Our new guest travel writer, Lucy Hewitt, shares her Top 10 in Tokyo…
Tokyo is amazing and mental and massive. Planning our trip was pretty overwhelming as there is just so much to see and do. We spent 10 days in the world’s largest metropolitan city and here’s our top ten things to see, do and of course eat.
1. Sky Tree
The Greater Tokyo area is home to 38 million people (!!!!) and you’ve got to see it to believe it. We started our trip with a jaunt up the sky tree for a view across the sprawling city. We went on a clear day at dusk to get daytime views, sunset and night-time all in one. #maximise
2. Tsukiji Fish Market
No trip to Tokyo would be complete without a trip to the biggest fish market in the world. You’ve got to be pretty keen to see the daily tuna auction and arrive around 4am. We just opted for the eating part. Even at 5:30am we had to queue for an hour at one of the best little places. You get a set menu of mixed nigiri – squid, prawn, eel, some other Japanese fish I can’t pronounce and three types of tuna meat including the coveted fatty guy – for around £20. Well worth it. The Tuna we ate was next level.
3. Ghibli Museum + Kichijoji
Yes we were one of only four couples visiting without children, but it was one of our fav things in Tokyo. The museum is beautiful and filled with all the characters from the films, plus items from Ghibli himself like OG paint brushes and storyboards. There’s also a gorge lake nearby, that looked stunning with the cherry blossom.
4. Tofu Restaurant
We’ve literally never tasted tofu like this before – so good! This place is tucked away in Daikanyama, a really cool little area just a few minutes’ walk from Shibuya (check out Port Of Call for very decent coffee, craft beers, lots of SPACE and WiFi) . Our fav was the avocado tofu version – a melt in your mouth cloud of avo goodness.
5. Memory lane / Piss Alley
This is THE place to go for yakitori aka Japanese BBQ meat skewers. Pretty much Tokyo on a postcard, tiny streets lined with open-fronted BBQ stalls decorated with glowing lanterns. We ordered lemon sours to start which are made from shochu – Japanese vodka that slips down more easily (read: lethal). Then we picked our sticks. We tried everything from bog-standard chicken thighs to more unusual guys like chicken gristle and pork tongue. When in Japan.
This was our fav spot in the city. Cool shops and cafes running either side of a Cherry blossom lined river – Nakemeguro is nice and chill. We grabbed a few street food bits from stalls selling tempura, dumplings and craft beer. Our top recco to get away from it all when Tokyo gets too much.
7. Oath + Tunnel
There’s a huge music scene in Tokyo, but avoid the OTT touristy super clubs and go where the locals go. Oath is a tiny vinyl-only bar you can dance in from 11pm to 8am. We had some decent negronis for 600¥ (around £4) which is really cheap for Tokyo.
It’s massive and it’s mental, but you’ve got to see it. We stayed 20mins walk from Shibuya station near Yoyogi park (great area – quieter but super cool and perfect as a relaxed base to explore the city) so we were going through Shibuya most days. The advertising boards, theme tunes and one thousand people crossing at a time never gets old. Top tip: there’s a Starbucks on the corner where you can go to the 2nd floor and see it all from up high.
This is the gaming and electronics district in Tokyo – one of the best for Japan’s weird and wonderful stuff. We started off at Super Potato – a Mecca for vintage consoles and arcade games. We headed up to the 3rd floor and played OG street fighter whilst munching on retro Japanese sweets. Akihabara is also where you’ll find the maid cafes…. Where all the waitresses are dressed as maids and call you master. We had a coffee and cute kawaii ice cream in Maidreamin’ before browsing the cut price electronics stores for bargain Casio watches.
10. Seven Eleven
Tokyo is expensive, even by London standards, so Seven Eleven was our new best mate. You can pick up really decent onigiri, seaweed salads, kimchi, those puffy pork dim sum balls of dreams and all the premixed coffee and matcha you could wish for. Absolute life-safer for our hangry sightseeing moments and to save some dollar. Top tip: all have Wi-Fi and some have seating and toilets, so you check your subway route / the ‘Gram whilst eating sit-in cup noodles.
Check back soon for the next instalment of Lucy’s adventure – Taiwan!