I’d finally made it back to Japan and it was freakin’ cold there in February! I thought it would take me a while to come back since the tsunami struck. Although I only had a few days to prepare, this was an opportunity I wouldn’t miss. Japan is as beautiful as my first trip, both Tokyo and Osaka. This is a list of places / areas / attractions that have left an impression and those that I enjoyed visiting in Tokyo during those 2 trips.
Our Photo Taken by David of Malaysia Asia, Malaysian Travel Blogger
I grew up going to Disneylands and these two didn’t escape my radar. A half day isn’t enough for one Disney park and people usually have a hard time choosing between Tokyo Disneyland and Disneysea. I’ve written a separate post about the “Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea Debate” that could help you decide if you only have to choose one, along with the Disney Resort details and how to get there.
The Tokyo Tower (and the N Seoul Tower) is probably the closest I can get to the sight and feel of the Eiffel Tower. The designer actually drew inspiration from the Eiffel Tower (320 meters). When it was completed in 1958, it stood taller at 333 meters and became “the tallest self-supporting steel tower in the world”. It is a popular Tokyo icon where you can see Mt. Fuji and Tokyo at 360 degrees from a distance. Click here for Tokyo Tower Information and how to get there.
This area is famous for Tokyo’s oldest temple – the Senso-ji Temple, and its Thunder Gate. Admission is free and you are more than welcome to offer a prayer like the many people who come here. Click here for Senso-jiTemple Information and how to get there. Walk to the south of the temple and you’ll find the Nakamise Street. This street has rows of small stores selling souvenirs and Japanese snacks. One of the interesting streets in Asakusa is the Kappabashi Shopping Street (Kappabashi-dori – Kitchen Town). Restaurateurs come here to buy all kinds of kitchen stuff including those (very believable) plastic display food. Click here for more interestingplaces in Asakusa and how to get there.
If I have the chance to come back, I would spend more than half a day in Harajuku and I would go there on a weekend. Takeshita Street (Takeshita-dori – Ladies’ Street) is great for shopping and the whole area is ideal for walking and people watching (I just love the Japanese fashion sense, you can be anyone you want to be). You’ll see girls all dressed up and all dolled up, guys with their hats, people in costumes and even guys dressed up in girl’s clothes. (Trivia: our Osaka guide told us how to tell that the young girls (who haven’t graduated middle school yet) from the older ones – look at their virgin hair, the hair of those in school hasn’t been dyed to a different color yet). There are also high-end fashion houses along Omotesando Hills where it is less crowded. If it wasn’t that cold, I would have loved to go to the nearby Yoyogi Park and walk the trails all the way to the Meiji Shrine. Click here for more interestingplaces in Harajuku and how to get there.
If you are a techie, an anime fan, a Manga fan, a toy fan or a gamer, then the Akihabara area is the place for you. This is the land of Maid Cafes, Sega buildings, pachinko slots, gaming centers and gadgets. I met Darth Vader at LAOX. My friends bought second-hand Nintendos here for a very cheap price (3000 yen for 5 working units). Click here for more interesting placesin Akihabara and how to get there.
Various shopping malls and electronic malls can be found in the Shinjuku area. Our guide took the girls of our group to the Subnade, an underground shopping mall, to escape the cold while the guys were on their way to see the Kabuchiko, Tokyo’s red light district (we learned later that they couldn’t take in the February cold either and turned back haha). I would have gone with them to see the people in costume and eat at one of the small restaurants in the alleys of Shinjuku. Click here for more interestingplaces in Shinjuku and how to get there.
We lived at the Sunshine City Prince Hotel in the Ikebukuro area in my recent trip. I believe it deserves to be in this list of places to revisit. I like it better than Akihabara because I can also find electronic goods and malls here and there are streets that are for pedestrians only. It has an added indoor amusement park and an aquarium, which was just behind our hotel and which we missed. Click here for my review of the Sunshine City Prince Hotel and how to get there. Clickhere for other interesting places in Ikebukuro.
Shibuya is the last place I visited for this trip. I went to see a famous crossing and I was awed by the sight of so many people waiting. When the light turned green, people from all directions crossed the street in this busy intersection. I don’t know where all the people come from and where they are going and I could just watch them for a long time. I heard that there’s a Starbucks spot in a building nearby where you can do this. I missed the Hachiko Statue by the Shibuya Station, Tokyu Hands (which sells ballpens with erasable ink), Center Gai and the Spain Slope. Click here for more interestingplaces in Shibuya and how to get there.
Places I Missed
I missed watching a sumo wrestling fight, participating in a tea ceremony, going to the Tsukuji market, going to the Tokyo Anime Center, riding other heart-stopping roller coasters in a Japanese theme park, having a Japanese bath (sento), getting myself all dolled up and eating my heart out in the Ramen Museum. Sigh* Obviously, 3 days in Tokyo is not enough hahaha. These, I can definitely do on my own next time =)
I thank AirAsia X for flying me to Tokyo and our gracious guide for the bits of information you provided. It has sparked my interest to know more about Tokyo and to appreciate every single glimpse of these six areas I visited during this trip. It has also brought back memories from my first Tokyo trip, which made me include Tokyo Disneysea and Tokyo Tower in the list. I hope this list finds its way through the internet and spark the curiosity and desire of millions of people to revisit Japan. It’s still as beautiful as before.
Tell me below:
Where would you like to go in Tokyo? What are your must-see places in Tokyo and why? What are your must-do things in Tokyo and why? Can you name some other interesting places or things to do in Tokyo that are not in this list and haven't been suggested yet by other people below?