From Heart And Seoul
Sensoji Temple Kaminarimon Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan

12 Spectacular Things You Absolutely Can’t Miss in Tokyo

March 18, 2017 16 Comments

We just got back from Japan a few short days ago, and first off let me say – it may be one of my favorite countries in the world. The people are amazing (so nice and helpful), public transportation will take you anywhere you want to go, and the list of things to do is seriously endless. If you find yourself in Tokyo, you might feel a little overwhelmed with deciding how to spend your time. Through lots of research and 2 trips to the city, I’ve put together a must-do list if it’s your first (or only) visit. From food to sights to unique Japanese experiences, you won’t want to skip any of these. Read on for 12 spectacular things you can’t miss in Tokyo!

 

 

1. Experience Conveyor Belt Sushi

What could be better than the FRESHEST, most authentic sushi in the world? That sushi coming to you on a conveyor belt. Yes.

Although there are plenty of places in Tokyo where you can experience conveyor belt sushi (and you probably won’t have bad sushi anywhere in Japan), it pays to do your research and find a spot that comes highly recommended. We did just that and ended up at Kappa Sushi – also known as Sushi-Nova. You can read details about our conveyor belt sushi experience here.

Conveyor Belt Sushi from Kappa Sushi (Sushi Nova) in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan

 

2. Take in the view from the top of Tokyo Skytree

Yes, you’ll have to wait in a long line. Normally tourist attractions like these wouldn’t make the cut, since there is an observation deck with a view in just about every major city on the planet. But when you’re in the most populated city on the face of the earth, there’s an exception to be made. Don’t forget that we’re also talking about the tallest tower in the world (and the tallest structure second only to Dubai’s Burj Khalifa). If you have 2 hours to spare – don’t miss it.

Tokyo Skytree in Japan

 

3. Visit Sensoji Temple in Asakusa

Sensoji Temple in Asakusa is the most visited temple in Tokyo – and for good reason. The massive red lanterns that hang at Kaminarimon (the entrance or “Thunder Gate”) are something you won’t see anywhere else. There’s plenty to do in the area too. Just wander down the main shopping street (Nakamise) and you’ll come to the second gate, Hozomon. Afterwards, explore the surrounding area for great food & shopping.

Sensoji Temple Kaminarimon Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan

 

4. Go to an Owl Cafe (or Hedgehog cafe, Fox cafe…)

Japan is known for some of the most eclectic places out there when it comes to cafes & restaurants. A staple among them are owl cafes. Have a cup of coffee while you walk around in the midst of baby owls and fully-grown ones alike. Some are for petting and some are just for looking, but regardless it’s an experience you won’t find anywhere else.

Owl Cafe in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan

 

5. Walk through Harajuku’s famous Takeshita-Dori street

This street is anything but boring. If you’ve ever heard the word Harajuku – you know what I’m talking about. Flashy clothing, bright colors, and funky hair & makeup are all around you. Just be warned that the street gets VERY crowded. Even if you’re not interested in buying anything, a quick walk down Takeshita-Dori is worth it. Grab a crepe from a nearby bakery before you leave!

Takeshita Dori Street in Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan

 

6. Experience an authentic Japanese Sumo Tournament

Sumo wrestling is truly something else. Hands down one of the most interesting and unique experiences I’ve ever had. Japan’s Grand Sumo Tournaments are only held a few times a year, so you’ll have to plan ahead for this one. But if at all possible, make sure your trip falls on corresponding dates. The entire thing is in Japanese, but I promise it won’t make any difference! If you’re planning to go, make sure to read this post for everything you need to know about watching sumo in Japan.

Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka, Japan

 

7. Go for a tasting at a standing room only Sake bar

You have to have sake when in Japan. Most people think of sake as served hot, but you can have it both hot and cold. You should absolutely try both! For the best experience, find a local sake bar (you’ll know it’s the real deal if it’s tiny & standing room only) and taste a little of everything!

Sakestand Sake bar in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

 

8. Have coffee overlooking the infamous Shibuya Scramble Crossing

If you don’t know what the Shibuya Scramble is, just do a quick search on Youtube and you’ll see why it’s famous. It’s the busiest and biggest crosswalk in the world. The pedestrian crosswalks go all directions (where 10 lanes of traffic converge) and they all turn green at the same time. At peak times, it’s said that over 1000 people are crossing at once. Trust me, you’ll want the view from above here.

Shibuya Scramble Crossing in Tokyo Japan

 

9. Catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji (from afar or near)

If you want to see Mt. Fuji up close, you’ll need to set aside an extra day for the trek out of Tokyo. Personally, I think it may be just as impressive from afar. You can catch the view a couple of different ways on a clear day, but make sure you at least get a glimpse before leaving Japan. We got a full 15 minutes of viewing Mt. Fuji from our train ride down to Osaka – if you do the same, keep an eye out on the right hand side!

view of Mt. Fuji from Tokaido Shinkansen Nozomi bullet train in Tokyo Japan

 

10. Take a ride on Japan’s fastest bullet train

The Shinkansen is Japan’s bullet train – and if you’re doing it right you’ll want to take the fastest version, which is the Nozomi train. Reaching speeds of up to 186 mph, the ride is so smooth you can fall asleep on it (and we did)! It’s perfect for making the most of your trip and hopping all over the country in a few hours!

