Tokyo - what should i do there?

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I'm off to Tokyo for a week in August. I've picked up a couple of tourist books and all they seem to have suggested is that I should go shopping while I'm there. So I thought I'd ask you well travelled ILX lot, what should i see while I'm in Tokyo?

jellybean (jellybean), Saturday, 31 May 2003 23:34 (seventeen years ago) link

Get in a fistfight. Tell a guy in a bar "Oreh no senshee nomeh" and then come back and tell whether they really all know karate over there or not.

Millar (Millar), Saturday, 31 May 2003 23:42 (seventeen years ago) link

The ULTIMATE Guide to Tokyo Shopping!!!!

search: harajuku, aoyama, shibuya
destroy: roppongi, ginza

phil-two (phil-two), Sunday, 1 June 2003 13:38 (seventeen years ago) link

oooh, what a fun site, phil. Do there really need to be 18 places to get prada in shinjuku though? What's up with that?

teeny (teeny), Sunday, 1 June 2003 22:45 (seventeen years ago) link

gygax! and phil-two and Mary to thread!

hstencil, Sunday, 1 June 2003 23:06 (seventeen years ago) link

but i'm already here!

phil-two (phil-two), Sunday, 1 June 2003 23:10 (seventeen years ago) link

[and yes, there DOES need to be 18 places to get Prada in Shinjuku because they're always packed to the gills]

[not quite like the Louis Vuitton stores though]

phil-two (phil-two), Sunday, 1 June 2003 23:11 (seventeen years ago) link

well stay here!

hstencil, Sunday, 1 June 2003 23:12 (seventeen years ago) link


The line at the Louis Vuitton Harajuku location:

phil-two (phil-two), Sunday, 1 June 2003 23:17 (seventeen years ago) link

Q: Can all those people really afford $800 handbags?
A: Yes! They can!

phil-two (phil-two), Sunday, 1 June 2003 23:19 (seventeen years ago) link

how can they considering how fucked Japan's economy is?

hstencil, Sunday, 1 June 2003 23:20 (seventeen years ago) link

OK, so besides shopping:

The fish market is really incredible although you have to wake up ass-early to see much of anything. Anything including really strangy fish. Eat them for breakfast, if you like.

Also, there's this shopping/entertainment centre in Ikebukero called SUNSHINE 60 or SUNSHINE CITY which is pretty fun because it has this little amuseunt thing called Namja Town. It's only fun if you go with a sort-of child-like mentality since it houses a bunch of weird Disneyworld-like theme lands with strange little games. Like this one where you have to peddle a little tricycle thru an obstacle course with a mechanical kitten in the basket. The more you swerve or bump around, the more agitated the kitten gets - and too agitated and she CRIES and you lose. Strange stuff like that. Go with a friend, preferably one who speaks a little Japanese. But it's expensive - like 25 bucks or something? I don't remember. And there's a store in the shopping centre where you can rent a room by the hour and play with any of the little animals in their stable. Like a rent-a-pet sort of thing.

But shopping really is the main reason to go to Tokyo. Some nice day trips though.

phil-two (phil-two), Sunday, 1 June 2003 23:26 (seventeen years ago) link

Weird Namja Town game where you get a mechanical egg that you give personality traits too and you wander around until your egg vibrates, which means that a suitable egg-mate is nearby... Then you can use the toilet and eat at restaurants with your egg.

phil-two (phil-two), Sunday, 1 June 2003 23:35 (seventeen years ago) link

Tokyo Disneyland, natch.

Mary (Mary), Monday, 2 June 2003 01:14 (seventeen years ago) link

[they had lesbo eggs]

phil-two (phil-two), Monday, 2 June 2003 01:38 (seventeen years ago) link

If you're in the market for electronics check out "Electric Town" in Akihabara. There's tons of cool stuff and some places will let you bargain with them.

If you're looking to go shopping for music I'd recommend Shinjuku as a good place to start.

Odaiba is also a nice place to visit. It's a pretty new shopping/entertainment complex overlooking Tokyo bay. The Ferris wheel there is supposed to be the biggest in the world but who knows.

J-rock (Julien Sandiford), Monday, 2 June 2003 04:28 (seventeen years ago) link

What are you talking about, Odaiba is a horrid mall!

