Helloooooo! I am back with some of the unmissable things to do in Tokyo.
I know I’ve been months late, but better late than never, right? Haha.
It has always been my dream to travel to Japan, and then, SY made my dream come true. *throw lovesss* ❤
Tokyo, at last! I was excited, but at the same time, feeling nervous as I have set a really high expectation for Tokyo.
“What if, Tokyo is not like what I’ve anticipated these whole time?”
Now that I’m back, I can confidently say that Tokyo, is my fav. city destination thus far. It is a city of many faces, a city for everyone as you definitely find something/somewhere you like in it. We was there for 10 days, and yet felt like it’s not long enough. I guess, it’s true that you could live in Tokyo a life time and still not discover everything it offers.
I’ve read a million online articles on WHAT TO DO in TOKYO. To be very honest, I was overwhelmed by the never-ending list. In the end, SY and me decided to choose only a few areas, take our time to slowly appreciate and explore them in depth, instead of trying to tick off all the #MustDo in breakneck pace.
A place of history. One of the most popular sightseeing areas in Tokyo. It has survived the damage of bombings that took place during the Second World War. Now, the area is rebuilt and it’s became a beautiful tourist spot.
I must say, this is one of my favourite places in Tokyo. It was the first destination after we touched down in Tokyo, also the longest area that I’ve stayed in during my trip!
HOW TO GET HERE:
From Haneda Airport: 30 minutes on the Keikyu-Kuko Line to Asakusa Station.
We were quite lost upon arrival at Asakusa. Then, a mother-daughter approached us to give us directions on how to get to our hotel. They weren’t fluent in English, hence they actually walk us all the way to our hotel. OH MAI GAWD, we didn’t even asked, but they came up to us to offer help just because we looked LOST. We felt an extremely strong sense of being welcome in alien surroundings thanks to these kind souls.
Back to what to do in ASAKUSA.
How can we start off this part without mentioning Sensoji Temple right off the bat?
The great paper lantern of Kaminarimon is located here. You can get your fortune told at the temple!
You can approach it via the Nakamise, a long shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and tourist souvenirs for centuries.
You can also take beautiful photos along these street with the traditional buildings.
There are plenty of kimono rental around in this area. I got mine from a shop called Aiwafuku. They have a couple sets for roughly about RM250 – RM300
Take a walk through the legendary thunder gate; the Kaminarimon. It’s the outer of two large entrance gates that leads to the Sensoji Temple. I had to take a mandatory shot here. Beautiful shot without tourist at the background thanks to my Instagram-boyfiend. Haha.
Then, there’s the Tokyo Skytree, the tallest building in Japan, and second tallest in the world. The observation decks are located at heights 350 and 450 meters respectively. Hence, they offer the best 360-degree panoramic views of the city. I didn’t go up the Skytree because I am lucky enough to stay in a hotel with a direct sky tree view of half my trip.
By the way, if you head to the Asakusa Tourist Culture Information Center, on the eighth floor is an observatory that you can see the awesome view of the Nakamise shopping street, Sensoji Temple, and Kaminarimon all at once.
We also had the chance to take a walk along the Sumida River to escape the hustling and bustling, during our photoshoot with sweet.escape. It feels good to unwind with a little bit of scenery.
Note: All these places are within walking distance in Asakusa.
SHINJUKU, for me, it’s the definition of B U S Y:
– It is the BUSIEST railway station in the world, with over two million daily riders;
– It is Tokyo’s major stops for long-distance highway buses.
HOW TO GET TO HERE:
By train. You’re connected to Shinjuku Station from almost everywhere in Tokyo.
Station West: Known as the skyscraper district, you can find most of the Tokyo’s tallest buildings here, including the twin towers of the Metropolitan Government Office (observation decks are open to the public for free).
Station North: Kabukicho district, Japan’s largest red light district.
As much as there’s plenty to do in Shinjuku, all we did was chill in Yakitori bars, walk along the busy streets and get awed by the colourful neon lights and LED signboards. Of course, we also took the opportunity to collaborate with @sweet.escape to take some nice photos without a hitch, in this sea of electric luminescence. ❤
OMOTESANDO & HARAJUKU
Ladies & gentleman, introducing to you… MY MOST FAVOURITE SPOT IN JAPAN. ❤
The worst & best thing happened here.
So… I (almost) lost my camera in the Omotesando Hill’s washroom, & we only realized it about 45mins later when we reached Shibuya. We rushed back immediately from Shibuya but, of course, it wasn’t there anymore.
I started tearing because we’ve taken so many beautiful photos & videos with that camera, I just cannot afford to lose it. I was praying really hard that some kind soul will return the camera. While I was sobbing by the street, one helpful guard suggested SY to lodge a police report at the police station 3mins away.
We went, and started describing the lost camera to the policemen. And… the police actually asked us to further describe (I suddenly see hopes).
“It’s with a Mickey Mouse straps,” we said.
