Tokyo is a marvelous mix of modern living and old-fashioned manners, slick high-tech gadgets and cutesy cartoon mascots. It’s terribly crowded, yet can be strangely quiet.
It’s home to the understated, and the wacky, and you often find them right next to each other on the sidewalk.
Nowhere else is anything similar to Tokyo.
There are shrines and stone lanterns and other traces of old Japan scattered among the skyscrapers, swanky shopping malls and hole-in-the-wall noodle shops.
Waiting to enjoy my steaming hot cup noodles! 🙂
Here’s a list of 15 things to do, so you can see and experience the many different faces of Tokyo, that it has to offer!
Click the “Read More” button below, to find out!
Odaiba is a new part of Tokyo that’s built on the bay.
Take the Yurikamome Monorail to Odaiba to check out some great views of Tokyo Bay.
Odaiba is a large artificial island that features entertainment, restaurants, shopping complexes, and attractions that include including a huge Ferris wheel, a Takoyaki museum and an Indoor water park as well.
Attractions also include Fuji Television Building (one of Japan’s most popular TV stations), a huge Gundam and a smallish replica of the statue of liberty.
It is a popular spot for young Tokyo couples to go on a date.
What’s coolest about Odaiba in my opinion are all the views of Tokyo and the Rainbow Bridge. I’m not much into the shopping, but this is a place my friends regularly frequent on weekends.
Links to Odaiba below!
Sensoji is Tokyo’s oldest and most visited temple. It’s also the site of Tokyo’s biggest festival: the Sanja Matsuri.
Having a crepe under the dimly lit glow under a lantern of a shrine, pure goodness!
Asakusa is a really old temple complex with a long history in the heart of Tokyo. It’s very “touristy” but it’s a great place to take people who are new to Japan.
You can get the temple experience and there are a lot of places to buy good souvenirs and little gifts. Also, there is some awesome tempura nearby.
She loves her crepe!
The temple complex itself is almost always crowded with tourists from Japan as well as the rest of the world. But I recommend also just walking around the area. It has an old-town Tokyo feel that’s really cool.
Links to Asakusa below!
Explore “Seedy” Akihabara
Those who know Akihabara need not read on. You understand this place. Don’t you?
To be honest, many people thought they knew what they were in for. Many had read all the stories, and done their research. But Akihabara is so much more. A foreigner friend once phrased it to me this very way: “It is the worst parts of the internet come to life, right before my very eyes”.
Hentai Pornography lurks in every alley. Posters are proudly displayed for small booths selling the latest DVDs, but it doesn’t stop there.
Every building you walk into will seem normal at first.
Some new accessories for your Nintendo DS, a flashy memory card for your camera phone, a micro sized piece of every day tech you’ve known and loved for years.
But beware, for Tokyo is a city built up, there are elevators in these buildings.
The higher you press on these lifts, the more obscene your world becomes. Press button five and you may end up with nothing more than near naked anime girls.
But continue on to floor seven, and you will be faced with businessmen searching, shoulder to shoulder, through discount bins of naughty comic books. And if you dare to push all the way up to the top floor?
Well, there you will find costumes of all sorts, best kept to the bed room, and toys the likes of which you never could have dreamed.
But Akihabara is not all overly sexualized. No. It is a video game lovers paradise. Two words: Super Potato. You can’t miss it. It has the giant 8-bit Mario and Pac-Man art on the front.
You’ll be taken back in time when NES games were new, and shrink wrapped and… cost eight thousand yen?
Oops, I suppose this picture shouldn’t even be here?? =X
Wow. It really is nineteen eighty eight in there.
Still, it’s the closest you’ll ever come to a video game museum.
Tired of the loud streets and bustling neighborhoods in Tokyo?
Take a brief trip to Ikebukuro. There you will find calm, peace, and serenity, or rather – get a peek into a local Japanese neighborhood. It is definitly not touristy and in fact, many locals reside here. This also leads to an abundance of 99cent-yen stores.
Walking those back alleys transports you away from Tokyo to a simpler time, without removing the city atmosphere.
I have lived in this district and at the end of a long day, there’s nothing better than walking home in the with the silence brought to life by joyful sounds from parties going on everywhere.
