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Best Things to Do in Tokyo Japan


Sensoji Temple Tokyo Japan

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If you're reading part 3 that means I didn't lose you with parts 1 and 2. And hopefully, you're well on your way with planning your trip to Tokyo. Here's a quick recap of what we've covered thus far in part 1 and part 2:



My itinerary is especially helpful for those with a limited amount of time or you want a plan of action that is time efficient. For this trip, I used a different layout to organize my days that helped me reclaim my time.


We've covered a lot of information around transportation and itinerary organization. In part 3, we'll take a deeper dive into my itinerary. I will highlight the top 14 best things to do in Tokyo, Japan. In addition to activities that I didn't get to during my trip and look forward to doing next time. Lastly, I share some tips for navigating the language barrier.


Vector Art


Vector Art

TOP 14 BEST THINGS TO DO IN TOKYO JAPAN


1. Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Crossing is an iconic intersection in Shibuya, Tokyo. The “scramble crossing” is famous for being one of the busiest crosswalks in the world. There is so much energy as advertisements flash across the many television screens and people pour in from all directions. Trust me, the Shibuya Scramble makes an intersection in NYC look like the first cup in a Mario Kart game. Lol!


Be sure to visit the Starbucks located across from Shibuya Station. Once there, grab a drink and watch all the madness from above. Shibuya is great for shopping and nightlife. Fun fact: My favorite movie franchise filmed scenes at this popular location. If you guessed Fast and Furious, you would be correct!


Shibuya Crossing Tokyo Japan

2. Nakamise Street

Nakamise is a famous shopping street and one of the oldest located in Asakusa. Since this street is on the property of Sensoji Temple, it starts and ends with a temple gate.


I thought this was a great area to buy souvenirs. I definitely feel like I got more bang for my buck. I tried shopping at Don Quijote and it wasn't my cup of tea. The store was tiny (by American standards) and the souvenirs seemed generic and cheap. Lastly, it's highly recommended that you try out an eatery on the street. I'll just say, I hope you have better luck than I did.


Nakamise Street in Tokyo Japan

3. Mario Kart Experience

The Mario Kart experience hands down landed in my top 5 experiences. I opted to book with Tokyo Bay Street Kart. There are cheaper options available through Viator and Get Your Guide. At the time of our trip, I felt like those companies didn't have routes that included popular landmarks, which in my opinion is why they're cheaper. They have more options available now.


Vector Art


Vector Art

I booked the experience a few days in advance via Facebook Messenger. Tokyo Bay Street Kart does offer a discount if your promise to leave a review. There are several route options available. I chose the K-L course, which was the perfect amount of time. I ended up wearing a DIY Princess Peach costume. They do provide costumes, but due to licensing restrictions, they don't provide any Mario trademarked characters or costumes. They did ask me to sign a waiver saying I brought my own costume and that it was not provided by the company. I recommend bringing your own action camera to capture moments. I think you can rent one, but if you it's worth the investment to purchase your own. It is illegal to have your phone out while operating the go-cart.


The last detail to note, which is the most important is regarding your international driving permit. You are required to have one for this activity. There are exceptions / people who can use other forms of ID to participate.


Read my blog post: How to Get an International Driving Permit for more information.


Mario Kart Experience in Tokyo Japan

4. Shrines / Temples (Free)

In my opinion, visiting shrines and temples were a great way to learn about the history and culture of Japan, as well as the different religious practices and rituals. In addition, there are a variety of activities happening throughout the year on the grounds of the shrines and temples. There are thousands throughout Japan.


I didn't pay to get into any of the temples or shrines that I visited. However, you can offer monetary support by participating in the on-site activities, making a small donation, or buying a trinket/souvenir.


Shrine in Tokyo Japan

5. Food / Drinks

Try everything! The food and drinks overall were reasonably priced. My absolute favorite place to eat ramen was at Tokyo Tonkotsu Ramen Bakara located in the Shinjuku ward. My last night in Tokyo, I splurged dining out at a Wagyu Beef Restaurant. It was incredible! Don't sleep on the offerings at 7-11 either. It's not America's 7-11. I drink sake everyday both hot and cold depending on the vibe. I loved the vending machines!! There are vending machines at many ramen restaurants. They are also located throughout the streets of Tokyo, which makes it very convenient to grab a bottle of water, soda, or a snack while on the go.


Beware of "all inclusive" eateries. Some of these locations have been known to take advantage of tourists by adding hidden fees to the bill. Always ask questions before sitting down to eat or drink.


Ramen in Tokyo Japan

Tokyo Tonkotsu Ramen Bankara Shinjuku Kabukicho

6. Rainbow Bridge (Free)

The Rainbow Bridge was such a vibe and it is free to visit. I did not visit the bridge by foot. I chose the Mario Kart experience that included this attraction as part of the route. It was so dope to experience the bridge that way. I'm not sure if I would have felt the same visiting on foot.


