You know I love the big city lights. High skyscrapers, chaotic city life and endless drinking options have always attracted me. I already consider cities like New York, London and Bangkok as my favourite cities on earth. Now a new city has been added to this list and it has reached the top. TOKYO!!
I was expecting a different experience, but I didn't expect everything to be so different and interesting. Walking on the street you feel like in an arcade game. The food, the people, the culture… everything you hear about Japan is actually true. I have traveled to many countries and capitals of Asia, but Tokyo is literally a different world! I can't wait to go back again. I will tell you in detail which places to go in Tokyo and where to eat in Tokyo.
This is one of Tokyo's most crazy neighborhoods I would say.
It is also called Electric City, where you can entire buildings devoted to arcade games, Manga, Cosplay and the famous Maid Cafes (a weird cafe concept where cute girls make cute gestures and serve cute meals), Anime, electronics stores, Panchinko's and many more.
Even if you are not interested in these things, you must visit Akihabara. We had a lot of fun especially with the devices called Pachinko – I believe claw machine is the English term - and playing arcade games.
Ginza is Tokyo's fanciest neighborhood.
When you remove the neon signs in Japanese and the people, you could think you are in New York. It is famous for its long shopping streets full of luxury brands, shopping malls and fancy restaurants. Certainly not the most different or impressive district of Tokyo, but ideal for a little stroll and especially shopping. In particular, we could not leave the 12-storey Uniqlo store for hours, the have so many different styles here and prices are much cheaper than anywhere
When you're hungry, here are the best places to eat in Ginza
Chao Chao Gyoza - A tiny place that only serves Gyoza, very good
Yakitori Ton Ton – Only serves Yakitori in a super authentic location, must try
Ginza Kagari - Soba noodles
Midori Sushi – Sushi
Harajuku & Ometesando
By far my favourite neighborhoods in Tokyo.
You must stop by here if you like boutique shopping, cool cafes, interesting shops, stylish places and stuff like this. It seemed like a neighborhood especially popular with the young and cool crowd.
There are a few things to see here. First comes Takeshita Street.
This tiny street is devoted to everything cute or “kawaii” like the locals would call it. Fun shops, crepe shops (not your usual crepe though) and the Insta-famous rainbow cotton candy.
My favorite activity here was Purikura. What is Purikura? It’s actually a photo booth, but not the once we know. Imagine an entire floor with photo booths and the best thing about them, they make you look like an anime character. It costs 400 YEN and we had so much fun, I’ll remember this for a long time.
Cat Street is a pedestrian street with cool boutiques and cafes lined up. The name comes from catwalk, so don’t expect to see any cute cats here.
After strolling around Cat Street, you should explore the side streets behind Ometesando station. One of the coolest area of Tokyo.
Some great places to eat in Harajuku and Ometesando
Harajuku Gyoza Lou - A quick bite, only serves Gyoza and they are the best
Maison Able Cafe Ron Ron - All you can eat dessert on a conveyor belt, a very fun concept
Chop Coffee - Coffee Break
The matcha - A nice place to taste Matcha tea
Eggs 'n Things
Kawaii Monster Cafe
Gomaya Kuki - Try the sesame ice cream
Higuma Donuts x Coffee Wrights
COMEBUYTEA – Bubble tea and more
A Happy Pancake Omotesando - Breakfast
the AIRSTREAM GARDEN
The Roastery by Nozy Coffee
The area you should stop by for nightlife.
Even though it is lively during the day, the real deal is after sunset.
Stroll through the narrow alley called Omoide Yokocho or also called Yakitori Alley or Piss Alley and try some local food. This alley is especially popular after a night out. Here you will find a small food places with maximum of 5-6 seats each. We tried Eel Yakitori at the place called Kabuto. A must try!
From here, we headed towards Shinjuku City. This is again and fun area with tons of neon signs.
Here you can also find the famous Robot Café and Tokyo's Red Light district.
For drinks, head to Golden Gai. There are lots of tiny bars lined up. I mean tiny, really tiny with a maximum capacity of 5-6 people each.
Probably the most touristy and well-known area of Tokyo.
Famous for the busiest crosswalk in the world. It's the Times Square of Tokyo. Although it is not my favourite area, you have to visit at least once. It is also a very good area for shopping. The famous Hachiko statue is also here.
Dining places are a bit touristy and more expensive than other parts of the city.
Here some great places to eat in Shibuya
Genki Sushi - Very touristy but the sushi is tasty and quite cheap
Uobei - Sushi
Kushiyaki Bistro Fukumimi - Had a nice Japanese dinner here
GEN GEN AN by EN TEA – Tea place
Mega Don Quijote-Shibuya – Shopping madness, especially the snacks area is a must!
The hotel we stayed Nohga Hotel was located in Ueno. A much less touristy and more local neighborhood. The most notable places here are Ueno Park and Ameyoko street market.
There are also many museums in this neighborhood. Ueno Park is a large park where you can see Sakura flowers (in the right season) and some temples.
Ameyoko Market is a great place for street food.
We had some Takoyaki Balls and it was delicious. Another great place I can recommend is Edekko Sushi.
Here a few places we wanted to visit but did not have time for:
- Imperial Palace
- Tsukiji Fish Market
- teamLab Borderless
- Odaiba Island
- Yoyogi Park
- Tokyo City Hall (go up to the 42nd floor for free)
- Roppongi neighborhood
- Mario Kart Gokart tour
- Order Ramen from a vending machine
So, we have a lot of reasons to go back to Tokyo soon. After Tokyo, we took the Shinkansen train to Kyoto. Click for my Kyoto travel guide (coming soon).