If you are me you will go to Cow Books (extraordinary curated secondhand bookshop) and Depot (cafe/gallery) in Nakameguro, Nadiff (books, records, gallery) and Office (bar, office) and Watarium (gallery, cafe, bookshop) in Aoyama, Bonjour Records in Daikanyama, Milk, a music club in Ebisu, some love hotel where you can make love in a large tea cup, some girl's apartment no bigger than a pantry, SuperDeluxe (club) and ThinkZone (laptop performances, gallery, bar, book and record store) in Roppongi (which is horrid but is becoming unmissable as more cultural stuff opens there)...

Go on a Saturday to Shimokitazawa, the teeming, alternative youth village. Pure magic. All the musicians live here. The theatres and cinemas are great. And take a train on Sunday to Kamakura, the seaside resort about 45 minutes away. Girls in bikinis, windsurfing on the Pacific, a giant buddha you can climb inside, lots of leafy hills with temples hidden atop them, a very good cultural centre, a writers' museum, delicious soba, pigeon-shaped biscuits...

Some websites that may help you plan:

Real Tokyo (an events listing in English)
Superfuture Tokyo (consumer locations on a map)
Jean Snow's blog (down today, for some reason, but worth checking later for hot tips)

Momus (Momus), Monday, 2 June 2003 06:26 (seventeen years ago) link

(Oh, and if you have any interest at all in teenage girl culture, the global epicentre is Laforet Harajuku.)

Momus (Momus), Monday, 2 June 2003 06:31 (seventeen years ago) link

Buy some cool trainers.

Pinkpanther (Pinkpanther), Monday, 2 June 2003 11:34 (seventeen years ago) link

haha "any interest at all in teenage girl culture" indeed...

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Monday, 2 June 2003 16:18 (seventeen years ago) link

I love Odaiba. Home to Osamu Tezuka World and the Fuji Terebi Store. Check out Kiddyland in Harajuku. It's not really so great but everyone goes there.

Mary (Mary), Monday, 2 June 2003 16:43 (seventeen years ago) link

Ooh, Tezuka is my current comic obsession - the first volume of Phoenix is one of the best comics I've ever read.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Monday, 2 June 2003 19:11 (seventeen years ago) link

Tezuka is golden.

Mary (Mary), Monday, 2 June 2003 19:40 (seventeen years ago) link

When I was in Tokyo I was obsessed with the Tokyu Hands in the Takashimaya complex in Shinjuku. I bought the stupidest things there: cutesy notebooks, incense, tea accessories, and I think a Koizumi cell phone strap?

fiona (fiona), Tuesday, 3 June 2003 15:32 (seventeen years ago) link

Parco in Shibuya is pretty good department store too because they got Final Home! which is now pretty much unavailable in America.

phil-two (phil-two), Tuesday, 3 June 2003 17:46 (seventeen years ago) link

couple of questions:

are you only interested in shopping or like, maybe something culturally enriching (outside of the whole consumer culture obviously)?

do you know anybody in japan?

gygax! (gygax!), Tuesday, 3 June 2003 22:26 (seventeen years ago) link I the only person to go to Tokyo and not go shopping?

The parks in Tokyo are lovely to waste time in - Ueno park has these insanely huge ravens wandering around cheerfully, and there's one in Shinjuku with a fantastic skyscraper view. If you're the museum type, the Tokyo-Edo - or Edo-Tokyo? - Museum in Ryogoku (also with sumo stadium!) is very, very interesting... although I'm fond of that period of history anyway, so possible bias. Shibuya is fun to wander about in and be scared by just how pretty everyone is. Apparently the new harbour at Yokohama features some wonderful modern architecture, too.

And drink Acerola! It's glorious. But not Acerola Water, which is mank.

cis (cis), Tuesday, 3 June 2003 22:43 (seventeen years ago) link

Thanks for all the suggestions.

That's the thing, I don't want to spend all my time shopping (I'm sure my sister will drag me to do lots of that already). I'm actually quite interested in Japanese culture, the way the East and the West hit head on.

jellybean (jellybean), Tuesday, 3 June 2003 23:09 (seventeen years ago) link

one month passes...
Did you go yet?
I was there last week and this was what I enjoyed:

Taking a walk from the Nakameguro station over the beautiful canal into Daikanyama. (you can visit some of the stores Momus reccommended too. I spent a while in Cow books.)