7. Tokyo Tower

Same as above. I saw the Tokyo Tower during the Mario Kart experience. I do wish we would have had time to visit this attraction by foot. It resembles the Eiffel Tower and is a very popular attraction.


8. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (Free)

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building has an observation deck on the 45th floor with panoramic views of the city. It's free to enter. Plus, it's a great place to snap some photos. There was a pianist playing during my visit.


Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

Vector Art


Vector Art

9. Kabukicho

Kabukicho is the entertainment and Red Light District in Shinjuku. Beware of women trying to solicit adult activities. This area and the surrounding area comes to life on the weekend with locals pouring in after completing the work week.


Aside from that, it truly is a fun area to hang out. Check out some of the tours and activities on Get Your Guide.


Kabukicho Tokyo Japan

10. Golden Gai

I visited Golden Gai during the day. I didn't try to get in at night, however, I read some of the bars in the area charge tourists a cover. In addition to only allowing regulars to enter. Since my visit was short, I opted to go somewhere that I knew I could get into without paying a cover.


Golden Gai Tokyo Japan

11. Memory Lane

Memory Lane aka Piss Alley located in Shinjuku boasts a lot of small bars with great food and drinks. Go at night, take lots of pictures, and don't be afraid to interact with the locals. The area is steeped in history.


Best Things To Do in Tokyo

12. Nightlife

The nightlife in Tokyo is insane. Most bars open in the late afternoon and stay open until dawn. I stayed in Shinjuku, but Shibuya, Ginza, and Roppongi are also noted as some of the best nightlife districts. I ended up only partying in only Shinjuku due to transportation restrictions. The trains stop running around midnight. I didn't want to get stuck in another ward. Since taxis can be expensive, most folks just party until the trains start running again around 5am. I definitely want to experience a night out like this, but I was on limited time. I couldn't play those reindeer games.


Check out Get Your Guide for bar hopping and sake drinking tours, karaoke, and so much more!


Best Things To Do in Tokyo

13. Tokyo Free Guide (Free・ish)

This was so clutch! Tokyo Free Guide provides full day or half day guided tours in Tokyo. I kind of did a full day, I just chose to start around 10am instead of starting earlier. There is not a guiding fee for this volunteer service. You will only pay for the cost associated with the activities for the day. For my boyfriend, the guide, and myself, we spent approximately $60 for train fare, lunch, etc.


The guide was phenomenal! You can book within two months of your trip. I did cut it close, but was still able to secure a guide. Part of your booking includes selecting attractions and areas you would like to visit. I chose places I thought would be harder for us to navigate to on my own. The guide will meet you in your hotel lobby and bring you back at the end of the day.


Tokyo Free Guide

14. 7-Eleven

There is a 7-Eleven on almost every corner in Tokyo. You have to try the food offerings. If I have to compare it to something, it's almost like shopping the hot food sections and stations at Wholefoods. The offerings are like nothing at an American 7-Eleven. They are opened 24 hours. If you need cash, they have ATMs.


This reminds me - many restaurants don't accept American credit or debit cards. Be sure to carry cash or ask ahead.


7-Eleven in Tokyo, Japan

ACTIVITIES / PLACES FOR NEXT TIME


The above list barely scratches the surface of things to do in Tokyo, but it's a great starting point. There are somethings I wish I could have done while visiting, but due to time restraints and availability, I couldn't do everything. Here are some activities and places on my list for next time:



NAVIGATING THE LANGUAGE BARRIER


In order to navigate the language barrier, I downloaded Google Lens. This app translates menus, signs, etc. In addition I took screenshots of the storefronts and restaurants to use as a reference. I did this because the name could be listed in English on Yelp or Google, however, the name might not be in English at the actual location of the business. It might be in Japanese. So having a picture of the storefront to use as a reference is super helpful.


Google Translate was helpful for learning words to get around and to place orders at restaurants. If you're like me and always have a complicated order, this is the way to go. I also did a lot of pointing. Now, this can be considered rude, but I think they understood my heart was in the right place.


You're so ready now! We've covered transportation, itinerary assistance, and the top activities and places to visit during your trip. If you notice, I tried my best to indicate which activities were free. I hope you feel empowered to plan your trip!


Drop any questions you have in the comments.




Best Things to do in Tokyo Japan






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Hey Y'all!

I'm Santeka - a colorful, outspoken Southern woman that landed in New Jersey. Welcome to my corner of the internet where I share travel, food, twirlable moments, DIY pjojects, and fixer upper inspiration all while living my life out loud! My favorite gig is helping entrepreneurs leverage their table to grow their business.

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