“Ahhhhh…”, then he took out my camera and said a kind gentleman passed it to the station earlier.
Words can’t describe how happy and grateful I am. I begin tearing again, I am just so thankful for all the kind souls in Japan. We have met heaps of kind people who have assisted us so much everywhere, every time in this trip. And this round, it’s just insane.
HOW TO GET HERE:
From Shinjuku Station: 4mins on the JR Yamanote Line to Harajuku Station.
From Harajuku Station, it takes around 10 mins walk to reach Omotesando.
What to expect here? There’s the famous Yoyogi Park, the kawaii overload Takeshita-dori Street, the hype pedestrianised Era-Harajuku, and the classy Omotesando street. SY is a big fan of hype-stuff and street-wear hence, we spent most of of time here SHOPPING and EATING. However, I will keep the eating part for the next post.
As mentioned, this is a shopping heaven!
First off, we made a stop at Tokyu Plaza. Even if you don’t actually shop here, take a photo at the reflective entrance.
Ditch the heels and find some new kicks in Tokyo’s best sneaker shops. We went to the Nike flagship store (like, duhhhhh). It’s massive, and they have all the latest & “Only in Japan” products.
Next up, Takeshita-Dori Street. Waltz into some beauty shops. Surprisingly, I did not get any cosmetic/beauty products but I got the most beautiful contact lens here. Also bought a lot of Japan exclusive hair-dye products.
There’s also street wear shop here, where Champion was dirt cheap, I simply can’t even.
Omotesando though, is known as Tokyo’s most fashionable – high end fashion distreet, with heaps premium brand shops like LV, Dior, Maison Margiela, etc. Right outside of these posh boutiques, we were awed by the stunning harmony between the lined-up zelkova trees.
Here, we visited Omotesando Hills for the Atmos Con 2017. Since my boyfriend is a sneakerhead, attending a sneaker con in Japan was something he always wished to tick off his bucket list. With performance by some of the hottest local celebrity, & booths with plenty of limited edition sneakers; the convention drew a huge crowd decked out in some seriously coveted kicks.
Oh, he even met the Atmos’ founder there!
Did I mentioned, Omotesando is also food heaven. I had the best lobster sandwich here, with some gyoza, dessert, etc. Mmmm..
This is a teaser, I’ll leave this for the next post! Hehe.
Lastly, Era-Harajuku, is where you find the major hype stores include Supreme, Neighbourhood, Undefeated etc. Everything that I have seen online just came alive. We were so overwhelmed, and wished we had more money to splurge just because it’s right in front of us. It is my very first time getting fresh drops from the Supreme shop!
Shibuya, the first thing that came to my mind is the iconic crossing that’s feature in almost everywhere.
However, besides that, Shibuya is one of the twenty-three city wards of Tokyo. It houses the two busiest railway stations in the world; Shinjuku Station (southern half) and Shibuya Station. That explains, the flock of pedestrians in Shibuya.
HOW TO GET TO HERE:
From Shinjuku Station: 7 mins on the JR Yamanote Line to Shibuya Station.
Upon reaching, we took the mandatory photo and a time-lapse video on the Shibuya Crossing.
Otherwise, you can watch the crossing at one of the busiest Starbucks in the world located just beside it.
Take a photo with the statue of Hachiko (the most loyal dog in Japan).
“In the 1920s, this Akita dog would journey to Shibuya Station to wait for his owner to arrive back from his daily commute. One day his owner did not return from work, having suffered a fatal cerebral hemorrhage. This did not deter Hachiko though, who returned to the same spot to wait for his owner every day for the next nine years.”
Shopping is unmissable here. We did not went to Shibuya 109, instead we visited the Atmos flagship store.
An interesting fact about Japan. You would queue for literally anything, in this case; sneakers.
I accompanied SY to queue in hopes to get a slot to purchase the Offwhite x Nike sneakers, which we woke up as early as 5am to head towards Shibuya, and queued for over 2 hours. But alas, we were unlucky. But it was a good experience nonetheless.
Also called Akiba, this is a district in central Tokyo that is well known for anything and everything in the realm of games, electronic, and, as you may guess it; A N I M E.
HOW TO GET TO HERE:
From Shinjuku Station: 18 minS on the JR Sobu Line to Akihabara Station.
As mentioned, this place is heaven for every ACG (anime/comics/games) fanatic in the world, so a huge number of people fly to Tokyo to visit Akihabara for this very reason.
Thousands of electronic shops ranging from tiny one-man stands to large retailers, line the main Chuo Dori street and the crowded side streets around Akihabara. They sell items from the newest and latest gadgets to second-hand goods and electronic junk. The duty-free electronic shoppings in these megastore is a must. I got my first G-Shock watch here. According to SY, it was a lot cheaper to buy it here than in Malaysia. Understandably.
One big highlight here is the Maid Cafes. They are cosplay themed restaurants where guests are served by waitresses that are typically dressed as French maids. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take any photos of cute maids when we visited.
