This restaurant on the 8th floor of the Seibu Ikebukuro department store serves kaitenzushi, conveyor belt sushi. Each seat features an iPad where guests may order pieces of sushi that are not currently running along the conveyor belt.
Located in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro area, this dessert shop specializes in miniature apple pies. Ringo, meaning "apple" in Japanese, sells freshly baked pies for 399 yen apiece. Filled with a mix of apples and custard cream and glazed with sweet sugar icing, Ringo's pies are a local favorite.
Akihabara is considered as the mecca for otaku. It is a wide shopping district for games, anime, manga and computer goods. Famous characters of anime are seen prominently on the shops in the area, and numerous maid cafés are found throughout the district.
Ameyoko (sweet shop alley) is a lively place lined with shops and vendors along and under the train running between Ueno Station and Akihabara Station. You can find anything from fish on sale, shoes, clothing, and many shops full of trinkets.
One of Japan's first parks, this central Tokyo 133-acre park contains various facilities such as museums and art museums, small lakes with boats for rent (row boats, cycle boats and swan boats), a zoo and more. Ueno Park is a popular destination for visitors from abroad as well as for locals and is a famous destination for cherry-blossom viewing.
Located in Ueno Park, Shitamachi Museum displays objects related to Tokyo's Shitamachi (literally Low City), where lower classes lived and worked. Shitamachi was a popular entertainment and shopping district which was very lively and crowded during the Edo period.
Located in the heart of Tokyo, in the Shinjuku area, the Robot Restaurant is a fun night filled with lights, glitter, neon, mirrors, dancers, and of course, robots - everything crazy in Japan rolled into one evening!
This popular tourist destination is located on the west side of Shinjuku Station. Essentially unchanged since the Showa Era (1926-1989), little alleys connect 60+ bars and restaurants in a tightly packed area. A few of the shops are open in the afternoon, but the recommended time to visit is after sun-down.
Opened in 1938, this family-owned nori (dried seaweed) shop is at the heart of Tsukiji's outer market. Tomoyoshi Ugai, the 3rd-generation owner, is a friendly man who can use basic English to explain the different types of nori, processing methods, food pairings and nutritional benefits. Visitors can sample various snack items such as nori-flavored wasabi. The shop is open from 7am to 2pm regularly. During the days where Tsukiji's wholesale fish market is closed, Hatoya is open from 8:30am to 2pm.
Formerly scheduled to move to Toyosu this November, 2016, the world’s largest wholesale fish market is set to remain at Tsukiji for another two years, which is great news for tourists who want to catch the tuna auction at the wholesale section. Only 120 visitors a day can visit the early morning auction which starts at 5am. But even if you aren’t an early riser, Tsukiji market can be enjoyed with a walk around the outer market which consists of many food stalls selling seafood rice bowls, ramen and other local delights. And outside the wholesale market there are rows of sushi shops, seafood bowl shops, yakitori, fried foods and other eateries meant to cater to the workers at the fish market, but now also catering to hordes of tourists.
With so many tourists flocking to the market, and an increasing number of shops selling souvenirs such as T-shirts and trinkets for tourists, it is easy to forget that this is actually a place of work crucial to the provision of fresh fish, fruits and vegetables to a majority of restaurants in Tokyo and the whole of Japan.
The specialty shops selling knives for various purposes as well as other cutlery and seasonings from bonito to tea leaves are a reminder that this is a place where the professionals come to shop as well. And of course, the many trucks and scooters zipping around the market. The area may not be suitable to visit with young children and pets, and be sure to check the website for dates that the market is closed other than Sundays.
Sometimes called Hamarikyu Teien, this park is typical of Edo-era gardens. The site was constructed by lord Tokugawa Tsunashige. Later, it became a Tokugawa shogun villa and an Imperial family palace. It has two wild duck hunting sites with ponds and plants, including a 300-year old tree.
Located in central Tokyo, the 333m-high Tokyo Tower was built in 1958 and provides a great bird’s eye view of Tokyo, Mt Fuji, and its sky-soaring counterpart, the Tokyo Skytree, on a clear day. This was Japan’s tallest structure until the completion of the Tokyo Skytree in 2012. The main observatory, at 150m high, can be reached via elevator or, if you’re feeling brave, a 600-step stairway, both of which are ticketed.
The Tokyo Tower sometimes holds special events on Valentine’s Day or during Christmas season, when the tower exterior is illuminated, and the club on the observatory deck level holds various live music events every night with various themes.
Great news for fans of manga One Piece, there is also an indoor One Piece theme park at the foot of the tower, the first large-scale One Piece theme park, where you can walk into interactive attractions featuring One Piece characters, watch live shows, eat character foods at the themed restaurant and buy original One Piece goods at the souvenir shop.
