Tokyo is the type of place you could go over and over, or even live in, and never actually know everything worth doing. Which is what makes it such a fun and amazing destination to visit, but also makes it very hard to write a guide about – I would need to create one the size of a phone book to impart all there is to know. So think of this guide as a small slice of that delicious Tokyo pie, do these things but also do some random exploring, you literally never know what you’ll find. This is Tokyo after all!
Quick Guide To Tokyo
The first time we stayed in Tokyo we were in a simple hotel in Shinjuku, great location though! The second time I stayed at the Conrad Hotel near Shimbashi.
See & Do
Take in a serene morning at Meiji Jingu – a gorgeous shrine and huge garden that you could (and should) spend hours in.
You’ll want to do a day checking out Takeshita Dori, Harajuku, Omotesando and Aoyama, all of which are in walking distance and make for a very special day (near Meiji Shrine too!) . I know it might be seen as cheesy these days to see all the costume shops and waffle stands, but admittedly it’s my favourite part of the city. Check out my guide to this area here.
Check out Tsukiji Fish Market, it’s incredible and so beautiful. Lots of people say to go at 4am and see the tuna auction, but apparently these days it’s pretty tough to get into. We went at 8am and had breakfast in the surrounding sushi stalls, and although I know it’s probably better to go earlier, I still felt the vibe was pretty great.
Check out Mingeikan, the Japan Folk Crafts Museum for a look at Tokyo’s best pottery, textiles and lots of other things to get you inspired.
Head up to the old area of Ueno and spend an afternoon wandering around Ueno Park.
Visit the traditional area of Yanaka, we stopped off for a drink at Yanaka Beer Hall which is in a cute building with a bakery attached.
Naturally you’ll want to see the crossing in Shibuya, talk about organised chaos!
Oriental Bazaar for three levels of amazing souvenirs. I love all the cups I got there.
Head to Kapital in Ebisu for amazing denim and a gorgeous concept store.
Try not to spend all your money at the bookstore Daikanyama T site.
Stock up on homewares and decor pieces at Brick & Mortar.
Journey is a hip shop in Daikanyama worth visiting even just for the gorgeous old building.
Take a little while to ponder Cibone (I took pics of things I wanted to recreate when I got home!).
Oh and you’re going to want to spend lots of time in the cheap 100 yen stores, they have such cute things and… 100 yen!
Eat & Drink
Have some delicious yakitori at super cute Jomon Yakitori.
I love love loved Gen Yamamoto. At first I found it odd, 6 chairs, one cocktail maker and no music. However, once the cocktail tasting menu started and I tasted the best drinks I had ever had, everything made sense.
Gorgeous, chilled bar These is worth it for a pre dinner drink.
It may be 5 parts cheese to 5 parts ‘wtf’, but the Robot Restaurant is weird and wacky and you should go.
Your hipster friends will tell you to go to Omotesando Koffee, which you should. Hopefully you’ll be able to actually see some of the gorgeous minimalist interiors for all the people (the secret’s out!). Get coffee either way.
After a big day wandering Omotesando you’re going to want to line up for Maisen Tonkatsu, the yummiest pork cutlets served up in an old bathhouse. Try to sit downstairs at the bar if you can.
Eat the freshest sashimi in the minimalist surroundings of Cha Cha Hana.
And then head around the corner and pick a tiny bar amongst the streets of Golden Gai.
Good to know
Don’t tip in Japan, it’s seen as rude.
The subway is nowhere near as scary as it looks, and there will always be someone to help you if you need it!
Can never go past these crazy desserts.
Just hanging’ out with my airstream. Ya know?
So many gorgeous coloured kimonos… Everywhere!
Visiting Meiji Jingu
You’ll never get thirsty in Japan, because there’s always a vending machine near by.
Filling up on Sushi.
Make sure you get into the backstreets, it’s where all the action is.
More colourful designs…
Wishing spot at Meiji Jingu
I’ll take them all thanks.
Colourful octopi at Tsukiji.
Late night alleyway dinners…
Mornings and matcha.
Decorated kegs at Meiji Jingu
Could Tsukiji be any prettier? No.
Got any other tips? I know there soooooo much more to see than this. Can’t wait for next time! 🙂