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Welcome to the Kansai Local Guide on Tokyo. I love Tokyo. It has a special place in my heart as pretty much every time I have been here I have had an epic time. It's been a blur of lights, parties, clubs, alcohol and fun times, but with a pinch of culture and uniqueness. It's kind of like the Vegas of Asia in the fact that it comes alive at night and it never sleeps. If you find yourself in Tokyo for a few days, this page will give you tips on the best things to do.
In case you’re travelling around Japan, it is definitely worth getting a Japan Rail Pass. It makes train travel so much easier, affordable and simple, without having to mess around at busy stations getting tickets etc. Click here to check and buy your Japan Rail Pass from the official vendor.
Asakusa means ‘short grass’. Asakusa area is a great place to explore for a few hours. It was once one of the main entertainment districts of Tokyo during the Edo period (1603-1868), this was partly due to it neighbouring the Kuramae district which was a rice storing and trading district.
Today, it’s a fun tourist spot, with lots of fun shops and local wares, it's a good place to wander around with a camera. You’ve also got Sensō-ji which is Tokyo’s oldest and most significant temple. In Fact, it is THE most visited spiritual site in the world with around 30 million annual visitors. It is very impressive, and worth a cheeky visit while you’re in Asakusa.
Nakamise-dori is an old street near Sensō-ji that has many shops selling traditional goods. Definitely worth an explore.
►Nearest station is Asakusa station. Once you get to the station just follow the crowds.
Akihabara is the buzzing, bustling and colourful electronics district of Tokyo. The area is famous for its electronics stores ranging from small little second-hand stores to massive department type stores dedicated entirely to electronics. If you’re into your cameras, electronics and indeed second-hand electronics, you should definitely explore Akihabara. Also, the area is famous for its manga, anime and maid culture.
►Nearest train station is Akihabara
Harajuku is one of my favourite areas of Tokyo. Famous for its street and pop fashion, cult and modern art and crazy cosplay, it is definitely a must visit place when you're in Tokyo. Harajuku is a great shopping district as you have the quirky and edgy street fashion shops and outlets on Takeshita Dori, and the more upmarket designer brands in the glitzy glamour Omotesando Dori(street), just around the corner.
Takeshita Dori is possibly the most popular street fashion area in Asia. People come from all over the world to experience and shop. Countless quirky and alternative street fashion shops rub shoulders with crazy crepe (pancake) and sweets stores. If you’re into fashion, you need to come here. Takeshita Dori is also famous for its cosplay culture, you’ll see a lot of this here.
Omotesando Dori is one of the high fashion/Designer Fashion areas. It is fun to walk along here as it’s very beautiful, and you can do your shopping here. There are a lot of nice little restaurants in the back and side streets.
►Nearest station is Harajuku Station, which looks right down Takeshita Dori.
Right next to Harajuku is Yoyogi park, one of the main and biggest parks in Tokyo. It is a beautiful and historical park. At one end of Yoyogi park is the Meiji Jingu shrine, which is a beautiful shrine that is dedicated to the spirit of Emperor Meiji, even though his body isn’t buried there. It is buried in Kyoto.
I highly recommend taking a stroll around Yoyogi Park and Meiji Shrine. It's a nice escape from the crazy city buzz, right in the middle of the city!
►You can walk here from Harajuku station!
Shibuya is one of the main attractions of Tokyo, and indeed probably the main ‘hub’ of Tokyo.
Shibuya station, along with Shinjuku Station, is the busiest stations in the world. When I’m in Tokyo and I plan to meet with friends and go out, we always agree to meet in Shibuya. You’ve probably seen photos and time-lapse videos of Shibuya crossing, also known as Shibuya Scramble. It is the world's busiest intersection, and when the lights turn green for the pedestrians, it is like nothing you’ve seen before. Thousands of people cross at a time at peak hours.
Shibuya is one of the main nightlife and ‘fun’ districts. There are LOADS of fun Izakaya (drinking and eating pubs), restaurants, shops, karaoke, game centres. It really is the most fun area, especially at night. Go there and have fun!
You should meet at the Hachiko statue. Shibuya station was the station which was the scene for one of the cutest true stories of a dog named Hachiko, who waited for his owner every day at the station. One day the owner died, yet Hachiko waited for 9 years. There have been many film adaptations including one with Richard Gere.
►Nearest station is Shibuya Station
Torikizoku is a fun chain of Izakaya all over Japan. There are several in Shibuya. It is a chicken grill place, and all the dishes and drinks are around 280 yen each. It's super cheap, super fun and a great place to go before a night out.
Fantastic place where you pay an amount and have unlimited drinks. You can order side dishes etc. This is a great place to get hammered with your friends before going out!
Shinjuku is another district very similar to Shibuya and is actually right next to Shibuya. Equally as fun, but perhaps a bit more dark, gangsterish and local. Definitely worth checking out as it has great izakaya places and restaurants.
Shinjuku station is the busiest station in the world, along with Shibuya station. In Fact, the top 5 busiest stations in the world, are all in Japan!
►Nearest station is Shinjuku
Roppongi, along with Shibuya, is one of the main night time entertainment districts of Tokyo. It's loads of fun with great late night bars, clubs and Izakayas. Again, it's quite a gangster area with the Yakuza running pretty much all the establishments. But it's still safe and great fun to visit.