Pastry chef Sadaharu Aoki's boutique in Tokyo Midtown is located in the basement floor of the Galleria and sells cakes, macarons, chocolates and other pastries. The Midtown shop also features a seating area where customers may dine in with one drink order.
In addition to selling traditional Japanese confectioneries, this store has curated a selection of tea tools and unique tableware, all of which are available to purchase. Higashiya Ginza incorporates a modern-day tea salon, Sabo Teahouse, where a variety of green and herb teas can be paired with the wagashi sweets. Light meals are also served at the salon, which closes at 10 pm. Higashiya Ginza is closed on Tuesday if the Monday before is a public holiday (and therefore open to the public).
A central hub for many JR train lines, this station also services many subway lines as well as the Shinkansen (bullet trains). It is also a vibrant and busy area for shopping, dining and gift purchases.
The symbol of Asakusa, Sensoji Temple is known as the oldest temple in Tokyo, founded in 628 after two fishermen hauled up a small golden statue of Bodhisattva Kannon from the Sumida River and despite trying to get rid of it, it kept surfacing in their nets, so they decided to keep it. Their chief of the village, Hajino Nakamoto, being a devout Buddhist, recognized the statue as holy and enshrined it by remodelling his house into a small temple so that all in the village could worship Kannon.
Today, around 30 million visitors from throughout Japan and from abroad visit the temple every year. The huge lanterns hung at the Kaminari (Thunder) Gate are a landmark of the area, and taking a selfie here is a must. The temple is a popular spot for Japanese for hatsumode, or the first prayer of the year, when over three million visitors come in just the first three days of the new year. The Nakamisedori approach leading up to the temple is lined with shops selling traditional snacks and souvenirs, and makes for an entertaining walk.
The temple, located in the heart of old Edo, was where shoguns came to worship, including the first Edo shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, who offered up his prayers for the shogunate here. Sensoji was the guardian temple of the northeast gate and Zojoji Temple in Shiba, near Tokyo Tower, was meant to guard the southwest gate, and both temples were adopted as Tokugawa’s family temples. “Senso” is another way of reading the characters for Asakusa, and Tokugawa’s patronage made the Asakusa temple area the heart of Edo culture.
Hanayashiki is the oldest theme park in Tokyo and arguably one of the most popular. Regardless of your age or interest, you will find rides that interest you. The variety of rides and attractions here are wide and eclectic. Unlike many contemporary amusement parks, Hanayashiki has a vintage, charming feel to it and has many traditional, old fashioned attractions. A vast array of food and drink vendors are available for your convenience. Because the park is equipped with plenty of picnic tables, you'll have no problem finding a place to sit down and enjoy your food. Many prefer this park over others due to the shorter wait time for rides and the abundance of restrooms available throughout the park for your comfort.
Kappabashi Street, or Kitchen Town is lined with shops that sell restaurant supply goods, dishes, pots, pans, cooking utensils and also stores that sell plastic and wax food samples, famously used by many restaurants in their show windows.
Yokohama Chinatown is the largest Chinatown in Asia, with a history of over 150 years. There are many restaurants and shops, and the area is always crowded with tourists and gourmets. Chinatown is especially lively during the Lunar New Year (or Spring Festival), with performances and decorations.
This bakery and cafe is home to the edible creations of French pastry chef Dominique Ansel. Originally established in New York, the popular bakery opened in Japan in summer 2015 and offers the famed cronut as well as other fan favorites.
This is one of the most popular Shinto shrines for tourists and locals alike that is dedicated to the deified spirits of the Meiji Emperor and his consort, and is located near the trendy Harajuku area, just beside the JR Yamanote Line’s Harajuku station.
After the Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken passed away in 1912 and 1914 respectively, the people of Japan donated 100,000 trees from all over Japan and oversees to create the shrine grounds in commemoration of their contributions and virtues. The sprawling Meijijingu Shrine grounds was completed in 1920, covering an area larger than the Vatican City.
Every year over the first three days of the New Year over three million visitors come here to offer first prayers of the year. The long pebble pathed approach is surrounded by cedar trees, making for a serene and contemplative walk, perfect for new year resolution making and reflection. You will also see an impressive display of sake barrels here donated to the shrine by various sake brewers around Japan. People come here to pray for luck of all kinds, from wealth, health to good relationships and to get charms to ward off bad luck.
Nombei Yokocho (drunkards’ alley) is set away from the buzzing atmosphere of Shibuya and is like stepping back in time to see a slice of old Japan. There are many yakitori places to try out here (grilled chicken skewers). It's the perfect to stroll around, eat some snacks and have a few drinks.