Tokyo, the NYC of Asia. At first glance, may seem overrated. But in reality, it has so much to offer. Like the majority of cities in Japan, Tokyo is able to incorporate both the rich history with their modern day lifestyle.
After listening to some friends and family friends abot their experience in Tokyo, many of them came to the concensus that Tokyo was a little overrated. So, I ultimately decided to arrange to spend the least amount of my time in Tokyo. In a way, I do think it’s a wee bit overrated. However, I also didn’t see very much of Tokyo enough to reach a conclusion yet. So for this post, I’ve enlisted the help of my friend from South Korea to list some of her favorite things to do in Tokyo, since she knows Tokyo like the back of her hand.
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A train station? Food? Huh? Actually, I have found over the years that these type of places have some of the best shopping and food stalls during my trips. Tokyo Station is a major intersection for Japanese and tourists, since it’s the center for getting around Tokyo.
Tokyo Station has a little corner full of small ramen shops. There are about 5-7 shops and they are all very busy. However, there’s one that is more popular than the others. Rokurishna is very popular in Tokyo’s Ramen Street. A good rule of thumb when it comes to traveling, the food is very good when there is a line even in the most uncomfortable areas/positions.
I’m not going to lie, it is kind of hard to find, especially since Tokyo Station is a literal maze. I wouldn’t rely on Google Maps for finding this one, since it’s on one of the lowest floors and after a certain number of floors, Google Maps gets a little bit sketchy.
When ordering your ramen in this shop, they will make you order from a vending-like machine. This allows for the customer to receive their foods and leave quickly since there is limited seating and it is much more efficient.
After choosing your order, it’ll print out a ticket. Hand the ticket to the person who approaches your table and they’ll give it to the chef.
Rokurishna offers you a bib to place around your neck to protect your clothes from the splashes. I’ve realized since this is a popular place for professionals to visit for lunch or dinner, it’s a good way to protect your clothes.
I’d play it safe and just wear it, many people wear it so it wouldn’t be considered strange if a grown adult wears a bib. If that doesnt convince you, I can be a prime example of why you should wear the bib…I made a mess.
Courtesy to my lovely friend Sun-Ah, who has been to Tokyo way more than I have. She knows the in’s and out’s, the artsy areas, and less/most tourist-filled areas.
If you are traveling to Japan during cherry blossom season (end of March to beginning/early-mid May) and they actually bloom, this is a very pretty area to visit. From what my friend has told me, there really isn’t much to do, but if you want to be able to take a plethora of cherry blossom pictures, then this would be a beautiful area to visit.
This is a very popular tourist destination in Tokyo. My favorite thing about Japan is their ability to maintain and incorporate both their traditional history, as well as their very advanced present state. Within Tokyo, this is a very famous traditional destination to visit.
In the day, it is pretty crowded due to tourists. So there are a lot of shops, foods, and areas that are open for business. But during the night, it’s a lot calmer and more beautiful (judging from the picture).
However, I was told that at night, it is also a popular drinking area. So be careful and aware of those around you at night.
There are many places to visit if you want a panorma view of Tokyo. Skytree and Roppongi are some of the busiests, but from the two, Roppongi is cheaper and easier to visit than Skytree.
I really wanted to do a kimono experience in Japan, especially during cherry blossom season. At first, I really didn’t know how to find one until I got to Japan. In places like Kyoto and Nara, kimonos were very popular and were worn by both tourists and Japanese for the cherry blossoms.
I managed to find a kimono rental experience on AirBnB for a good price. It’s very different compared to the other rental places that I saw in Japan. It’s a local experience and very personal. The host of the experience, Yui, picked Sun Ah and I up from the subway/train station and took us to Engawa Sumida. Engawa Sumida is a trendy thrift shop and a kimono sale/rental store in Sumida, Tokyo.
Yui’s style for kimonos are definitely more eccentric with a classic twist. She keeps all the traditional elements of the kimono, but plays around with the style by adding a modern flare. For me, I forgot to wear clothes under my hoodie and it was cold out, so she worked around my casual outfit and made it into a very cute kimono. She also has a variety of accessories, purses, shoes, obis, and kimonos for people to borrow to make your kimono more unique!
Yui taught us how to properly put on a kimono and how to tie the obi. Believe me, trying to put this on was a team effort. So I wish I could take credit for this beautiful looking bow, but Yui did the whole thing.
Yui continued to take the two of us to the best places where the cherry blossoms were starting to bloom and acted as our photographer. She also took us to the waterfront where they were starting to celebrate the blooming of the cherry blossoms, but the cold and rain did dampen the mood a little bit. Nonetheless, good things did come! We were able to eat some local snacks made by some geishas and even got pictures with them.
I really enjoyed this experience since I was able to learn more about Japanese culture and history from Yui. You won’t be able to find someone to style you, guide you around, take photos for you, and teach you about the culture of Japan in one experience. Especially if you’re timid like me and are too shy to ask people to take pictures of you, let alone retake, then this is a perfect Japan experience for you! If you want to have an amazing kimono experience, I would definitely contact Yui.
Click here to look up Yui’s Modish & Easy Kimono Experience
Overall, I loved my short experience in Tokyo but I’d definitely would love to do more the next time I’m in Japan. Hope you guys found this helpful!