Your First Time in Tokyo



Description:

A labyrinthine tangle of nameless narrow alleys, smoky eateries, businessmen on bikes charging down the sidewalk, strange smells, exotic eats, surly sumo wrestlers, unmarked doors reverberating with bass beats, and indecipherable street signs: Tokyo can be an intimidating place.

Of course, that's before you step back and realize that the street signs also give information in English, the smoke is coming from top-quality Japanese beef sizzling on the barbecue, and that businessman will gladly step off his bike to give you directions - possibly in fluent English. And it's all connected by what is quite possibly the most awesome train network in the world.

Indeed, you'll quickly find that nothing in central Tokyo is more than a five-minute walk from a metro station. And, once you get used to Tokyo's layout, walking or riding a bike through your day is by far the most rewarding way of getting around.

It's best to think of Tokyo not as one cohesive city, but rather a huge conglomeration of smaller "towns" that happen to butt right up against one another. Don't be afraid to take a day in, say, Shinjuku, and get to know the place inside out, sniffing out the spots that seem best to you as you take a leisurely walk around. Tokyo is not a city to be taken in all at once, although the excellent transportation infrastructure means that it is possible.

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Author: Alex


Day 1 - Tokyo


Yes, it's easy to cover a lot of ground in one day in Tokyo (and you would have to if you wanted to catch all the things to see and do listed below), but you're much better off choosing one or two a day, and centering your exploratory strolls around each. Senso-ji, for example, is a must-see Tokyo temple, but it's also the center of the sprawling, traditional neighborhood of Asakusa. Easily a half day of trinket-toting sightseeing.

On the other hand, there are several neighborhoods listed below (Shinjuku, Shibuya, Akihabara, and Ueno) that could take around a day of your time just to truly take in. The best course of action here is to step out of the station and walk with the crowd, stopping when you chance upon something (maybe a museum, a standing sushi bar, or a ceramics shop) that catches your interest.


1

Akihabara

Location:

Soto-Kanda 1,3 & 4-chome
101-0021 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 3 5321 3077
visit website


2

Senso-Ji Temple

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Location:

2-3-1 Asakusa
Taito-ku
111-0032 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3842 0181
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3

Shibuya

Location:

Area around Shibuya Station
Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 03 5321 3077
visit website


4

Ueno Park

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Location:

Ueno Koen
Taito-ku
110-0007 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3201 3331 (Tourist information)


5

Shinjuku

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Location:

Shinjuku
163-0601 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 3 5321 3077
visit website


6

Tsukiji Central Fish Market

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Location:

Oedo Tsukijishijo or Hibiya Tsukiji station
Chuo-ku
Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

visit website


7

Imperial Palace

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Location:

Kokyo Higashi Gaien
Chiyoda-ku
100-0001 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3213 1111


8

Tokyo Tower

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Location:

4-2 Shiba Koen
Minato-ku
105-0011 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3433 5111
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9

Meiji Jingu Shrine

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Location:

1-1 Kamizono-cho
Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku
151-0053 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3379 5511
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10

Yoyogi Park

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Location:

2-1 Yoyogi-Kamizono-cho
Shibuya-ku
151-0052 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3469 6081


Day 2 - Tokyo


So it sounds cliché, but Tokyo's eateries really do cater to a huge variety of tastes and budgets. You could end up spending 2,000 yen for a couple pieces of prime sushi (and it would totally be worth it at Daiwa!), or 500 for a full-on Japanese-style set lunch (rice topped with beef or pork, served alongside miso soup, nori, pickles, and salad) at Yoshinoya.

Wherever you sink in your chopsticks, you'll be surprised by the difference between western stereotypes of Japanese cuisine and the real thing. That's right, they don't top sushi with Sriracha hot sauce outside of California, and it only takes one trip to a ramen joint to figure out that Japanese food is not all tofu and sprouts.


1

Daiwa Sushi

Location:

Tsukiji Market Building No.6
No.6 Chuo Shijo Building
Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 3 3479 5820


2

Gyutetsu

Location:

2-13-6 Kichijoji Honcho
2F O&K Building, Musashino-shi
Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 422 20 8484
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3

Ninja Akasaka

Location:

2-14-3 Akasaka
Tokyu Plaza 1f
100-0014 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 03 5157 3936
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4

Ichiran

Location:

4-11-11 Roppongi
Roppongi GM Building 2 F
106-0032 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 3 3796 7281
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5

Yoshinoya

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expert pick

Location:

6-1-6 Roppongi
Minato-ku
106-0032 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 5772 6253


Day 3 - Tokyo


The Japanese seem to have taken the idea of "scene" to the extreme. A trip to the park on a Sunday will show you just how serious Tokyo hipsters are about their scene: the rockabilly kids are out there sock-hopping in leather and poodle skirts every week to prove it.

It comes as no surprise, then, that Tokyo's nightlife revolves around one's scene of choice, whether it's Roppongi for classic foreigner-friendly hip-hop clubs, Shibuya's Womb for world-renowned DJs in droves, Jazz Spot "J" for homegrown vibes, Shimo-Kita's Mosaic for live indie shows, or Asakusa's Engei Hall for a taste of traditional comedy (if you've got the language skills to comprehend it).

One thing to remember is that Tokyoites make their choice for the night's entertainment early, and are rarely to be seen still searching for a hole to drink in past the last train of the night. Plan accordingly.


1

Womb

expert pick

Location:

2-16 Maruyama-cho
150-004 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 3 5459 0039
visit website


2

Jazz Spot "J"

Location:

5-1-1 Shinjuku
Shinjuku-ku
160-0022 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3354 0335
fax: +81 3 3354 0355
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3

Ageha

expert pick

Location:

2-2-10 Shinkiba
136-0082 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 3 5534 1515
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4

Asakusa Engei Hall

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Location:

1-34-12 Asakusa
Taito-ku
111-0032 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3841 6545
fax: +81 3 3841 6569
visit website


5

Mosaic

Location:

Kitazawa 2-2-14
Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 3 5787 4559
fax: +81 3 5787 4560
visit website


Day 4 - Tokyo


Had enough of Tokyo's mind-numbingly huge collection of must-see sites? You're not alone. Get away from the crowds of tourists and join... the crowds of Japanese people! The natives like to do some tourism of their own, whether for ogling fancy new gadgets, cheering on favorite sumo wrestlers, or getting a much-needed glimpse of green.


1

Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation

Location:

2-41, Aomi
Koto-Ku
135-0064 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: 81-3-3570-9151
fax: 81-3-3570-9150
visit website


2

Ryogoku Sumo Stadium

Location:

1-3-28 Yokoami
Sumida-Ku
130-0015 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: 81-03-3623-5111 (in Japanese)
visit website


3

Mt. Takao Momiji Festival

Location:

Mt. Takao
Takaomachi
190-0884 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 3 5211 2171
fax: +81 3 5211 2180
visit website


4

Golden Gai

Location:

1-1-10 Kabukicho
Shinjuku-ku
160-0021 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3320 3331 (Tourist Information)


5

Nikko National Park Day Trip from Tokyo

Location:

Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

visit website


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