From the Kiba station, walking through the Kiba park to the Tokyo Museum of modern art. There was a huge Miyazaki exibit there (it might not be there when you go), and some nice art for only 1000yen.

On a clear night you should visit Tokyo tower. Or during the day you could try and see Mt. Fuji from it.

At about 5 in the morning I went to Tsukiji fish market. The auctioneers were crazy and there were so many weird fish in a huge building at different experience (if you go watch out for all the fishmobiles going every which way you could get hit if you're not careful).

Shinjuku: west side has many tall buildings and the east side has lots of neon lights. The huge book store Kinosomethingsomething is nice, and conveyorbelt sushi and chapu chapu are fun was to eat.

I also spent an hour at shinagawa station from 7 to 8 just watching the endless flow of salarymen. I was amazing and like a river.

A Nairn (moretap), Saturday, 12 July 2003 16:12 (seventeen years ago) link

Oh, and in Shinjuku look for the bar on the Golden Gai street with Tom Waits painted on the outside of it.

Also one of the thinks I found most interesting was how one block would have giant skyscrapers, the next block would be full of colorful stores, the next block would be quaint bars, the next block would be a shrine, the next block would be love hotels and strip clubs, and the next block would be a park, and then another block of sckyscrapers. (well this may be a little exagerated, but some places were like this)

A Nairn (moretap), Saturday, 12 July 2003 16:21 (seventeen years ago) link

A Nairn, that was something that blew us away -- the juxtaposition of things, a huge electronics conglomerate next to a temple! Just EVERYTHING.

Ride the subways and see the people! Eat in those cheap places where you get a ticket from a machine with pictures of the meals on it! Go to Kiddyland! Go to a teensy weensy restaurant with Momus!

God, I wish I was back in Tokyo NOW. Best place I've ever visited. Tied with Venice.

Layna Andersen (Layna Andersen), Saturday, 12 July 2003 16:50 (seventeen years ago) link

"Best place I've ever visited"
Maybe I didn't spend enough time in tokyo, but I still like Kobe better. The people are really nice there.

A Nairn (moretap), Saturday, 12 July 2003 19:30 (seventeen years ago) link
etc english.

anthony easton (anthony), Saturday, 12 July 2003 23:15 (seventeen years ago) link

eleven months pass...
I'm going to Japan next week!
I want to go shopping for teenage girl clothes!
Where can I get good bargains?

Please Reply Soon!!!!!!

06 25 2004

Meowi, Saturday, 26 June 2004 09:22 (sixteen years ago) link

La Foret Harajuku, on the Meiji Dori just where it intersects with Omote Sando (Harajuku). Or just come out of Harajuku station (on the Yamanote line) and follow the hoardes of teens heading down Takeshita Street into 'Ura-Hara', which is nothing but teen fashion for miles. I call it 'Tacky Shit Street'.

Momus (Momus), Saturday, 26 June 2004 09:34 (sixteen years ago) link

Stuff costs too much in Tokyo. However...
Have some coffee at Lavazza in the Shiodome near Ginza then go to the top of the building and see Tokyo gfrm up high.?@They do not charge you like they do at Landmark. The HMV in Shibuya is nice. See the crowd scramble at the main intersection near the train station from the walkway. It is amazing when the cross walk lights are green.
The Tower Record in Shibuya is also pretty good.
For cheap Japanese curry try Cocos. There is one in Kawazaka Bunko that I know.
Harajaku is a nice place to meet Goth teens/Pierrot clones but I like it for the doner. Many Turks in Tokyo.
First Kitchen has the best french fries. There's one near the main intersection in Roppongi. Otherwise, stay away from Roppongi unless you want to spend a lot of money foolishly.
There's a shuchi joint in Kabukicho that serves fugu. I don't know the name btu they have a big blowfish out front. If you really want to eat it you'll find the place without too much effort.
There's a lot of people on the street handing out free toilet paper if you are into that kind of stuff.
Black Black gum is pretty strong and has caffeine in it.
The cuttle fish jerky is pretty good and Adkins diet friendly.
Chinatown in Yokohama is a good place to spend 1500 yen on a dish that would cost you 4 dollars back in the USA. The advantage of overpaying for food in Japan is that you can comfort yourself in the fact that it doesn't taste much better than the plastic models the have in the window.

