Welcome to another travel guide! This time we are in Tokyo, Japan.
Trip #13 this year!
Take a seat and enjoy the journey through Tokyo with us.
Oh boy, was it a long trip. The longest we’ve done so far. We had a stop in Minneapolis and then 12h flight to Tokyo. Even though the flight was so long it passed by so quickly! We were lucky and the seat in our row was empty so we got lots of space. I got myself so busy with writing about our trip to Lake Tahoe that I didn’t even notice we were about to land.
I ordered an Asian Vegetarian meal because I knew I will get Indian 😀 I had this meal before on our flight to Europe.
The first thing that hit me after leaving the airport was how clean Tokyo is. You won’t find even single rubbish laying around.
We stayed in HOTEL THE CELESTINE TOKYO SHIBA. I highly recommend this hotel. It’s only a few minutes away from the subway station, and you can get anywhere from there. The rooms are really nice, you will get pour-over coffee, pajamas and a full set of toiletries – I mean FULL! Brush, comb, razor, hair ring, makeup remover, toner, gel. I was so impressed! I wish every hotel will provide you with so many necessities, it would make traveling so much lighter.
The view from our room was breathtaking! The one not foggy day I woke up to the view of MT. Fuji!
Our hotel was close to Shiba Park. That was the very first place we went to after dropping off our luggage. You will quickly notice that there are many temples around Tokyo. They are open to the public and everyone is welcomed. You can take pictures and videos but it is a temple so please be mindful of what you doing.
Some of the interesting things in the park:
Zojoji Temple is the head temple of the Jodo sect of Japanese Buddhism. The tower that you can see on the back is the Tokyo Tower.
Shiba Tōshōgū located inside Shiba Park, just beside the Buddhist temple Zōjō-ji, an important Jōdo-shū temple and popular attraction, and close to Tokyo Tower
Gate of Daitokuin Mausoleum loctaed between the Zōjō-ji Temple and the Prince Park Tower,
Don’t be afraid of public transport in Tokyo.
The subway system in Tokyo is great! It’s easy to find your way around. All the lanes have a name in Japanese, English but also a color and a number. You can easily find the right train by using google maps. It will also tell you where exactly you should get in for an easier exit.
All the stations are so clean it’s hard to believe, and also have the cleanest public restrooms I’ve ever seen.
I am making a separate video about ‘Taking a Subway in Tokyo’ – stay tuned!
Sensoji Temple in Asakusa is the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo (and probably also the busiest). When approaching the temple, visitors first enter through the Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate), the outer gate of Sensoji Temple and the symbol of Asakusa and the entire city of Tokyo. If you want to know more about the history of the temple, you can read it here.
A shopping street of over 200 meters, called Nakamise, leads from the outer gate to the temple’s second gate, the Hozomon. Alongside typical Japanese souvenirs, crafts, and sweets.
The huge bronze incense burner, in front of the Main Hall is there to bathe hands and faces in the smoke-it’s a charm to ward off illnesses-before climbing the stairs to offer their prayers.
The most beautiful garden I’ve seen in Tokyo. This gem is located right in the middle of the city and it’s gorgeous.
Hama Rikyu is a 10-15 minute walk from JR Shimbashi Station or a 5-10 minute walk from Shiodome Station.
Near the entrance is an impressive 300-year-old pine tree.
If you want to experience the traditional tea ceremony find Nakashima Tea House in the park.
A short walk from the Hamarikyu Gardens you will find the Tsukiji Market. If you smell fish, you are on the right path 😉
It’s a busy market with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, local treats, souvenirs, and small restaurants. That’s where you will find the freshest sushi!
You might be surprised that the sushi you know it’s different from the sushi in Japan. They mostly have nigiri sushi and the rolls they have are filled with fish eggs.
And as you might know Japan is crazy about matcha, you can eat everything that tastes like it. And honestly, most of this stuff is really good. Like this matcha ice cream – a must-try!
