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10 Things to Experience in Tokyo: From Gundam Cafes to Soba Joints

By December 31, 2014 2 Comments

With Tokyo being one of the top destinations for Filipinos this 2014, blog posts on must-see tourist spots are everywhere. This isn’t one of them. Instead of suggesting an itinerary, this is a list of things that you must experience regardless of where you are in Tokyo!

  1. Affordable Soba Joints. Working on a budget? Eat where the locals eat. Following them at the Shinjuku train station led me to one of these soba places where there are no waiters. Instead, you have to place your order on vending machines. Word of warning: the choices are all in Japanese so just base your order on the photos. Otherwise, ask a local. They’re very eager to help tourists.

soba

  1. World Class Public Transport. Cabs are very expensive in Tokyo so to save money, commute! They have an extensive train system that can bring you just about anywhere in Japan. Another word of warning: prepare to get lost. Their subway is so huge that it feels like you can fit an entire city there. Don’t panic though. For as long as you’re armed with a map, you should be able to find your way around. A Suica Card (similar to the Octopus card in Hong Kong) is also very helpful.
Shinjuku Train Station

Shinjuku Train Station

Narita Express Train

Narita Express Train

  1. Sushi & Sashimi. This is available almost everywhere in Tokyo but if you really want it fresh, head to Tsukiji Fish Market where the famous tuna auction takes place. Visitors are allowed to watch but you have to be there very early as they only accommodate 120 visitors per day. Then, you can head to the outer market area and have sushi for breakfast! Freshness guaranteed!
The Auction at Tsukiji Fish Market

The Auction at Tsukiji Fish Market

Sushi for Breakfast!

Sushi for Breakfast!

  1. Cafes.  I’m not talking about Starbucks here. I love the themed cafes in Tokyo! Cat cafes, Maid Cafes and Gundam Café are just some of the many choices there!
The Gundam Cafe at Akihabara

The Gundam Cafe at Akihabara

  1. Free Museum Tours. I love history and I make it a point to visit a museum wherever I go. Never before have I had a free-guided tour by a local who wants to practice English.
Leigh, our tour guide in Edo-Tokyo Museum

Leigh, our tour guide in Edo-Tokyo Museum

  1. Making friends with living national treasures. The Shiba Inu is a canine breed that’s considered to be a national treasure in Japan. The Japanese government values them so much that it’s rare to find them anywhere else in the world!

  1. Anime.  Tokyo is the land of anime. Visit Akihabara (Akihabra) and go crazy with all the games and action figures. Visit Sega Center and transform yourself into an anime in one of their photo booths!

  1. Parks & Gardens.  For a minimal fee, you can enter parks in Tokyo for some peace and quiet. This was taken in Hama Rikyu, which is the largest landscape garden in central Tokyo. From here, you can take a water bus to Asakusa to see the famous Sensoji Temple.

  1. Grocery Food. Japanese really turn everything into art – including their grocery food. I think I just had the best-looking grocery meal in my life!

  1. Top View of Tokyo at Night. Tokyo is simply amazing at night when all the lights are lit. Take advantage of the viewing decks around the city. You can try Tokyo Sky Tree, Tokyo Tower, Mori Art Museum & Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.

 

Aside from popular tourist attractions in Tokyo, there’s so much more to experience.  One only need to look around in the little nooks and crannies of this progressive urban jungle.   

See Also — 10 Fantastic Things to do in the Beautiful City of Madrid, Spain

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