HomeTravelWhat to Do, Eat, and See in Japan's Capital

What to Do, Eat, and See in Japan’s Capital

For those who’re fortunate sufficient to journey to Tokyo in some unspecified time in the future, it’s probably that you just’ll depart with a special feeling than you’d anticipate. Little did I do know the most important metro metropolis on the planet would educate me to decelerate, savor the second, and stay with much less. I boarded the airplane house with a deep reverence for the Japanese tradition and lifestyle. Their capability to stability custom and modernity, a respect for and a want to stay in concord with nature, and an emphasis on politeness and moderation. Any time I’ve had the possibility to journey to one of many world’s main cities like New York Metropolis or Paris, I’ve witnessed the hustle and residing life at full throttle. I discovered that I returned to Austin with a definite sense of peace and rejuvenation.

Tokyo Journey Information: 3 Days to Savor and Discover

Regardless of being essentially the most densely populated metropolis on the planet, Tokyo marches to the beat of its personal drum. (While you see pork cutlets paired with a yogurt parfait, you’ll know what I imply.) By way of expertise, transportation, and developments, Japan feels leaps and bounds forward of the remainder of the world.

Little did I do know the most important metro metropolis on the planet would educate me to decelerate, savor the second, and stay with much less.

I left understanding I’d barely scratched the floor of this large metropolis. It’s exhausting to do Tokyo justice in a single journey information, however forward, I’m sharing the sights, eats, and actions we loved plus suggestions from trusted mates that we’re saving for subsequent time.

Ideas for Visiting Tokyo for the First Time

As learners, we have been shocked to seek out that Tokyo was pretty straightforward to navigate. Whereas only a few folks exterior the lodge spoke English, lots of the indicators and menus had English translations. The neighborhoods are additionally straightforward to recollect as a result of all of them have their very own distinct ethos.

Listed below are just a few suggestions for fulfillment if you happen to’re headed to Tokyo for the primary time.

  1. Obtain Google Translate. Whereas there was loads of English signage and we have been capable of navigate town pretty simply, Google Translate got here in useful after we exterior the lodge. Particularly the power to add photographs of menus, indicators, and many others.
  2. Convey money for cabs, eating places, and many others. Bank cards usually are not accepted in a number of locations. It may be troublesome to seek out ATMs, however most 7-Elevens and CitiBanks have them.
  3. Keep away from consuming and ingesting on the go. It’s thought-about rude to devour meals or drinks whereas strolling the streets. Plus, there are not any trashcans on the streets so that you’ll want to carry onto any trash.
  4. Go away time in your itinerary to wander. We stumbled throughout our favourite spots after we had time to only discover and uncover. Decide a cool neighborhood to take a look at and see the place the wind takes you.
  5. Tipping just isn’t customary in Japan. Some eating places will embrace a service cost on the invoice.
  6. The taxi door will shut robotically if you get out. You don’t want to close the door your self. I had a tough time breaking this behavior.

When to Go to Tokyo

  1. Spring (March to Might). That is the preferred time to go to Tokyo when the cherry blossoms are in bloom and the climate is delicate and sunny.
  2. Summer season (June to August). Summer season is sizzling and humid in Tokyo, however if you happen to’re not afraid of the warmth this can be a nice time to benefit from the metropolis exterior the busy season.
  3. Fall (September to November). Whereas September remains to be fairly sizzling and humid, the climate begins to dip on the finish of the month and the leaves will start to show.
  4. Winter (December to February). Winter in Tokyo might be chilly, however I might love to return to take in the vacation season and hit up a close-by ski mountain.

Attending to Tokyo

Tokyo has two main airports: Narita Worldwide Airport (NRT) and Haneda Airport (HND). Whereas Narita is the primary worldwide airport within the metropolis, Haneda is nearer to town heart. Each airports are well-connected to downtown Tokyo by prepare, bus, and taxi.

