A place that’s always been on my bucket list is Japan and I finally got the chance to go last month. I did loads of research and if you’re thinking of visiting Tokyo, here are my tips and things to do!
I had super high expectations because I love cities and parts of the experience lived up to the hype, but other parts were perhaps not what I’d hoped.
Firstly, the thing that shocked me most about Tokyo is how antisocial it can be as a whole. It has a beautiful culture with lots of wonderful traditions but with that comes a massive culture shock. It’s quiet. The subway and the streets were pretty silent most of the time which was unexpected in a large city.
The one place that wasn’t like that was the famous Shibuya Crossing which was a hive of activity. Hundreds of people crossing the road – it was buzzing and definitely a must-see. It encapsulated everything I thought Tokyo would be.
Another very worthwhile sight is the Senso-Ji Temple. It was gorgeous. There is a long walkway leading up to the temple lined with stalls and tourists can rent a kimono from there for those Instagrammable shots and buy all sorts of souvenirs like chopsticks.
Dotted throughout the walkway are multiple places to buy a fortune for 100Y (37p). You shake a container until a chopstick falls out with a number on it. The number correlates to a drawer in which papers lie. You read your fortune out loud and, if it’s good you’re supposed to be very humble and grateful to ensure it comes true. If it’s bad, you tie it up on a string adjacent to the fortune station.
An amazing thing to do is the interactive art gallery called TeamLab: Borderless. I got the most amazing photos here because every room is a whirlwind of colours and really pretty scenery. There was one room in which you could bounce on a trampoline to make stars explode on the walls around you. You could also colour in flowers and animals that were scanned and appeared on the walls around you. It was incredible. We had to queue for this lantern room but it was worth it.
- Everything is quite expensive there so make sure you take enough money.
- The main food you’ll find is Sushi but, you might be as surprised as me to find that there are also loads of Italian restaurants!
- The Subway is the best way to get around for tourists and it’s just like the Tube. There is a daily pass you can buy that works out way cheaper than taxis which can be up to £40 for a ten minute journey!
- Expect the accommodation to be small and you won’t be disappointed. There are so many people living in Tokyo that every space counts, meaning hotel rooms are quite small but modern and comfortable. APA hotels are a good shout if you don’t fancy a capsule pod! (Look them up, they’re mad!)
Overall, Tokyo is an amazing place to go if you want the buzz of a city mixed with the traditional customs of Japan.