The big giant head roars on the hour between noon and 8pm – complete with suitably menacing city-destroying music, laser lights and smoke. The Godzilla head is located atop the Toho building Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward. If you walk to the building from the Shinjuku Station you’ll see him. It’s really hard to miss it 😉
Looking for upmarket shopping? Ginza is a place to go to. In Ginza Six 13-story mall you will find dining, over 200 stores, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, and cafes.
Ueno Onshi Park
The first park in Japan, famous for viewing cherry blossoms. Unfortunately at the time, we were there there was no cherry blossom. The park is huge, you will find there a zoo, art gallery, and museum. We didn’t spend there too much time because we felt yes it is nice, but there is not much for us to do there. So we decided to move on to the next spot. We knew there is still so much waiting for us!
“Akihabara is a buzzing shopping hub famed for its electronics retailers, ranging from tiny stalls to vast department stores like Yodobashi Multimedia Akiba. Venues specializing in manga, anime, and video games include Tokyo Anime Center, for exhibits and souvenirs, and Radio Kaikan with 10 floors of toys, trading cards, and collectibles. Staff dressed as maids or butlers serve tea and desserts at nearby maid cafes.”
Also if you are a Mario Kart fun you will be happy to know that you can dress up as your favorite character and drive a kart on the streets!
Super Potatoe (スーパーポテト 秋葉原店) is the main store in the district known for its video game, anime, and manga retail business. If you happen to visit it make sure to go to the top floor to play some of the old school games.
Akhinabara – Maid Cafe
Another interesting thing to do in that area is to visit Made Cafe. I think that was one of the weirdest things we’ve done in Japan 😀 You will see a lot of confused foreigners there 😉
They won’t let you take pictures nor videos. Selfie is ok, but no pictures of them.
All the waitresses are dressed as.. maids hence the name. Everything is pink and cute, you can get some sweet treats as well as a normal meal. I’ve never been to a place like this so it was a completely new experience for me. They do speak English but sometimes there will be a language barrier. They will give you a cute band to wear, you will repeat sentences without having no idea what they mean and be a part of a show that you have no clue what is about 😀 I hope it sounds like fun to you!
In the end, you will be able to take a picture with your waitress, they print it on the spot so you will have a nice souvenir.
Furoshiki (風呂敷) is a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth traditionally used to transport clothes, gifts, or other goods. I think it’s such a great idea to do that! Especially now during the Christmas season, you can notice how much wrapping paper we use. And most of it it’s not recyclable! I want to learn more about this and use it in the future.
One of the things that Japan is known for is, of course, green tea. You will quickly notice that you can buy there pretty much anything that tastes like green tea. If you are looking to buy good quality tea I recommend Ippodo Tea Co. You can taste the tea you are interested in, sand the staff is really knowledgable if it comes to different types of green tea.
I’ve never seen so many flavors of KitKat’s! Green tea, purple potato, wasabi, strawberry, black tea, orange, and more! Keep some space in the suitcase because you will want to take some of these with you 😉
I couldn’t leave Japan without buying some of their cosmetics. Let me tell you this: I am set with sheets masks for a year 😀 You can get packs of 30 sheet masks! If it comes to prices it varies but most of the stuff I got was quite cheap. The big back of sheet masks was about $20.
There is a separate post about the cosmetics coming up, stay tuned!
Vending machines can be found pretty much on every corner. You can get water, tea, and coffee. It’s so convenient. You don’t have to walk around with a water bottle or worry about how to stay hydrated. And don’t worry about public restrooms, they are also everywhere (and they are super clean!)
There is such much to do in Tokyo, seven days is definitely not enough. Especially when the jetlag kicks in. We’ve not seen everything we wanted to but that’s ok because we’ve seen quite a bit.
Some of the places we didn’t have a chance to see and are not in this travel guide but I think they might be worth to see:
– Robot Restaurant
– teamLab Borderless
– Kawaii Monster Cafe
– Yayoi Kusama Museum
– Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens
– Tokyo Skytree
Next year we are planning on visiting Japan again. This time we hope to go there to see cherry blossom and take a trip to Mt. Fuji. Stay tuned for the next Tokyo travel guide!
Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Cabo San Lucas