Things to do in Tokyo
Tokyo is a city like no other; a city bursting with modern boldness mixed with sprinkles of tradition. It is a city so fascinating that you will want to return again and again. Tokyo is a city that features high on so many travel bucket lists and for good reason.There is no city in the world that offers so much from zipping around in a Go-Kart, getting your fortune told at a temple, relaxing in the Emperor’s garden to sleeping in what can only be described as a coffin. Here are our top things to do in Tokyo.
The Shibuya Crossing
The Shibuya crossing is an iconic tourist spot in Tokyo and one you really shouldn’t miss out on . With over half a million people passing through each day, it is one of the worlds busiest intersections. When the traffic lights at the junction turn red at the same time to allow everyone to cross, prepare to dive into what can only be described as organised chaos.
The Robot Restaurant
Right in the heart of Kabukicho is The Robot Restaurant which has become one of Tokyo’s bucket list destinations. The infamous restaurant, which cost 10 billion yen to build, is probably one of the worlds wackiest places to eat. Prepare for a sensory overload, flashing neon lights, human and robot performers.
Karaoke booths are all over Tokyo, usually on the second floor upwards of high-rise buildings. The Japanese love nothing more than to let their hair down and sing to their heart’s content in a private karaoke booth. It can seem a little intimidating at first but after a while, you’ll forget where you are whilst blasting out the lyrics to songs like ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Most Karaoke places often have costumes and wigs to make the experience even more interesting!
There's nothing quite like the fish market in Tokyo which recently opened in a new venue. The new Toyosu Fish Market is near Shijomae Station, on the Yurikamome Line. The tuna auction is the highlight of the day but make sure to get there early if you want to see it. The new fish market is twice the size of Tsukiji and it is the worlds largest fish auction. It is free to enter the market but if you want a guide and the best sushi recommendations then you can book a ticket here. I highly recommend sticking around for breakfast where you will eat the best sushi of your life.
Asakusa is the perfect place to experience a more traditional side of Tokyo. The best way to get to Asakusa is by boat which travels along the Sumida River. There are perfect views of the Rainbow Bridge and a glimpse at other Tokyo districts along the way. It takes around 35 minutes and costs around $9. Once in Asakusa, make sure to visit Tokyo’s oldest temple, Sensoji Temple. Take photos of the iconic Kaminarimon gate, walk along Nakamise Street and find your fortune ‘Omikuji’ for a small donation.
Sumo wrestling is a sport steeped in Japanese history since the early ages. It is a national sport of Japan and the only country in the world where it is practised professionally. So be sure to add it to your Tokyo bucket list! While it's only possible to see tournaments at certain times of the year, that doesn’t mean you can’t experience sumo wrestling during your visit to Tokyo. Early morning sumo training sessions are often open to the public.
Did you know that you can zip around the streets of Tokyo in a go-kart? Voyagin offers an amazing discounted deal which includes an English speaking guide, GPS and plenty of stops for photos. With Voyagin, the cost is €40/$45 for a two-hour trip. However, be aware that the streets of Tokyo are notoriously busy and being disrupted by go-karts does not fit in well with the organised chaos of Tokyo. You must also have an international driving licence and often travel insurance.
Cook with the locals
Have you ever wanted to learn how to cook authentic Japanese food? Well, now is your chance as there is an amazing cooking school called airKitchen in Tokyo which provides cooking classes for tourists of all ages. What is so unique and inspiring about this cooking school is that many of the classes are taught by Japanese locals in their own home. There is also a huge variety of classes to choose from; ramen cooking, bento boxes, tempura, sukiyaki, vegetarian, gyoza, okonomiyaki, sushi and so many more. And best of all you get to eat and share the food afterwards.
The Imperial Palace
Japan’s Imperial family live on the grounds of the Imperial Palace in the centre of Tokyo. While the palace itself is not open to the public except on the 2nd of January and the 23rd February (the Emperors birthday), the grounds around the palace are open. There are stunningly beautiful parks with moats and stone walls dotted all around the Imperial Palace. Emperor Naruhito ascended the throne at the end of April 2019 and the first holiday to commemorate his birthday will take place in 2020. This is a very special celebration for all Japanese people.
Visit one of the Disney Parks
When it comes to Disney, Tokyo is unique in that it offers both Disney Land and Disney Sea. They are both in close proximity to each other and by booking a ticket you can get a flexible ticket which means you can decide on the day which park you want to visit.
Traditional Kabuki Theatre
Enjoy a Kabuki theatre performance in the centre of Tokyo which is often made up of nationwide famous actors. Kabuki is a unique form of Japanese theatre where the performers combine mime, dance, song and almost violent make-up to deliver a stunning performance. It’s possible to get English translations but honestly, you don’t really need it as the performances are so powerful.
The Mori Building Digital Art Museum
The Mori Building Digital Art Museum opened in Tokyo in 2018 in the Odaiba area of Tokyo. It is the very first digital art museum in the world and this 10,000 sq m space uses 520 computers and 470 projectors to create an experience that you will never forget. You are free to wander around the museum whatever way you like, let your curiosity take you through. The museum moves with you in that the art almost surrounds you. The museum is mostly known for its stunning light installations. You have probably seen such photos on Instagram thousands of times. The two most popular installations are the Crystal World and the Forest of Resonating Lamps. This museum is for everyone; prepared to be awed, inspired and completely immersed in an incredible setting. Prices start at around $33 and it's always advisable to pre-book tickets online.