50 Yen, Saturday, 26 June 2004 11:41 (sixteen years ago) link

three years pass...

just came back from 8 days in Kyoto and Tokyo.

golden gai bars in shinjuku.
harajuku freaks and live music on sunday.

Zeno, Wednesday, 5 December 2007 20:25 (twelve years ago) link

"Also one of the thinks I found most interesting was how one block would have giant skyscrapers, the next block would be full of colorful stores, the next block would be quaint bars, the next block would be a shrine, the next block would be love hotels and strip clubs, and the next block would be a park, and then another block of sckyscrapers. (well this may be a little exagerated, but some places were like this) "


Zeno, Wednesday, 5 December 2007 20:26 (twelve years ago) link

three years pass...

got a couple of days free in tokyo this weekend.

any more non-shopping ideas?

tpp, Thursday, 7 July 2011 05:03 (nine years ago) link

have you been to yanaka? it's a really beautiful old part of town, lots of temples, literally hundreds of cats everywhere, huge cemetery, lots of old meiji period houses down endlessly winding side streets, lots of galleries and small independent shops. yanaka ginza is really nice on a saturday afternoon, lots of good and cheap street food. just a really nice peaceful part of the city, and still really central. you can catch the metro to nezu on the chiyoda line, or the jr to nippori on the yamanote line

from there you could walk to ueno park and see the newly blossomed lotus. there's also a zoo! ueno itself is quite a large shopping/night life district and you can walk to akiba in about 10 minutes if you get bored of too much nature

i dunno it depends what kinda stuff you're into i guess. there's a lot to do in tokyo

corpse pose (missingNO), Thursday, 7 July 2011 06:15 (nine years ago) link

oh ueno also has a super bustling market as well which is worth checking out

corpse pose (missingNO), Thursday, 7 July 2011 06:17 (nine years ago) link

that all sounds lovely, thanks

tpp, Thursday, 7 July 2011 08:23 (nine years ago) link

never been to japan in summer before..bit shocked by the humidity pheww

tpp, Thursday, 7 July 2011 08:27 (nine years ago) link

I was going to say just make sure to eat in the tiny cheap restaurants that are everywhere, but if you've already been to Japan you'll know all about those.

Otherwise it's the most fabulous place for walking, I thought. Tokyo suffers in tourist terms for being short on huge set-piece things, but at street level, on a human scale, the level of interest is extraordinary. It's nearly all great I thought. Yanaka is indeed lovely. I enjoyed a random walk we did which I think was Yotsuya - Akasaka - Roppongi - Harajuku but it's all good, no real point in giving recommendations. Follow side streets & alleys, and carry a map and a camera.

Ismael Klata, Thursday, 7 July 2011 08:46 (nine years ago) link

def agree that finding a decent starting point and just wandering/cycling around and getting randomly lost is the best way to enjoy tokyo. it's such a vast city that it's almost impossible to stray too far into the void, especially if you have a map or something

i forgot to mention the tanabata festival this weekend that runs from ueno station to akasuka (interesting downtown area w/ huge temple, quite touristy but worth a visit)

btw if you wanted i totally have a bike i'd be happy to lend you

corpse pose (missingNO), Thursday, 7 July 2011 09:05 (nine years ago) link

i've been to japan quite a lot but never had any time where my colleagues have not been taking me around (they always take me to great places though) so i don't really have a good feel for the place. i really fancy the idea of just walking and exploring on my own for a day or so.

went to the tiniest restaurant (there were 2 tables i think) for lunch today near our office. loads of amazing sashimi for about £5.

tpp, Thursday, 7 July 2011 09:06 (nine years ago) link

thanks missingNO that's so kind but i'd get too sweaty on a bike in this weather, walking suits me fine

tpp, Thursday, 7 July 2011 09:08 (nine years ago) link

pee on a octopus imo

also we’re divorced now and i hate this movie. (contenderizer), Thursday, 7 July 2011 09:19 (nine years ago) link

my boss is taking me for eel tonight...excited

tpp, Thursday, 7 July 2011 09:20 (nine years ago) link

unagi? if so you're in for such a treat

corpse pose (missingNO), Thursday, 7 July 2011 09:36 (nine years ago) link

Oh - also Shimokitazawa for pokey little shops and great tiny bar-eateries/izakaya under the railway lines

