When my friends were all in Japan and kept spamming the wall with everything in Japan, what I can do is to look back my trip’s photos and that actually motivated me to touch on my backlog a bit.
Being a first timer in Tokyo, what I did is mainly quite touristy. But.. If never been to these places, I will feel as though I have never been to Tokyo at all. So, here are the things I did when I was in Tokyo.
For full itinerary, check out the Japan Trip 2015: 9D8N Tokyo, Kawaguchiko & Kamakura
1. Visit to Tsukiji Market 築地市場 (Tsukiji Shijō)
We came here twice! The first day and the last day before heading back to the home country.
Tsukiji Market is the large wholesale market for fish, fruits and vegetables in central Tokyo; also the major tourist attraction in Tokyo. There are inner and outer markets where inner market is the place for wholesale business and tuna auction takes place; and outer markets are retails shops and restaurants. Tuna auction is opened to public but limited to 120 pax per day. You gotta wake up really early and queue and register yourself at the Osakana Fukyu Center at Kachidoki Gate. But sorry, I am not an early person like that, so I skipped this activity.
I was here for the uni, scallops, otoro, tamagoyaki, sake ice cream, daifuku大福…
From Shinjuku Station (since I stayed in Shinjuku), take the Oedo Subway Line to Tsukiji Shijo Station. This one way trip takes about 20 minutes at ¥ 270.
2. Dine in Kaisendon Marukita
I don’t mind day day having rice for breakfast as long as the rice comes with all these on the top – on the bed of fluffy rice topped with super fresh and essence-ful of seafood. Even the simple seaweed soup was heavenly good.
4 Chome−13, Tsukiji, Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to
3. Eat all the fresh fruits available in that season
It was the kyoho grape, muscat grape and kaki (Japanese persimmon) season when I was there. Every day, we just fed ourselves with these fruits, also some strawberries.
4. Visit the Tsukiji Honganji Temple
Located just a stone throw away from the market, Tsukiji Honganji Temple has a very distinctive ambience and exterior that is not seen in other Japanese temples.
The design of the exterior was based on an ancient Indian style and combines with Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic architectural. The columns and wide stairs of the Temple mimic the Greek and Roman architectural. The Buddhist statues are placed on the altar same way as Japanese temple does inside the temple.
Tsukiji Honganji Temple
3-15-1, Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Admission Fee: Free in the temple precincts
About 1 minute walk from Tsukiji Station.
5. Take photo with the red lantern
This is the must do in Asakusa, sightseeing from Kaminarimon to Senso-ji Temple 龍山浅草寺 (Tokyo’s most popular Buddhist temple); which runs through the busy Nakamise street that lines with souvenir shops and delicacies shops on both sides. Kaminarimon is the first entrance gate that leads towards Senso-ji Temple. It is forever crowded with tourists taking photos over here.
6. Slurp up the Takoyaki that is freshly prepared
Randomly found this small place as our pit stop. Fuel up ourselves before more walking to do.
7. Hop up the tallest building in Japan and catch the sunset
Tokyo Skytree 東京スカイツリー is the tallest building in Japan. Standing high at 634 meters and has a large shopping complex and an aquarium at its base.
Yes, another touristy spot it is. And I picked this climb up over the Tokyo Tower and the one in Ropponggi Hill.
Purchase your ticket at the 4th Floor Ticket Counter. This allows you to hop up to level Tokyo Skytree Tembo Deck which is 350m in height; at ¥ 2,060 for adult.
If you are keen to hop up to the higher level which is Tokyo Skytree Tembo Galleria at 450m high, get your ticket at Tembo Deck. It costs another ¥ 1,030 for adult.
Try to be there at around 4 pm and stay until late. You will get to have 2 kinds of view. Day time and night time. That was how I killed 2 birds with one stone. We were lucky to catch the sunset too; with a very clear view of Fuji-san.
Many may find it not worth coming over here because very touristy and crowded. I myself find it worthy as managed to capture the beautiful sunset side by side with Fuji-yama and the magnificent views of both day and night.
From Asakusa Station, I took the Asakusa Line to Oshiage ‘SKYTREE’. It takes about 3 mins at ¥180
8. Shop for Tokyo Skytree’s souvenirs at Tokyo Solamachi 東京ソラマチ
Prepare your wallet because there are damn lots of kawaii stuff not to get. And they are only available here, special edition with Tokyo Skytree on. There are too much to see and shop because everything is so kawaii till I cannot!!!
9. Dive into Piss Alley
Piss Alley, or also known as Memory Lane (Omoide Yokocho) is a small alleyway in the middle of Shinjuku. Along this alleyway, you will find a lot of yakitori bar both sides of the alleyway and they are all crowded with patrons from all walks of life. This place is not for the sumo wrestlers as the alleyway is very very very narrow, so do the yakitori places. Each shop housed only limited number of seats. If you are coming in a huge group, there is the possibility you will need to split tables.
We didn’t dine in here because we didn’t manage to get a space to accommodate all of us.
There is a little history about this alley. Read more here.
From Shinjuku station West exit (1 min walk): With Keio department on your left hand side and Odakyu department on your back, walk along the right side. You will see a UNIQLO building on the corner. Go around the corner, and you will find the green neon signs as the entrance of the alley.
10. Sushi, sushi, sushi in Ooedo Shinjuku Nishiguchi 大江戶迴轉壽司
Come here for the fresh and yummy sushi that won’t burn a hole in the wallets. Sushi-s here are really affordable yet delicious. Priced from ¥ 140 per plate (and I chose mainly ¥ 140).
Sashimi Moriawase and Reishu (ichigo) – Chilled sake (¥ 400) at the back
Itadakimasu. I love negi toro ones very much!!! With lots of minced spring onions and toro. Slurrrrp!
Ooedo Shinjuku Nishiguchi 大江戶迴轉壽司
1st Flr. Shinjuku Sunflower Bldg.,
1-3-1 Nishi Shinjuku,
Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo
11. Explore the “Sleepless Town” Kabukicho
The night was still young and we explored into Kabukicho. It has the name of “Sleepless Town” and this is actually the entertainment and red-light district in Shinjuku. This is a very very busy place that is always crowded and personally I don’t fancy here except for the drug stores and Don Quijote.
Extra Stuff You Can Do in Tokyo
If you would like to polish up your skill on cooking Japanese cuisine, feel free to join one of the cooking classes held in Tokyo . There are numerous classes for you to try on, such as Sushi making , Ramen and Gyoza Class , Tempura Class and etc. I am now eyeing on the Wagashi Class and also Bento Class to power up my bento skill. They are all conveniently located in Tokyo.
If you are planning to tour round Tokyo in a day like I did, get the day pass from the machine at ¥ 1000 in most of the stations. With this, you can travel round Tokyo, unlimited ride on both Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway Line.
Or, you can opt for a cheaper version if you have planned on how many consecutive days to travel in Tokyo. Get their 24 hours, 48 hours, or 72 hours at the price of ¥ 800, ¥ 1,200 and ¥1,500 respectively; which is a lot cheaper and you can save it for other use.
Read more on where to get this Tokyo Metro value ticket.