Tokyo was our second destination in Japan. We had big expectations of this amazing Japanese city and they were definitely met. Tokyo is a buzzing city with so many fun activities and when you visit, you won’t be bored for even a second! I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed before we got there with all the possibilities and things we could see and do. In total we spent nine days Tokyo and had the absolute best time.
In this article we have putten together 10 fun things you can do in Tokyo. We don’t only share the popular places, but also some lesser known spots. Best part is that most of the activities in Tokyo we share are completely free!
10 Fun Things to do in Tokyo
1. Visit Ueno Park
Our airbnb in Tokyo was nearby the Ueno Park, which is a public park in central Tokyo. Here you can also find the beautiful Kaneiji Temple, which looks quite similar to the iconic Fushimi Inari-Taisha temple in Kyoto. Ueno Park and the Kaneiji Temple are completely free to enter.
Besides the beautiful temple, the park is a great place to roam around. Especially during the cherry blossom season in Tokyo, as they will be in full bloom at Ueno Park. Furthermore, Ueno Park is famous for the many museums on its ground, such as the Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum for Western Art, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum and the National Science Museum.
2. Go shopping at Harajuku
If you’re looking for a cool place in Tokyo with trendy clothes stores, fashion boutiques and various shops then Harajuku is the answer. Even if you’re not planning on doing any shopping, we recommend going here to experience Japanese most extreme teenage cultures and fashion styles.
We recommend taking a photo at Omotesando entrance, as the effect is pretty cool. If you’re interested in any plush toys or looking for some gifts, visit the Line Friends Store at Harajuku. We loved their cute (although quite pricey) products.
3. Cross Shibuya: the busiest intersection in the world
Another popular spot that shouldn’t be missed when visiting Tokyo: Shibuya Crossing. It is claimed to be the busiest intersection in the world, as 1000 of people can cross at a time, coming from all directions at once. It is quite an exhilarating experience when you are standing at this crossing, waiting for the light to turn green.
We found it pretty cool to take long exposure shots from the Shibuya Crossing. For instance, Jeffrey stood very still as soon as the light turned green, while I located the camera on one of the poles next to the street and put it on self timer. Also be sure to check out Shibuya from above. This can be done at various points, such as at Starbucks, L’Occitane Cafe and the Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyo. Downside is that you have to get food or drinks at these venues, plus a table at the window (at least at Starbucks and L’Occitane Cafe) and these aren’t always available. We were actually hoping for a cool look-out tower, but this doesn’t exist yet as far as we know.
4. Go Akihabara Electric Town
This was definitely one of our favourite spots in Tokyo. Akihabara is a district in Central Tokyo that is mostly known for it’s many electrical shops. In recent years it has also become known as the center of the otaku, or diehard fan, culture. At Akihabara you will find a lot of anime and manga bill boards, but also in the streets people are dressed up. For us it was very fascinating to walk around and exploring the colourful streets.
Akihabara is also a great place to get some goodies or gifts, such as comics, toys and more.
5. Take a walk at the pedestrian paradise Ginza
Ginza is probably Tokyo’s most famous shopping, dining and entertainment district, with countless department stores, restaurants, cafes and more. Most shops in Ginza are open every day of the week. We did some shopping here as well, such as at the famous and worlds largest Uniqlo.
What we found most interesting about this street is the central Chuo Dori Street, because on weekends the road is completely closed to traffic. This gives the street the nickname Pedestrian Paradise.
6. Have drinks at Golden Gai
Golden Gai consists out of a few blocks packed with cute and tiny bars. Walking around Golden Gai is already an experience, as it’s quite a unique place. Each bar has their own style and decoration. Each bar only fits a few people, and in some bars only ‘members’ are allowed to come in. Furthermore, some bars don’t even allow tourists to come in. If there is a price list in English posted outside you know you can join. Some also clearly state that they welcome tourists.
We found it to be quite pricey, and often they also charge you a cover charge to enter. But, it’s certainly an experience, and a great way to meet local people!
7. Visit a themed cafe
One thing you must do in Tokyo is paying a visit to at least one themed café. There are plenty of choices. For instance, we visited the adorable Pompompurin Cafe in Harajuki. Seriously everything is in theme there; the interior, the food, drinks and a little souvenir shop.
But there are more cute cafes you can visit, such as the quite popular Kawaii Monster Cafe in Harajuki, Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory, Café de Miki with Hello Kitty and the Peanuts Café at Naka-Meguro.
8. Visit Sensoji Temple
If you want to visit cultural spots in Tokyo we recommend the Buddhist temple Sensoji, located in Asakusa. The Sensoji Temple is one of Tokyo’s most popular temples.
Before reaching the temple, you first enter the Kaminarimon or Thunder Gate. From there you’ll walk along a shopping street of 200 meters with many typical Japanese souvenirs and local snacks. Eventually you’ll reach the main hall and the Asakusa Shrine. Sensoji Temple certainly is a beautiful place to visit.
9. Visit the Cats of Gotokuji Temple
Another lesser known temple in Tokyo is Gotokuji Temple. We found it online when browsing for cool places in Tokyo, and what caught our attention where of course the amount of cat statues at the temple. Yes, at Gotokuji Temple you can find hundreds of lucky beckoning cat statues!
The rest of the temple is also beautiful, and it’s definitely worth a visit. When we were there, it was almost completely empty. That made it a peaceful place in the busy city of Tokyo. Gotokuji temple is completely free to enter.
10. Play games at Kawasaki Warehouse
On our last day in Toyo we went to Kawasaki Warehouse Arcade to play some video games. This place is so cool, it seems to come right from a movie scene. Kawasaki Warehouse is a recreation of the famous Kowloon Walled City. In this dark and grim warehouse you can play all sorts of video games.
You will be surprised to see many grown-up Japanese locals intensely playing various interactive video games. There are multiple floors to explore; the first and second floor has the most Kowloon Walled City setting, and on the second and third floor you can find a modern video game arcade. The fourth floor contains dart boards and billiard tables. Kawasaki Warehouse is completely free to enter, but you do pay for the games.
Have you ever been to Tokyo? Or are you still planning on visiting? Either way give us your thought on our list of 10 Fun Things to do in Tokyo! We hope it is useful for your visit.
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