Discover six of the best things to do in Tokyo Erin Bogar, by author.
Split the Boat from Asakusa to Odaiba
Asakusa is home to Tokyo’s oldest temple, Senso-ji. It’s a district. Nakamise Dori, the road leading up to Senso-ji, is full of shops selling brightly colored kimonos, noren (tapestries traditionally wrapped at store and cafe entrances to protect from sun and dust), and all kinds of delicious traditional foods like okonomiyaki (savory sandwiches with many components ) and tako yaki (fried octopus sausage chunks ). Following a visit to Senso-ji, I recommend taking a stroll round the Sumida River and grabbing the ship to Odaiba.
View Tokyo from Above
Eat Sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market
The minute journey cruises along the Sumida River, fishing boats that are past, under bridges, and into Tokyo Bay. Odaiba is a manmade island in the bay using architecture, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, the Aqua City shopping complex, and Venus Fort, a mall built to seem like a town. The portion of Odaiba will be the views of Tokyo Bay, Rainbow Bridge through the day and decorated in the nighttime, Tokyo Tower, and the mini Statue of Liberty of Tokyo.
Watch a Sumo Match
In all directions like a universe of steel and concrete, Tokyo grows from a perch over the town. The Roppongi Hills Mori Tower observation deck has 360 degree views for example the Rainbow Bridge to Odaiba, and closing up views of Tokyo Tower, the orange and white Eiffel Tower replica of the city. The entrance fee for the monitoring deck features a ticket to the Mori Art Museum with rotating modern displays like Andy Warhol 15 Minutes Eternal and Aida Makoto’s Monument for the Nothing. Mori Art Museum is part of ATRo, the Art Triangle of Roppongi, which includes Mori Art Museum, The National Art Center, and Suntory Museum of Art.
Go out for drinks in Golden Gai
Tokyo’s newest and tallest tower, Tokyo Skytree (pictured below), has two viewing decks. The Tembo Galleria at 1476 ft (450m), the planet’s greatest sky walk, along with Tembo Deck at 1148 ft (350m). In its base is Tokyo Solamachi, a village of space together with the Sumida Aquarium and Planetarium Tenku, shops, and restaurants.
Shop in Harajuku
The view in the city is at The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, which has two tracking decks. In the decks you can see Shinjuku’s skyscrapers and on a transparent day Mount Fuji.
Arrive at the marketplace by 4am if you are expecting to become among those 120 people permitted to observe the predawn tuna auction. Although it’s early, you need to be alert because the group is escorted around the marketplace while fishmongers buzz ago on carts with patience.
Come to walk through lanes and produce and taste the catches of the day at local sushi restaurants if you’re not an early morning man, open from approximately 5am-Noon.
January, May, and September Have Been Sumo time in Tokyo.
This old game is still going strong during Japan. Sumo is part ritual, part game and Shinto rites like salt purification are a significant part of the contest. Sumo wrestlers are obtain celebrity status in Japan and the competitors quickly athletes. Go to Ryoguku Kokugikan Sumo Hall and watch two sumos like tree trunks struggle to be the first to push against their opponent.
Golden Gai is a little area of tightly packed bars located behind the Best Western in Shinjuku. This area is popular with actors, directors, writers, and musicians, but not many of pubs are available to visitors — look for signs in English as an indication of a foreigner locale. The lanes and buildings stay a item of the past of Tokyo. Golden Gai transitioned from post-WWII black marketplace to brothels and finally to pubs when prostitution became prohibited in the 1950s. The area is a reminder of what the roads of Tokyo were like and has remained mostly unchanged.
Harajuku’s backstreets relaxed cafes, and are all filled with funky shops selling colorful stalls offering savory and sweet crepes, Little Bo Peep style dresses. The Takeshita Dori of harajuku is overrun with adolescent fashionistas sporting Tokyo fashion crazes like My Little Pony style and Lolita Goth. Past Takeshita Dori and deeper into Harajuku’s side roads are fine pedestrian friendly thoroughfares in which you are going to discover a calmer setting with trendy surfer vibe theatres and charming cafes like the British Indian Café, look for the red exterior and green awning and go inside to appreciate Indian curry coupled with exquisite tea.
Erin Bogar is a freelance travel writer, personal coach, along with the Tokyo Destination Page Curator for AFAR.com. She’s lived in Buenos Aires, Nagoya, and Tokyo and covers expat life, art and design, food, and experience travel at BlaineandErin.com. Erin and her husband Blaine chose the world is amazing and far too large to remain trapped behind desks. So they have made it their aim. Follow their adventures on Twitter and Facebook.