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Saturday, 11 January 2020 10:06 (eight months ago) link

Just sayin' -

Maresn3st, Saturday, 11 January 2020 13:07 (eight months ago) link

i like the yanaka recommendation.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Saturday, 11 January 2020 16:23 (eight months ago) link

maybe instead of walking around shinjuku, just go out to yokohama too imho

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Saturday, 11 January 2020 16:29 (eight months ago) link

yokohama rules

juntos pedemos (Euler), Saturday, 11 January 2020 16:34 (eight months ago) link

i went this summer and was staying in ebina with my friend, go to the mountains!!! and chigasaki!!! or wherever idk it was all great

peloton for the painfully alone (m bison), Saturday, 11 January 2020 17:08 (eight months ago) link

yeah, it was the dashi/broth. I have found even if they eat fish (and not tonkotsu o course), it's still a little too in depth for some vegetarians. The ones that do totally vegetarian, I recall only a small handful, are online though.

― Yerac, Friday, January 10, 2020 1:08 AM (yesterday) bookmarkflaglink

ya doing vegan in japan was hard. i kind of accepted that i was probably getting some fish ingredients in certain things. i bought peanuts at a 7-11 and later looked at the ingredients with my translator app and it had butter oil? likewise went to a curry place and got natto which looking back probably had fish ingredients in it. we did manage to find a natural foods kind of shop in chigasaki that had some explicitly vegan stuff, but i gather its not a v common thing in japan. the pickled plum onigiri from family mart are vegan tho and that was my favorite snack food of all.

peloton for the painfully alone (m bison), Saturday, 11 January 2020 17:22 (eight months ago) link

i had a couple of buddhist vegetarian meals they do at the temples (shojin ryori) served to the public. I am not vegan or vegetarian but they seemed mostly vegan.

Yerac, Saturday, 11 January 2020 18:23 (eight months ago) link

Friend of mine sent me this listing for vegetarian/vegan places when I was going there, might be useful?

glindr jackson (gyac), Saturday, 11 January 2020 18:34 (eight months ago) link

Shojin Ryouri is strictly vegan, there are some places to go in Tokyo to eat it but not cheaply like you can in Kyoto. Worth sealing out though because it is both a high point of Japanese cuisine and of vegan food in general.

Even if you aren’t vegetarian, if you are eating out the time in japan it can be hard to get a big pile of veggies on your plate unless you work at it.

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Saturday, 11 January 2020 20:53 (eight months ago) link

yeah and veggies and fruits are pricey in the supermarkets. we ate a lot of cabbage and bananas but the rest were unreasonable

juntos pedemos (Euler), Saturday, 11 January 2020 21:15 (eight months ago) link

The suggestion of onigiri above is decent too; even if you’re really stuck for something snacky every 7-11 has a good selection of them and many are vegan/vegetarian.

glindr jackson (gyac), Saturday, 11 January 2020 21:38 (eight months ago) link

iirc the ones from 7-11 use some fish ingredient even in the nominally fish-less ones

peloton for the painfully alone (m bison), Saturday, 11 January 2020 22:00 (eight months ago) link

Ohitashi like that is one of the best ways to get your greens and most supermarkets will have premade stuff. I’ll often buy a tray of that and sashimi for a quick lunch or dinner.

It’s almost always made with katsuodashi (bonito stock).

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Saturday, 11 January 2020 23:52 (eight months ago) link

Many XPs - Yeah Shinjuku is kinda disparate and even a bit crappy unless you know where you're going. If you want to wander there are more interesting built-up, central places like Akihabara, Ginza or Shibuya or Shiodome as I mentioned earlier, the Golden Gai area is fun but not really if you have kids.

Maresn3st, Sunday, 12 January 2020 00:02 (eight months ago) link

If you want to check out Yanaka, take the Yamanote line to Nippori station, once out of the station go left and up the steps to the big cemetery, trust me it's cool, once you've wandered through that you can continue heading south through Yanaka down to Ueno and the park.

