Tokyo is an amazing city. I feel like I could have spent a month there and still wouldn’t have seen everything on offer. I only had a week and tried to cram in as much as possible. Here’s what I loved when I was there.
Free walking tours are a really good way to orient yourself in a city on your first day, then you can go back to places that looked good. I didn’t have time to do any of these but the night tour of Shibuya, and the Harajuku tour look good.
The subway there is in theory very easy to navigate but we got lost a couple of times. What tripped me up is that there are three different types of trains, each with their own lines. But I always just followed Google maps and it was very straightforward – always make sure that you’re going out the right exit and keep an eye on the colour/logo of the train you’re getting onto.
Definitely download Google Translate on your phone and get the Japanese dictionary. This helped us when we got lost.
Also we got pocket wifi instead of sim cards which was such a good call. We picked up a little hotspot thing at the airport, and just dropped it in a post box on our last day.
Catch the subway and get off at Harajuku. You’ll be right in front of Takeshita-dori (or Harajuku Lane) which is a cool street to walk down. It’s got about a million crepe shops which are all delicious. Just go into every store – we found some really cool random things just by wandering in and out. The Totti candy factory is cool just because I like bright colours and sugar haha.
Cat street is more sophisticated, it’s really cool and trendy. Worth walking down. It’s got cool cafes as well.
I found AMAZING ramen at a place called Oreryu. You order on a vending machine outside and take the ticket in and they bring it to you. It’s all in Japanese but there are pictures. Plus it was fun being like “hmmm what did I just order???”
We went to the Hedgehog cafe called Harry Hedgehog. I don’t know if it’s amazing re: animal welfare. They seemed to look after them and gave them breaks. It was pretty cute.
Tokyu plaza is a shopping centre that just has a really cool entrance if you want that sweet Insta.
The Kawaii Monster Cafe is just extremely HARAJUKU with bright coloured food and cute monsters everywhere?
Also there is a huge park right nearby called Yoyogi. It’s just really nice to walk around. I went on a Saturday and it was FILLED with people just hanging around and playing sports, it was such a nice vibe. At the entrance near Yoyogi station, there were a lot of food stalls. I got some amazing takoyaki (octopus balls) that tasted soooo damn good.
Shibuya crossing is that iconic super busy crosswalk. I waited at the edge and ran out as soon as the lights went green to get a pic in there on my own. Though…maybe it looks cooler with more people?
If you want a good view from above go to the Starbucks on the second floor of one of the buildings – you can’t miss it. Also head over to Shibuya Hikarie shopping mall and visit the Sky Lobby on 11th Floor.
If you like shopping, or just looking at wild shit, the shopping centre Shibuya 109 is overwhelming.
Genki Sushi is a super cool sushi train (probably just for white people lol) where you order on a screen and it zooms to you. If you go at lunch there will probably be a line but only like ~15 mins.
Don Quijote store is basically a giant discount store it is WILD there are noises coming at you from everywhere but it’s fun.
Basically just walk around the streets especially the alleyways where the McDonald’s is, there are so many cool places to just LOOK at.
Golden Gai is a tiny alleyway with cool bars, a good place to have a few drinks.
There’s a cute alleyway with restaurants called Memory Lane (lol it used to be called piss alley). It has super authentic looking old-style “restaurants” to get street food. Even if you don’t eat there it’s good to walk down, especially at night.
Go to the top of Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku for a FREE good view of the city. Apparently theres cheap breakfast and lunch there too. We went at night and it was hard to see anything because of the reflection, I recommend going during the day!
The Peak Bar at the top of the Park Hyatt has epic views (from Lost In Translation) and they do unlimited wine/cocktails for $58AUDfor three hours.
There is a delicious sushi train at Numazuko, we watched two Americans fight about Trump here it was great entertainment.
I didn’t try it but was told by a lot of people that Fujin Ramen is the best in the area.
This neighbourhood has such a cool vibe. It’s filled with vintage stores and little cafes that have amazing coffee, and definitely feels like where the cool kids hang out on the weekends. Frank cafe is an Aussie transplant, with great coffee and brekky items like avo toast. If you want something #instaworthy, go to Ballon D’Essai – they do intricate latte art and I got a bizarre but amazing iced coffee that you pour through a cloud. You have to see it to understand just what I mean.
Miscellaneous things to do:
The digital art museum is SO COOL. It’s packed and it’s pricey but lemme tell you it is WORTH IT. Don’t miss the upstairs bit with all the hanging lights, it’s very ~Tangled~ vibes. Make sure you buy your tickets beforehand and bring something to entertain you in the line.
Nezu shrine is a really beautiful temple in a park, definitely worth exploring. It’s got those iconic red “gates” that you see in pics.
I am obsessed with the shop Muji – it’s just cheap homewares and stationary and I find it very soothing lol. If you go, look at their food section it’s bizarre but I love it and I got obsessed with the white strawberries.
7/11 and Family Mart are convenience stores with some RANDOM as hell stuff in there, I definitely suggest wandering through them.