Coming from Austin, we determined to fly out and in of LAX, after which fly on to Tokyo. As soon as we acquired to LA, we took the direct in a single day flight to Haneda. Our flight took off at 12:50 am PST (which was virtually 3 within the morning Austin time), however our greatest guess was to remain up till we may cross out on the airplane. This was troublesome however value it as a result of as soon as we landed, it was simpler to regulate to the time zone.

The place to Keep: Greatest Tokyo Inns

Identical to any main metropolis, there isn’t any scarcity of fantastic motels in Tokyo. Relying in your finances and preferences, it’s possible you’ll wish to begin by determining what neighborhood you wish to be your own home base and analysis motels round there. For those who’re in search of a extra luxurious expertise, take into account staying within the Ginza or Shinjuku districts. For those who’re in search of one thing on the extra hipster/fashionable facet, the Shibuya and Asakusa districts have nice lodge choices.

Peninsula Lodge Tokyo

Centrally positioned and solely a five-minute taxi experience from the Tokyo Central Practice Station, the Peninsula Lodge was the best house base for our keep. The employees was extremely heat and pleasant, and the 23-story lodge boasts unimaginable views of Ginza and the imperial palace. The rooms are embellished in a mixture of conventional Japanese and trendy types mirroring the old-meets-new vibe of Tokyo itself.

Highlights of our keep included the expansive indoor swimming pool, health heart, and splendid spa, and the every day breakfast is a can’t-miss. We have been grateful to spend our first journey to town at such an iconic Tokyo establishment.

Trunk Lodge

This lodge got here extremely advisable by so many mates, and after we stopped by for a espresso we may see why. The foyer is fashionable and buzzing with folks working and hanging out. It’s positioned conveniently in Shibuya so that you’re steps away from a few of the most superb eating places and procuring in all of Tokyo.

Aman Lodge Tokyo

For those who’re capable of splurge, this lodge was fairly spectacular. Pals of ours who had stayed there mentioned it was an over-the-top expertise. We stopped by for afternoon tea and have been blown away by the smooth, trendy interiors and unimaginable service. It’s positioned within the Otemachi district and close to all main metro traces.

The place to Eat in Tokyo

Tokyo is a foodie’s paradise, and it’s powerful to slender down the restaurant choices when you may have a whole lot of hundreds of world-class eating places to select from. Positively attempt to plan forward and make reservations when you possibly can, as a result of a number of the perfect eating places are small and might solely accommodate just a few tables. In case you have entry to a lodge concierge, they’re an incredible useful resource for recommending spots and serving to navigate reservations.

Eating places

Seirinkan and Savoy. Didn’t look forward to finding the perfect pizza of your life in Japan? Neither did we. These two pizza eating places are world-renowned and for good cause.

Eatrip. This place might be tough to seek out however serves contemporary farm-to-table dishes in an creative method. The menu modifications recurrently based mostly on what’s in season.

Ol by Oslo Brewing Firm. While you’ve had sufficient Japanese meals and your taco cravings hit, this tiny brewery within the coronary heart of Shibuya has an unimaginable taco truck exterior that even we Austinites have been impressed with. Plus, the beers on draft are refreshing after a day of strolling round within the solar.

Narukiyo. For those who’re in search of enjoyable, hilarious vibes, and nice Japanese meals, that is your spot. There isn’t any menu at this restaurant and the meals is served Omakase type, so that they’ll preserve bringing it out till you inform them you’re performed. One of the best factor we ate was the grilled Wagyu beef.

Yakumo Saryo. Once we requested a buddy who’s traveled to Tokyo many occasions what her favourite restaurant was, this was her reply. Beforehand a non-public membership, this restaurant was reservation-only and Omakase type. Most of the dishes are ready proper subsequent to the desk and the interiors are stunning.

Sushi Ginza Onodera. We didn’t get an opportunity to eat right here however we heard this can be a great place for a few of the highest-quality sushi in all of Ginza. It’s open for each lunch and dinner however reservations are required.