Japan is a system built on rails… And it’s fantastic!
Because of the interconnectedness of all the towns, an inexpensive train ticket will pull you from the rush of the Japanese epic-centre and settle you in the small town of Kamakura.
The town itself is relatively small, and perhaps easy to overlook. However, they are home to one of the worlds largest Buddhas.
For a nominal fee, you can make your way through the temple gates, and gaze as the casting, towering above you – seemingly untouched for hundreds of years.
For the almost laughable price of 10 yen, you can enter into the Buddha and walk around.
For over four hundred years it has rested here. In two thousand and four a couple from America wrote their names inside. Graffiti in Harajuku? It’s beautiful – but the irresponsible tag here? It’s just upsetting.
An easy loop tour you can follow through Hakone includes various forms of unique transportation: Starting out by train from Tokyo, you switch to a small three-car tram that zigzags up the mountain, then change to a cable car, and then to a smaller ropeway, and end your trip with a boat ride across Lake Ashi, stopping to see major attractions along the way.
From Lake Ashi, from the villages of Togendai, Hakone-machi, or Moto-Hakone, you can then board a bus bound for Odawara Station which will take 60 mins, after which you board the train back to Tokyo.
Tsukiji Fish market – If you’re an early riser, love seafood, and want to see the real Japan then this is the place for you.
Located near the Tsukijishijo Station, this fish market opens at 3 am when the fish come in fresh from the sea.
Bidding then occurs for professional bidders at 5 am and the market closes every morning at 7 am. For a tourist, it is simply amazing to see the fresh fish being advertised by vendors at 4 in the morning.
This is as fresh as seafood can get, so you may want to buy some to cook up or at least just appreciate how very different this is from your work week.
Let’s see whats on the menu! Yum!
I’ve seen many tourists going for an early morning jog, before or after visiting the Tsukiji Fish market auctions, and then go for breakfast at the market! Great way to start the day!
My day is almost about to start…after watching my morning show!
Pachinko is a Japanese gambling machine with similarities to pinball, slot machines, and pool.
This is what we call a Pachinko machine
Pachinko is a cultural phenomenon in Japan, where it is played in Pachinko parlors.
The game’s popularity is spreading to other nations, where gamblers play Pachinko in casinos.
Everyone and anyone can play Pachinko! (Except kids, of course!)
The machines have various designs and different ways of operating, but Pachinko rules remain very similar despite those variables.
Win at Pachinko and you can use your winnings to purchase these! 😉
How to play Pachinko
1. Insert cash or a pre-paid card into the Pachinko machine. You will buy a certain number of balls, which are 11-mm (1/2-inch) chrome or polished steel ball bearings, at selected monetary values for the game.
2. Select the launching velocity of the balls. In most modern Pachinko games, the balls are launched electronically. You may be able to find a Pachinko game that will let you launch balls manually instead of selecting a launching velocity.
3. Launch the balls 1 at a time onto the Pachinko board.
The balls fall through a maze of approximately 500 pegs, bouncing around as they collide with the pegs.
Most of the balls fall unluckily to the bottom, thus ending up out of play.
Other balls drop into winning pockets in the Pachinko board, causing flashing lights, bells and other effects.
Each ball that lands in a winning pocket earns more balls for you.
Balls landing in winning pockets will also start the digital slot machine in the center of the board.
Many Pachinko machines will also show entertaining videos in the same space as the slot machine.
Watch to see if 3 matching symbols appear on the slot machine. This is the jackpot, and winning it puts the machine into payout mode.
4.Play the payout mode. This is the Jackpot feature which typically lasts 15 rounds.
5. Fire Pachinko balls into the payout gate at the bottom of the machine. The Pachinko machine pays out approximately 12 balls for each ball you shoot into the payout gate.
6. Cash out when you are finished playing. You’ll receive money based on the number of balls you have remaining and on what you set as the monetary value per ball.
Hi! I'm Hideki. You can call me Josh! ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ
This is a Travel Blog covering Japan, and many other bits & pieces of my personal life.
Photography, Blogging, Fashion & Traveling in Style.
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