There are also giant multi-story video game arcades, one in Taito Station itself. Imagine a tall office building, but it’s full of arcade machines.
You will also find plenty of ‘otaku’ shops around sell items like manga (comic books), anime shows, figurines, clothes, and novelty. Otaku roughly translates to “fanboy” or “fangirl” usually in a Japanese oriented aspect, such as manga or anime.
And….. sex shops and porn shops grace around Akhibara openly. They are definitely not as discreet as other parts of the world that we are used to. Of course, they have an age limit to enter.
I didn’t stay long in Akhibara because it’s a haven for ACG fans.
Unfortunately, both SY & myself are not a fan.
KAWAGUCHIKO LAKE & MOUNT FUJI
“Kawaguchiko has some of the best views of Fuji in Japan.”
In addition, Kawaguchiko Lake is the most easily accessible of the Fuji Five Lakes with train and direct bus connections to Tokyo.
We did a one-day trip thing to come explore this place.
HOW TO GET THERE TO KAWAGUCHIKO LAKE:
Express bus from Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal to Kawaguchiko Station (1750 yen, one way).
Then, walked 30 minutes to the Mt. Kachi Kachi Ropeway, & take a 3-mins hike to the summit at an elevation of 1,075 meters to see a panoramic view of Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi (800 yen, round trip).
Kawaguchiko Lake is literally located at the base of Mount Fuji. The lake is particularly breathtaking during the cherry blossom season around mid-April, but also equally beautiful in autumn colours on November.
Get up to the peak of Mt. Tenjo via the Mt. Kachi-kachi Ropeway, you will be rewarded with awesome view of the Mt. Fuji.
We were initially worried that the visibility may be limited due to haze and clouds. But guess we were lucky, that it was a beautiful sunny day with a clear view of this spectacular Mt. Fuji. Even without the snow top, it was amazing.
Hold my hand, and I will go everywhere with you.
I was telling SY how I wish we get to see the sunrise where Mt. Fuji actually turns red. With a slight regret of not getting up earlier, we went shopping at the Gotemba Premium Outlet. & guess what, later in the evening, we were surprised and awed by this amazing sunset view with Mount Fuji bathed in red glow, right outside of the NIKE shop in the Gotemba outlets. This is definitely the most pleasant surprise for this trip!
Hakone is known for its beautiful scenery and hot springs (onsen). You can also see Mount Fuji from here! People come here when they want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo.
On my post about WHERE TO STAY IN TOKYO, SY and I stayed in a hotel called Hotel Okada. We opted for the Superior Japanese Room albeit on the pricey side, because there’s a few outdoor hotel onsens amongst the lush greenery, some awesome spa facilities and more. Be sure to read this post about it, HERE.
Besides the Onsen, we came to Hakone for the legendary Hakone Shrine.
HOW TO GET TO HAKONE SHRINE:
35-minute bus ride by Hakone Tozan bus line H from the Hakone-Yomoto Station. (960 yen)
Note: There’s 4-5 buses per hour.
Hakone Shrine is a Japanese Shinto shrine on the shores of Lake Ashi, also known as the Hakone Gongen. It is hidden in the dense forest, accessible via the huge torii gates.
We braced through the cold & strong wind to find this Emoji landmark..
This certainly look like a portal to the sacred world.
Roppongi hills is one of the best examples of a city within a city, filled with lots of building complexes of offices, apartments, shops, restaurants, hotels, and art museum, and even an observation deck!
HOW TO GET TO ROPPONGI HILLS:
From Shinjuku Station: 9 mins on the Toei Oedo Line to Roppongi Station.
Roppongi Hill tower is 54 stories high, sitting at 238 meters high, it has a floor space area of 4,083,910 square feet, making it one of the largest buildings in the world just by this measure! It has indoor and outdoor observation platforms that offer panoramic views of the Tokyo city.
We opted the indoor viewing platform as it is open till late at night, as I preferred the night view of the sparkling city lights. ❤
We also went to the Doraemon Fair at Mori Arts Center and Art Museum. This happy chubby cat brings back so much childhood memories. If you grew up reading or watching Doraemon you will know exactly what I mean.
I still remember how I secretly wished I had a Doraemon, that would give me a time machine when I get bad grades in my exam during my primary school times. Haha.
This pretty much sums up my to-dos in Tokyo! I hope this gives you an idea on what to expect when you travel to Tokyo! Of course, let me know if I’ve missed out any interesting to-do, I would love to include it in my to-do on my next trip to Tokyo!
Remember, it is ok to explore Tokyo in smaller chunks at your own pace. If you rush to tick off all the #mustdo you saw/read online, you might missed out some of the hidden gem along the way.
Here’s a video to recap the things I did in Tokyo, enjoy! ❤
All photos and videos are taken using the Olympus OMD EM1MK2. #OLYMPUSMY || #MyCameraBTS –