry Blossom Festival
The cherry blossom tree is one that is highly associated with Japan, due to the vast numbers that can be seen across its parks in Spring. During March 20 and April 8, you can see these cherry blossom trees all over the country in many of Tokyo’s famous parks.
Yoyogi Park is one that also grows cherry blossom trees, yet is actually more well-known for its ginko tree forests that turn golden during the autumn, if you don’t intend on travelling during spring.
Visit a Kabuki Theatre
Kabuki theatres are a very traditional form of theatre where only males play the parts and wear elaborate make-up. If you’re not sure about it, Kabuki-za (in Ginza) offers tickets for single acts, so you can try it out without paying for the whole show.
Stay at Tokyo Disneyland or Visit the Ghibli Museum
For families who are interested in animations. Disneyland takes on more traditional Japanese elements here, with the characters being dressed in traditional clothes as well as hosting Japanese- inspired festivals, like “Disney Natsu Matsuri.” Disney Natsu Matsuri is currently running until September 2, 2018.
The Studio Ghibli Museum is another family-themed attraction, yet this shows you the art behind all of the animated films. The current exhibition running is “Delicious! Animating Memorable Meals”, showing how the food is created to look so realistic in the pictures. This is currently open until November 2018, yet has already been extended due to popular demand, so the show has no confirmed closing date.
Climb Mount Fuji
If you prefer a challenge, then Mount Fuji is a great way to feel accomplished. It takes roughly six hours to reach the top, where you will see the Kuzushi-jinja Shrine and receive a stamp for your efforts. The mountain is only available to hikers during July 1st to early September, so it’s important to plan your trip if this is something you want to do.
Participate in Tokyo Nightlife: Karaoke
Another key feature of Tokyo is its unique nightlife. The Golden Gai has hundreds of miniature bars which can only fit approximately a dozen people in each, making it far different to a typical night experience. Karaoke is a tourist favourite in this location.
Go to the Robot Restaurant
One truly unique way to spend your night is at the Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku. The Robot Restaurant is a surreal, one-of-a-kind experience that is frequently booked-out, so it is definitely worth the visit if you plan in advance.
See the Heian-jingu Shrine
A chance to visit more Japanese culture is available within the shrines around the city. The Heian-jingu Shrine is ranked as a Beppyō Jinja (別表神社), which is the highest ranking for shrines and is one of the newer buildings, having been built in 1895. It is a smaller reproduction of the original Hiean Palace and one of Tokyo’s most visually impressive shrines.
Eat at the Old-Fashioned Restaurants in Kanda-Sudacho
Japan is well known for its culinary attractions, yet few people tend to visit the old-fashioned restaurants that still stand.
For a less standard day out, you could visit ‘Kanda Yabusoba’ (かんだやぶそば) and ‘Kanda Matsuya’ (神田まつや)- two of the most famous restaurants in Kanda-Sudacho, which specialise in soba noodles. There are also many confectionery stores, such as ‘Takemura’, (竹むら) which supply traditional Japanese sweets.
We Travel We Eat wrote a blog on the best food in Tokyo, which you can find reposted on our site here.
Use the Toden Arakawa Line, Tokyo’s Last Tram Line
For off-the-beaten-path Tokyo, you could use the Tokyo Sakura Tram (Toden Arakawa Line) to explore the city in a less conventional way. The tram is one that very few realise is there, showing the flowers and residential buildings of Tokyo. You’d find lots of hidden wonders along this tram line, which are rarely shown in guidebooks.