Tokaido Shinkansen Nozomi bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka Japan

 

11. Order from a local Vending Machine Ramen restaurant

It’s hard to pick the most authentic Japanese experience we had, but this might be it. Ramen is a Japanese staple, and it’s SO much better than the packaged stuff we think of when we hear the word. You can find it everywhere, but if you want to do as the Japanese do, go to a tiny local spot with a vending machine outside. You’ll put your money in and place your order there – then bring your ticket inside and let the chef work his magic! Prepare to leave full! For more details on how to eat ramen in Japan, click here.

Vending Machine Ramen in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

 

12. Get a view of Tokyo Tower from Roppongi Hills

Roppongi is known for it’s nightlife, but you should also visit there for some of the best views in Tokyo. Head to the observation deck in Mori Tower – there’s a small fee, but you’ll have a direct line of sight to Tokyo Tower (the famous Tokyo landmark – a “red eiffel tower”). On a clear day, you’ll be able to see the whole city – and it’s much less crowded than other popular spots.

View of Tokyo Tower from Roppongi Hills Mori Tower Tokyo City View Japan

 

Hope you guys enjoyed 🙂 Check back in the weeks to come for more detailed information on some of our favorite spots listed here!

 

If it's your first trip to Tokyo, the capital city of Japan can be a bit overwhelming! Click here for a breakdown of the must dos - from sumo wrestling to Mt. Fuji to conveyor belt sushi, it's all covered here!
If it's your first trip to Tokyo, the capital city of Japan can be a bit overwhelming! Click here for a breakdown of the must dos - from sumo wrestling to Mt. Fuji to conveyor belt sushi, it's all covered here!

16 Comments

  1. Reply

    Jean

    March 18, 2017

    Oh I love Japan! This post makes me miss Tokyo and ramen so much. If only I could have some delicious ramen right now.

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      March 19, 2017

      Yes! We only had ramen once while we were there, but I’m already missing it!

  2. Reply

    Rhiannon

    March 18, 2017

    Great post! My partner and I are currently in Tokyo for 10 days so this is super helpful! Thanks! 😀

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      March 19, 2017

      Hope this helps you guys navigate the city a little bit 🙂 Have so much fun!

  3. Reply

    Kristine Li

    March 18, 2017

    Awesome list! Gosh, the crowds at Harajuku, absolutely madness. That view you had of Mt Fuji was so nice with it being snow-capped! I love Tokyo for so many reasons – can’t seem to get sick of it!

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      March 19, 2017

      Agreed! The crowds are insane – it takes so long to make it down the street once, and by the end of it we just wanted to walk down back alleys! Haha

      I’m right there with you though, Tokyo never seems to get old 🙂

  4. Reply

    Allison Wong

    March 18, 2017

    Great Tips! I love Japan, it’s my favourite country to travel in Asia. Love your pics too~!

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      March 19, 2017

      Japan is (one of) my favorites too! 🙂

  5. Reply

    Megan Johnson

    March 18, 2017

    I looooved Tokyo. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see Mt. Fuji at all or go to Roppongi Hills, but I did get to meet a sumo wrestler and spent so much time in Shibuya. I would love to go back sooner than later!

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      March 19, 2017

      We actually didn’t see Mt. Fuji at all our first trip! The weather was horrible :/

      Glad you enjoyed Shibuya though! That’s where we stayed this time and it was one of my favorite areas!

  6. Reply

    C-Ludik

    March 18, 2017

    Tokyo seems a marvelous mix of modern living and old-fashioned manners, slick high-tech gadgets and cutesy cartoon mascots ! On your post, you share how to see the loveliest — and liveliest — sides of Tokyo in a day or two. Thank you 🙂

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      March 19, 2017

      That’s a great way of putting it! I love the contrast between old Japanese traditions and all the movement of a 13 million person city! It never gets boring 🙂

  7. Reply

    Daphne from Girlswanderlust

    March 18, 2017

    Great list!! Good to know that Kappa Sushi (Sushi-Nova) is one of the best places to eat Sushi.. I love the view of the Roppongi Hills! =) I will save this list for later, so I know exactly where to travel to when staying in Tokyo.

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      March 19, 2017

      We thought so! I’d go back there in a heartbeat, and I know they have other locations all over the city 🙂

  8. Reply

    Bilyana | OwlOverTheWorld

    March 22, 2017

    Awesome list! I want to visit Japan from a long time now. The Owl cafe is definitely on my bucket list for Japan, because as you can see from my ”name” I’m a little bit obsessed with them 😀

    • Reply

      Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul

      March 23, 2017

      Yes! You should definitely visit! The owls are so cute 🙂

LEAVE A COMMENT

RELATED POSTS