Tsukiji Fish Market. A world hub for seafood, that is the place all the sushi cooks and five-star motels come to supply their fish. It’s one of many largest and busiest fish markets on the planet and the out of doors space is claimed to be an incredible place to purchase contemporary seafood, produce and different Japanese items.

Fuku. Situated in Shibuya, this Michelin-starred restaurant is persistently ranked as top-of-the-line in Tokyo. We didn’t get to eat right here however I’ve heard nice issues about their progressive dishes just like the foie gras and wagyu beef tataki.

Kondo. One other Michelin-star restaurant serving a few of the greatest sushi and tempura round. The restaurant solely has 10 seats and each visitor is served by the pinnacle chef himself.

Yakumo. This restaurant within the Aoyama district is a superb choice if you happen to’re trying to take pleasure in conventional Japanese meals together with sushi and kaiseki delicacies.

Maisen Aoyama. This restaurant was advisable for its high-quality tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlets).

Cafés and Treats

Banana Juice. After loads of Japanese meals, I used to be craving a smoothie—and banana juice was the closest factor. Cease by this tiny store tucked into an alleyway in Ginza and order one among their banana-based blended concoctions for a wholesome milkshake-like deal with.

Path. A French café that serves espresso and pastries through the day and scrumptious European-inspired delicacies at evening. Camille beloved the croissants at this little café and the lady is aware of her croissants.

Chatei Hatou. A comfy café with espresso and pastries that provides off an old-world vibe. Come right here for the slow-drip espresso and nostalgia.

Camelback. Tiny take-out café with Brooklyn vibes and the MOST unimaginable sandwiches and low.

7-Eleven. Belief us. The 7-Elevens in Japan are spectacular. You could find some superb steals if you peruse the aisles.

What to Do in Tokyo: The Sights

Artwork Galleries

Mori Artwork Museum. A recent artwork museum with rotating exhibitions. It is a good one to dip your toes into the fashionable artwork scene in Tokyo and might be explored in 1-2 hours.

Nationwide Museum of Fashionable Artwork. Based in 1952, this museum holds a powerful 100,000+ works of up to date artwork. For those who’re an artwork lover this can be a must-stop.

TeamLab Planets. For those who’re in search of a extra immersive artwork expertise, TeamLab Planets is a digital artwork museum that’s enjoyable for any age. My husband and I acquired to expertise artwork in an entire new method at this museum. Strive strolling by the rainbow water barefoot or wading your method by a room fully made of froth.

Temples and Shrines

Meiji Shrine: Whereas Tokyo is a contemporary metropolis, it’s nonetheless crammed with wealthy historical past and historic websites. The Meiji Shrine is without doubt one of the hottest and lies in a forest within the coronary heart of town. It was accomplished in 1920 and the grounds cowl over 170 acres with stunning strolling trails. It’s the proper escape from the hustle and bustle of town.

Go to a Sumo Event

One in all my greatest regrets from the journey was not attending the Sumo nationwide championship match that was happening whereas we have been in Tokyo. I’ve heard from mates that that is an unforgettable expertise and I plan on attending one subsequent time.

Go to Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Crossing is without doubt one of the busiest intersections on the planet and lies in the midst of probably the most standard procuring districts. At any level, you possibly can see hundreds of individuals crossing the crosswalks directly. It’s a bit chaotic at occasions however a good way to expertise the vitality and pleasure of town.


Daikanyama T-Web site. It is a store to get misplaced in. It’s additionally an architectural gem with beautiful design, a stunning café, and rooms lined with books, stationery, kitchenware, and extra. I may have spent hours on this retailer.

Beams. This Japanese clothes retailer is crammed with beautiful males’s and girls’s choices. Camille and Adam each discovered nice items right here.

Ginza. This neighborhood is thought for high-end procuring and luxurious items. You could find every little thing from designer garments and purses to wonderful artwork and jewellery.

Harajuku and Shimokitazawa. Come across classic procuring, streetwear, and classy cafés and eating places.


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