Maresn3st, Sunday, 12 January 2020 00:08 (eight months ago) link

touching on tokyo... I finally had natto for the first time yesterday. It was good! It tasted a little like blue cheese to me.

Yerac, Thursday, 16 January 2020 20:56 (eight months ago) link

I just booked a room in Kanda for my trip there in a couple of months. There’s a Jiro nearby!

juntos pedemos (Euler), Thursday, 16 January 2020 21:03 (eight months ago) link

ok, you all have officially put Yanaka on the list.

and i guess i should consider Yokohama.

i was thinking taking the bullet train somewhere so we can experience it / see some scenery flying by / spend a few hours in another town would be cool. but a friend who has been there said (paraphrasing) "it is cool but ultimately you guys will be caught up in the otherwordliness everyday anyway" and making a special trip for the train might not be the best way to spend a day.

one thing i know for sure is it'd need to be a day trip. i don't want to stay overnight somewhere.

thoughts? would Yokohama be a good call here?

alpine static, Friday, 17 January 2020 05:09 (eight months ago) link

I have not been but everyone on Terrace House goes on dates there.

Yerac, Friday, 17 January 2020 06:45 (eight months ago) link

you get to Yokohama on the Tokyo metro, so getting there is no big deal. Depending on where you’re staying it’s closer than parts of Tokyo itself.

juntos pedemos (Euler), Friday, 17 January 2020 06:48 (eight months ago) link

never been to yokohama but it has been recommended a lot, esp by tokyo residents. but as a tourist, the things it's famous for (chinatown, ferris wheel, western architecture) maybe don't have the same appeal since I can easily access similar stuff in the US? I'm sure there's more tho since everyone seems to love it.

I've done nikko and kitakamakura day trips, both v nice. oze national park is maybe too far for a day trip but maybe an option if you start real early.

(⊙_⊙?) (original bgm), Friday, 17 January 2020 16:59 (eight months ago) link

Yokohama's waterfront is nicer than any of Tokyo's. e.g. Odaiba is fine but you can stroll from Yokohama Chinatown to the ferris wheel and it's super nice. Tokyo by contrast seems to hide its waterfronts

juntos pedemos (Euler), Friday, 17 January 2020 17:03 (eight months ago) link

If you're going to Yokohama you could carry on a little bit further and go visit Yasujirō Ozu's gravesite at Engakuji Temple in Kamakura, sure the kids would love that! :)

Maresn3st, Friday, 17 January 2020 23:50 (eight months ago) link

Yeah the bullet trains are a great service but quite boring to ride - tunnel, flash of town, tunnel, flash of town for lots of it. Plenty of interesting things to see but that is probably just as good from a regular train. Exception being the Tokyo-Kyoto train (is it the Tokaido?) with the view of Fuji san to the north, a cliche but still OMG when you see it.
Another great option is Takaosan which is about an hour west of Shinjuku by train - cool train ride, sweet little town and then either a hike or a cable railway to the top of Mt Takao and the temples up there. You can take a long downhill walk on the trails through the forests, absolute magic.

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Saturday, 18 January 2020 00:21 (eight months ago) link

Went there with the wife and our 9 year old last Spring. Robot cafe is interesting in a raggedy late 90’s Flaming Lips concert sort of way, but it is a tourist trap with bad food. It’s not bad, mind you, but it is the one thing I would skip if I had a do-over.

Teamlab is amazing, get there as early as possible. Even if you buy your tix in advance, the line is crazy long to get in and some of the rooms may have a long line once you get in.

We did an owl cafe which was cool. It is a chill thing to do with the kids.

The 7-11’s are great and they have very good prepackaged food if you need a snack.

Don’t try to cram in too much when traveling with kids. I hyperplanned everyday and towards the wnd of the trip everybody was fried.

Cow_Art, Saturday, 18 January 2020 00:22 (eight months ago) link

thank u, good insights ^

i swear, everyone who has been to Tokyo talks about (a) the 7-11s, and (b) the toilets

alpine static, Saturday, 18 January 2020 01:16 (eight months ago) link


chet san telmo (alomar lines), Saturday, 18 January 2020 01:17 (eight months ago) link

Don’t try to cram in too much when traveling with kids. I hyperplanned everyday and towards the wnd of the trip everybody was fried.

^^second this, and agree that the bullet train is really not all that worth it unless you're going further out like Kyoto.

