Tokyo Top 10
Our team have spent time out in Tokyo preparing for the Olympic Games and came back full of ideas and recommendations on their favourite places to visit, favourite hangouts and what Team GB fans shouldn’t miss when visiting Japan’s capital city. We have put these top tips together for you in a handy list, to make sure you get the most out of a visit to Tokyo!
The views from the tallest tower in the world were recommended by every member of our Tokyo team. One top tip is to go before sunset as you can enjoy day and night views and get some fantastic views of the sky at sunset. If heights are not your thing, one team member says “you don’t have to go up it to be in awe of its architectural brilliance. Take it in at dusk for some fabulous photo opportunities just the other side of the river with the Asahi Beer Hall in the foreground”.
Supposedly the busiest crossing in the world, this seems to be where all of Tokyo wants to get to the other side of the street at the same time. If you don’t fancy crossing the road yourself or bumping in to elaborate selfies and wedding proposals, take a seat on the second floor of Starbucks for the best view of the crossing. A top tip is to go in the evening rush hour as during the day it is a bit quieter than the pictures and videos online would suggest. It is also pretty unique and inspiring when the surrounding buildings are lit up. Shibuya Crossing is just 1 minutes’ walk from the subway station.
Despite being only a 5-minute walk from Harajuku Station and Takeshita Street, the shrine has a real rural feel as there are many surrounding trees that line the route. Set in Yoyogi Park, it is an ideal calm in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the Olympic Games. Everyone seems to slow down a little and take in the peace and serenity that you can amazingly find in the centre of Tokyo. A great place to stroll and escape the city with good photo opportunities. It is also free to enter.
An absolute must for any traveller to Tokyo is the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. It is one of Tokyo’s most colourful and popular temples. It is also the oldest temple in Tokyo and features Tokyo’s biggest souvenir market. Asakusa itself is a vibrant area of the city, just a 15-minute train ride from Tokyo station (or 20-minutes from Shinjuku and 30-minutes from Shibuya). With narrow streets, market stalls and a five storied pagoda - this is one to check off the bucket list.
This pedestrianised street is full of shops, markets and restaurants. Although you will see some western favourites such as McDonald’s and The Body Shop, most of the shops along Takeshita Street are small independent shops. It definitely has a Japanese feel to it and it’s a great place to pick up some presents for those back home.
Baseball Batting Centres
Baseball is Japan’s most popular sport and batting centres are everywhere in Tokyo. Our team who tried it out have said that it is great fun and, although a little different, travellers with children should certainly enjoy having a go at it!
Golden Gai is a collection of mismatched, tumbledown bars lining alleyways in a darkened corner of Shinjuku. While surrounding areas have been developed and look like any other part of Tokyo, Golden Gai retains the post-war charm often lost in the shiny modern metropolis we are more familiar with. Frequented by celebrities and home to many small bars and restaurants, each night is an adventure into the unknown and unexpected. The bars can only fit a few seats at most so each is unique and cosy.
Metropolitan Government Building
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku has free observation decks which provide good panoramic views of Tokyo and beyond on a clear day. With favourable weather conditions, famous landmarks such as Mount Fuji, the Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower, Meiji Shrine and the Tokyo Dome can be seen from the observatories. It is also located within walking distance of the Hilton Tokyo.
As well as being the area that is home to the Metropolitan Government Building and Golden Gai, Shinjuku is also home to Shinjuku Station, the world’s busiest railway station handling more than two million passengers every day. Downtown Shinjuku is a scenic area to walk around, with lots of entertainment and shopping outlets, but a visit to the train station is definitely an experience in itself.
Accessed via the Rainbow Bridge or the futuristic Yurikamome train, Odaiba is a high-tech entertainment hub on an artificial island in Tokyo Bay. There are numerous shops, museums and restaurants as well as beaches and parks to check out. The area has great views of the Rainbow Bridge and our team felt that it was a nice place to walk around, with a lot of shopping and dining options.