2019 Tokyo Bucket List: 30 Top Things to Do
From classic tourist attractions to latest trendy spots
1. Robot Restaurant
The high tech machine extravaganza with flashy neon lights..is there any other place as unrealistic as this place? Robot Restaurant is a crazy and entertaining spots to see the robot show while dining. The 10 billion yen worth restaurant is located in Shinjuku area, the biggest red light district in Tokyo often called “the districts never sleeps”. Out of hundreds of night-out spots in the area, the Robot Restaurant absolutely stands out as it’s totally unique, and something you can never find anywhere on earth. Booking in advance is needed, and the link to discount tickets are available here.
▶ Get Special Discount!! Book Robot Restaurant Tickets Now!!
2. Get Tipsy at Izakaya Alleys
Tokyo has numbers of fancy restaurants and bars serving fine meals, but for more unique booze experience, Izakaya alleys (Yokocho) are better options.
Izakaya is Japanese style bar/gastropub serving drink and usually Japanese food or snacks. It’s popular among salary man and locals to hop in right after work for a couple of beers. Izakaya alleys are old fashioned, smokey narrow streets clammed by small Izakaya, and they can be found at several locations in town such as Shinjuku, Shibuya and Ueno area.
Some of Izakara are very tiny and have only a few seats. Sitting next to local and sipping a glass of Sake with authentic Japanese snacks could be a whole new experience for foreign tourists rather than dining at fabulous bars.
One of the best ways to explore the drinking culture in Tokyo is joining bar-hopping tours! A lot of local Izakaya might be hard to find or enter for first time visitors, but the local bar hopping tour can take you to hidden bars and Izakaya and show you the real drinking culture in Tokyo! You can check the link below for more details and find the best bar-hopping tours in popular areas Tokyo!
3. Watching Sumo Morning Practice
Sumo is a national sport in Japan, considerably started in ancient time, and it’s also one of most unique and interesting cultures in Japan. Numbers of Sumo stables (training rooms) are located in Tokyo, especially in Ryogoku area, which is not too far from Asakusa area and the Tokyo Skytree, and some of them are open for public viewing of their morning practice. I’ve personally participated this activity once and it was absolutely fantastic. Watching Sumo wrestlers in action in such a close distance is totally breathtaking, and by knowing how hard they train physically and mentally, I admire the sport much more and respect the wrestlers. It’s not cheap activity for every traveller, but it’s definitely worth the money and one of most precious experiences you can have in Japan.
▶ Watch Early Morning Sumo Training in Tokyo at a Sumo Stable
4. Animal Cafe
Animal Cafe is one of the significant places to represent Kawaii culture of Japan, and there are various kinds of animal cafes today in Tokyo where you can meet, touch and play with adorable animals.
Owl cafe is the first animal cafe become sensationally popular in Tokyo featuring several types of owls. It’s rare to see owls in real life, but at owl cafes in Tokyo, you can actually touch them, take picture together and share a precious moment together with the adorable owls in the heart of Tokyo.
▶ Book owl cafe in Harajuku or Shibuya with special discount!
If you are deciding which animal cafe to visit in Tokyo, I’d also recommend a hedgehog cafe. The cozy cafe features one of the cutest creatures on the planet, little hedgehogs, and you can watch them in life, touch them and play together.
▶ Book the cute hedgehog cafe in Roppongi, Tokyo!
More animal cafes are available in Tokyo, so check out the link below for more information!
5. MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM — teamLab Borderless
MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM — teamLab Borderless opened in Odaiba area, Tokyo in summer 2018 as the very first digital art museum in the world. Since then, it has been one of the hottest spots in town. The museum offers an unique interactive art experience with the latest high technology. Multiple digital art exhibitions are displayed in a huge space and the artworks are projected across walls and floors, and immersive installations of light and sound move and reflect by your movements and touches. Lose yourself into the immersive digital artworks! Make sure to take to bring your camera as it’s the perfect place to take Instagram photos. See the attached link below to get ticket info!
6. Visit Sensoji, Asakusa
Tokyo’s oldest temple, Sensoji Temple is located at the historic center of the city, Asakusa area. Take photos of an iconic Kaminarimon gate, stroll down “Nakamise Street”, the approach to the main hall of the temple with traditional street snacks. It’s a great area to experience Japanese traditions while being in this modern Metropolis.