Just went to Tokyo in November and these were what my 12 year old daughter enjoyed the most:

- eating all kinds of cute and colourful food in Harajuku: crepes, rainbow grilled cheese, animal ice creams.

- exploring temples in Kamakura. Favourites were Hokokuji which has a bamboo grove that's like a mini-version of Kyoto's Arashiyama grove, and Kotoku-in aka the Great Buddha temple (you can go inside the giant Buddha!)

- Teamlab Borderless - echoing everyone's advice to get there super early, and even though there's like a million interesting things to see the moment you enter, try to head straight to the floating nest exhibit before the queue gets super long. We ended up spending 4.5 hours in total in there.

- the toy section in Akihabara's massive Yodobashi Camera.

- Ueno Park - so many museums, just pick one. And since you guys are there in March/April, it'll also be a great place to see sakura (cherry blossoms).

Other tips:
- do check out to see if there are any small markets/events you can go to in whichever area you're visiting - we went to a couple and just ate so much good, cheap, street food. great places to find small souvenirs/toys too.

- If you can get time away from the kids, Gen Yamamoto is an incredible bar/cocktail experience.

- Another day-trip option might be Hakone - the lake and the open air art museum there were amazing, although I do recommend staying overnight, just because being able to stay in a ryokan with an onsen (hot springs) was incredible. Do check if the local transport links like the cable car and local trains are working though - a lot of them were down on my last trip due to post-typhoon damage.

Roz, Saturday, 18 January 2020 01:20 (eight months ago) link

yeah, i like lawson over 7-11. and probably FamilyMart over 7-11. I don't recall anything super special about the bullet train from Kyoto to Tokyo to make it an item unless you are super into trains.

Yerac, Saturday, 18 January 2020 01:21 (eight months ago) link

The Kawaii Monster Cafe in Harajuku was good fun (and the food wasn't bad either), but ymmv depending on your Kyary Pamyu Pamyu fandom level.

Seconding Kamakura for an out-of-town trip (although Takaosan sounds good too). It's almost a mini-Kyoto an hour away from Tokyo, and the big golden Buddha is a sight to see (and go inside too, if it's open).


it's after the end of the world (Matt #2), Saturday, 18 January 2020 01:22 (eight months ago) link

Fun food recs, though a lot of these places will involve some queueing unless you go early or at odd hours (like 3pm). Some branches are more popular than others as well.

- Fluffy pancakes:
- Gigantic bowls of udon at TsuruTonTan in Ginza:
- If you eat meat, gyukatsu or deepfried beef was easily the best meal I've had in Japan:

Apart from those, it's fairly easy to get good tempura, ramen, udon, soba, sushi etc anywhere. In three trips to Japan, I think I've only had a couple of legitimately bad food experiences and it was always at one of those tourist trap restaurants that's just outside a popular temple or something.

For mobile coverage, getting a pocket wifi is worth it... you don't need a SIM card, can connect to 4-5 devices, coverage is great, and way cheaper than roaming. You can rent them at the airport.

Also Google Maps is your best friend. Aside from very good directions, it will inform you of train delays and even tell you which platforms / coach car for you to board or get off, so that you won't accidentally go out at the wrong exit (which happens often at the bigger stations).

Roz, Saturday, 18 January 2020 02:50 (eight months ago) link

Yeah, the phrase - kono chizu de ima dokoni imasu ka - served me well.

If you get lost though, people, in my experience, were super kind. A young student girl walked us all the way from the rear of the Nanzen-Ji temple to the front, which was right out of her path. An older gentleman took us to the gate at Tsukiji Market at 4am, he was leaving a conbini and already heading in the opposite direction, probably put a good 20 mins on his morning walk.

Maresn3st, Saturday, 18 January 2020 12:13 (eight months ago) link

I went to Kamakura for the beaches, which were not that great (even in July) but my kids wanted to say they'd touched the Pacific Ocean. The monorail getting there was very cool though, like a roller coaster kinda!

