Tokyo, a city that spells enchantment and exhilaration all at once, with its dazzling, futuristic cityscape set against the majestic Mt. Fuji, where modern skyscrapers brush shoulders with ancient shrines, and where a tide of humanity hurries about its business, full of passion and enterprise. There are more surprises stashed away in its corners than every other major city put together, and discovering the wonders along with the quirks is what make Tokyo so interesting. Some ideas to know what to do in Tokyo.
While you could explore the usual destinations that the tourist guides recommend, such as the Shibuya Crossing and the Akihabara Electric Town, here are some alternate options for an equally enthralling time in the city.
1. Go Techno @TEPIA
Gain an insight into the future at TEPIA (Association for Technological Excellence Promoting Innovative Advances), an advanced technology exhibition that is akin to Disneyland for those who love robots, science and cool gadgets. It’s free, which is a definite bonus, and it’s loaded with fun! You’ll also find soft toy robots and other surprises to keep babies and little kids occupied. You’ll also discover Japanese-speaking robots that you would love to take home with you, talking playing cards and a host of other unbelievable, innovative gizmos that reflect the Japanese genius. While the information at the exhibition is in Japanese, you’ll find pamphlets in English at the information desk with descriptions of each exhibit. There are friendly assistants too, who will explain the exhibits in detail and show you how to use them.
2. Chill at Yoyogi Kōen
If you’re craving wide, open spaces and a glimpse into the Japanese soul, then this is where you should be. Amidst the sprawling park filled with lawns, forested areas and ponds, you’ll find the park quietly busy with people picnicking on the grass, joggers on their run, photographers capturing the sights, and kids playing with pet dogs. It’s a good place for people-watching. In an unguarded moment, you might even catch a few strange and inexplicable sights, like groups of Japanese men and women, dressed in black leather and pointy shoes breaking out into dance, to Elvis tunes. Truly fascinating!
3. Tokyo Bay Beckons
We’re so used to admiring the neon skylines and bizarre features in the city that we sometimes miss the fact that Tokyo stands on the coast, and has a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean. So for a change, you might want to walk along the beach or maybe even cruise around the bay and view the skyline, as well as iconic landmarks such as the Rainbow Bridge and even the 11m replica of the Statue of Liberty.
4. A Walk Down Memory Lane
In this thriving megalopolis, Memory Lane will take you back fifty years, to a Tokyo that’s a far cry from the neon-splashed skyline you’re familiar with. A cramped little quarter that is more a local hangout than a tourist destination, it feels like a descent into post-war Japanese culture for the ultimate old-style Japanese drinking-experience. This little alley is choc-a-bloc with small shops, most of which are watering holes, but you’ll also find some serving original fast foods like yakitori (chicken skewers), hormone-yaki (grilled organ meats) and motsunabe (offal stew). Some even serve up frog sashimi, grilled salamander, pig testicles, soft-shelled turtle, snake liquor and still-beating frog’s heart for the more adventurous. You can be assured your food is fresh, but there are no guarantees that you’ll be returning home without a sudden urge to turn vegetarian!
5. Experience the Manga Kissa
Most people park at a Manga Kissa (Manga Cafe) for the night to save a few bucks, but you could try it just for the experience. You’ll be sharing a teeny-tiny space with manga books (in English), a gaming console, a computer and a TV. Some even offer unlimited free soft drinks and soft serve ice cream to sweeten the deal! There’s a DVD room on rent too, with access to thousands of DVDs – a great way to spend time if you’re an insomniac!
So go on, discover the authentic, the quirky and the unexpected, all of which adds to the charm of Tokyo, making it a true traveller’s delight!
If you are planning a trip to visit Tokyo in Japan, do not hesitate to contact your luxury travel designer Mr Isao Numano