Tokyo City Guide

Tokyo City Guide

Tokyo is the New York City of Japan, just like the City that Never Sleeps, Tokyo is an equal mix of urban sprawl, quirky and unique districts, tremendous museums/gardens/history, and a rich culture that blends the senses together. With amazing food, architecture, entertainment, and nightlife, there is something for everyone in Tokyo. 

My travel tips would be to make use of the trains, the cabs can get expensive, and make sure to do your research ahead of time. There are tons of opportunities to engage with whatever you're interested in, but know where to find it before you hit the road. a

Must-dos: 
 - Tsukiji Fish Market: this sprawling marketplace gets started well before sunrise, and if you brave the lines you'll have some of the best sushi of your life, like we did at Sushi Dai
 - Get out of the City: Hakone, Nikko, or even Mt. Fuji are all day trips from the bustle of Tokyo, and is easily navigated. Especially if you're considering a Tokyo-only trip, explore day trip options. 
 - Tokyo Imperial Palace: Japan's much more historic and striking version of the White House. The grounds are spectacular, but you may want to check out the imperial household agency visit guides if you're thinking about touring the palace.
 - Shinjuku Gyoen: The Central Park of Tokyo, Shinjuku Gyoen has a traditional Japanese garden with ponds and landscape (and amazing views of traditional Chrysanthemums), the English Garden with a subtropical greenhouse, and the French landscaped garden. You can see stunning cherry blossoms when the timing is right, and picturesque autumn leaf color changes. Most of the gardens are free, and the rest is well worth the yen.
 - Tokyo Tower: This pitstop is cheesy but fun. Think of the Eiffel Tower's little brother, with crepe stands at the bottom and tourist shops anywhere they could stick them. 
 - Senso-Ji: This ancient Buddhist temple is one of Japan's oldest and most significant. 
 - Odawara Castle: this stunning castle offers full tours and plenty of Japanese history along the way. 
 - Menji Shrine: Another historic and meticulously kept shrine. 
 - Rippongi Hills: the biggest mall you've ever seen.

Fun Districts:
 - Rippongi: Great for shopping
 - Harajuku: No sightings of Gwen Stefani, but plenty of unique fashion, boutiques, and crowds.
 - Shibuya: Check out the famous crossing. It is true, the second floor Starbucks offers a great view. 
 - Ebisu: Excellent Food scene

We didn't do Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo Robot, but I heard great things if you're into live entertainment. 

A word to animal lovers: I thought the Owl and Cat cafes would be fun, memorable experiences, but I left feeling disheartened. The reality is the cats are kept sedated and the high temperatures of the cafe are deliberate so the animals are tired and lethargic. Owls are chained to their keepers and it doesn't seem ideal for anyone. 

Food: 
 - Afuri Ramen
 - Fuunji Ramen
 - Karikabo Fire Ramen
 - Butagami

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