I'm trying to figure out the best non-flying way from Kyoto to Seoul. I may end up flying but the other possibilities are intriguing too.

juntos pedemos (Euler), Saturday, 18 January 2020 13:58 (eight months ago) link


and natural lawson is the god tier konbini store

(⊙_⊙?) (original bgm), Saturday, 18 January 2020 18:32 (eight months ago) link

also, missed some vegan discussion. it's tough to find things but not impossible.

there are vegan cafes here-and-there. komenoko (米の子) in suginami and nezunoya (根津の谷) in bunkyou are both v much worth a stop if you're nearby.

for vegan ramen, try chabuzen (薬膳食堂ちゃぶ膳) in setagaya or t's tan tan in tokyo station. both quite good.

and quality is generally so high across the board, that ime, it's hard to strike out just tying out random spots that look good.

(⊙_⊙?) (original bgm), Saturday, 18 January 2020 18:48 (eight months ago) link

three weeks pass...

hi, most recent thread reviver here ... our trip is starting to take shape.

we arrive on a Thursday (2/27), will just chill / stay close to home on Friday. Saturday and Sunday are open.

Monday (3/2) we have tix to the Ghibli museum.

Tuesday is open.

Wednesday/Thursday (3/4-5) are Disneyland and Disneysea.

Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon open. We leave Tuesday (3/10).

I've compiled this entire thread into one document and am trying to figure out what else to do. I'm sure I'll be back with questions.

Also, I missed early on that Yerac asked where we're staying. It's the Hotel Sunroute, very very close to Shinjuku station: (although we will move over to a Disney hotel for our Disney nights.)

I am also hoping to see live music at least one night! I even FB messaged Leo Takami and he wrote me back and said he might have a gig on 3/4 ... one of my Disney nights. :(

More soon ...

alpine static, Thursday, 13 February 2020 00:23 (seven months ago) link

im also headed to tokyo for 4 days in march, so thanks everyone for bumping this thread, I've found some great suggestions reading it.

dsb, Thursday, 13 February 2020 00:29 (seven months ago) link

our trip seems to be trending in a bad direction w/r/t postponement because of coronavirus. :(

i recognize that our chances of having any trouble are very slim, but my wife has a chronic disease (she is no immuno-compromised at the moment), we have two kids in tow, museums are starting to close for the next few weeks, Disneyland Shanghai and Hong Kong are already closed (so would Tokyo be next?), travel advisory just moved from level 1 to level 2 ... things are starting to add up.

if anyone has any thoughts, i'm all ears.

alpine static, Monday, 24 February 2020 16:22 (seven months ago) link

I'm going there in early April, and won't change my plans unless my flight is cancelled. But I'm going solo and have no chronic diseases.

pet friendly (Euler), Monday, 24 February 2020 19:13 (seven months ago) link

just to close the loop, we delayed our trip at the last second. now going in late September / early October.

they announced Disneyland and DisneySea closures when we would've been on the plane heading that way.

i feel very fortunate with how the timing worked out and look forward to going later this year.

alpine static, Saturday, 29 February 2020 07:34 (seven months ago) link

Definitely for the best. It looks like I’ll have to postpone my own trip from late April to October.

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Saturday, 29 February 2020 10:24 (seven months ago) link

our flights are cancelled with a decent chance of rebooking, with a further decent chance in turn of cancellation as far as i can tell

BSC Joan Baez (darraghmac), Wednesday, 4 March 2020 12:20 (six months ago) link

Oh! I stayed at the Sunroute Plaza on my first trip there, so sorry that it's having to be delayed :(

Maresn3st, Wednesday, 4 March 2020 13:26 (six months ago) link

how did you like it, Maresn3st? we just moved our March reservation there to September.

alpine static, Thursday, 5 March 2020 06:41 (six months ago) link

It was only one night but if memory serves it was perfectly decent.

However, if you can be arsed and the money is the same I would stay here, lovely hotel in an interesting area, great views because it's the top 15 floors of a tower, similar to the famous Park Hyatt. Shinjuku is very central but boy it's hectic, Shidome/Shimbashi is much more chill.

Maresn3st, Tuesday, 10 March 2020 22:53 (six months ago) link

You could check out the Ghibli Clock and the Nakagin Capsule Tower.

Maresn3st, Tuesday, 10 March 2020 22:56 (six months ago) link

You can do monthly rentals in the Nakagin capsule tower which I might do next time I long stay in Tokyo.

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Tuesday, 10 March 2020 22:59 (six months ago) link

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