Asakusa is also a great area to eat traditional Japanese cuisine, as there are numbers of long-established Japanese restaurants serving authentic dishes such as Sukiyaki, Tempura and Sushi. Variety of traditional activities can be found in this area, such as riding Rickshaw, wearing Kimono dress, etc. Besides, the area is very close to other tourist attractions such as Tokyo Skytree, Sumida River, Kappabashi Street and Ueno area.
7. Playful Ueno Park
Short distance from Asakusa area, Ueno is the center of Tokyo’s old downtown area and where one of the biggest parks in Tokyo is located. Ueno Park consists of numbers of attractive facilities including museums, a zoo, historical monuments and rich nature. Especially, Ueno Park is trending this year because last summer, the Giant Panda baby, Xiang Xiang was born at Ueno Zoo and she made her public debut in December.
You can easily spend a whole day, and along with the park, you should also visit Ameyoko street, another main attraction of the area. The street has vibrant and chaotic atmosphere with lots of discount stores, groceries, and street food stalls. Ueno and the surrounded has numbers of budget guests houses and it’s a popular area for backpackers.
8. Gaze at/from Tokyo Tower
Even though the tower may get less attention today after Tokyo Skytree was built, still it has been the best symbol of the city. Tokyo Tower is enjoyable either seeing it from distance or gaze the city from the observatory of the tower itself.
▶ Get Tickets to Tokyo Tower Main Observatory Deck!
My recommended viewing spot of Tokyo Tower is Zojoji Temple, which is located right next to the tower. The temple is the head temple of the Jodo sect of Japanese Buddhism, and it’s strongly related to Tokugawa clan. The temple made an appearance in the film “The Wolverine”, and became well-known. Or simply check the link below for more great viewing spots of Tokyo Tower.
9. Drive like Super Mario
Special activities are always popular option to experience traditional Japanese culture or unique activities, and Go Kart has been one of top activities become hugely well known these days.With a valid Japanese/international driving license, you can drive Go Kart in character’s costumes through the city just like in the video game, Mario Kart!! Race with a group and drive through bustling areas of the city such as Akihabara, Shibuya and around Tokyo Tower. Last year, the British F1 racing driver, Jenson Button was captured driving go-kart on the road of Tokyo city, and seemed like he loved it!
▶ !!Discount!! Rent a Go-Kart and ride around Akihabara Tokyo!
▶ !! Discount!! Book Go-Kart in Roppongi, Tokyo!
10. Eat Ramen at Shinjuku
Ramen is one of most popular Japanese dishes among foreigners along with Sushi and Tempura, and it is indeed most beloved food among Japanese nations. Tokyo has thousands of Ramen restaurants, but most notably Shinjuku area owns most with over 300 and the area is often called the most competitive Ramen district in Tokyo. So if you are a Ramen lover and hunting for best Ramen dishes, simply visiting Shinjuku would be the best option. From everyone’s favourite Ichiran to Tsukemen (dipping Noodles) and Halal Ramen, many kinds of ramen dishes can be found in Shinjuku area. Be prepared to queue up for 30 mins or more at some popular Ramen stores, especially during lunch time!
11. Free City View at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
Visiting one of observatories in Tokyo is an essential since the overlook view of the city is pretty impressive especially at night. The reason why Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is recommended is that its observatories (there are two) on 45th floor, 202 m above the sea level are total free to enter.
Moreover, the building is located in a short distance from the west gate of Shinjuku Station and the surrounding area is well known for skyscrapers. It’s a great spot to hang around at night along with your visit to Izakaya Alleys or Robot Restaurants which are also located in Shinjuku area.
12. Take a Best Photo at Shibuya Scramble Crossing
Shibuya Scramble Crossing has been the hottest photo spot in past years, and when you go there you’ll see many tourists waiting for the best moment for a shoot at the corner of crossing. The world’s busiest crossing are passed by about a half million people daily, the view of passengers coming from the all directions at once when the traffic lights turn green is simply stunning.
Shibuya is known as Tokyo’s most trendy district and it’s home to Japanese young culture. Numbers of large shopping malls, small boutiques, discount stores, bars, clubs, cafes and restaurants are located here. The crossing and the surrounding area often become a place for unofficial street celebration for young people , and the most notable one is on Halloween Day, when thousands of party lovers in unique costumes gather and roam around the street of Shibuya all night long.