Being half Japanese I’ve spent a lot of time in the streets of Tokyo and every time I’m there I fall more and more in love with this city. It’s a real wonderland that never sleeps and never stops changing. Every corner and street is full of endless things to do and new adventures.
If I were to make a list of all the awesome places in Tokyo it would be longer than an Encyclopedia serie, so here is a list of my current favorite places.
Shibuya – The heart of the city
Lock up- A prison themed restaurant where you are chained and taken to your “cell” by a cop. The food and the drinks come in insane servings, like drinks mannequin’s head or fried chicken on a little cage. At every couple of hours, a prisoner escapes and with the lights off, the staff has to look for the escaper…before he finds you.
Alcatraz ER– Alcatraz is similar to Lock Up, but with an asylum twist. They have crazy doctors and nurses walking around serving the dishes.
Kin no-kuna- A chain of Izakaya (Japanese tapas) style restaurants where you can order and try literally any Japanese dish in small portions.
Izakaya is popular by salarymen that go there after work for some dinner and drinks with their coworkers.
Yoshinoya & Sukiya– A delicious and traditional Japanese “fast food” chain restaurant. I recommend the Gyudon bowl of thin sliced meat with onions, Japanese sauce and rice or the grilled salmon with rice and miso soup.
Mos Burger- This is not your typical burger joint. Here you can get fresh and all-natural burgers, kakiage, shrimp, Hokkaido croquette, butterfly prawns and others. Some burgers even come with rice buns instead of bread and the breakfast ones with French toast.
Genki restaurant- An electronic sushi place right in the middle of Shibuya. This is always the first place I go to eat when I get to the city.
British Hubs Pub– A British-style pub that you can find in several areas of the city. The best thing about this place is that they have jumbo size drinks that you can get of any of their large variety of cocktails…and happy hour until seven.
Womb– A big underground warehouse club east of Shibuya. The place looks small from the outside but it has three dance floors, lockers, several bars and great drinks. You will not want to leave the dance floor amongst the laser lights.
Things to do
Karaoke: You can’t go to Tokyo and not try karaoke at its birthplace. Guaranteed fun with a group of friends at your own room with drinks and food. At some karaoke places like Big Echo, you can rent costumes while you perform.
Airport express train- To get to the airport from the city I suggest taking the train from Shibuya. It costs €50 ($60) and it only takes an hour.
Shibuya Crossing- Shibuya is also home to the busiest pedestrian intersection in the world between the train station, which is also a great meeting point. The statue of Hachiko, the famous Shiba Inu dog is also located here.
Roppongi hills is the fanciest residency neighbourhood in Tokyo, filled with beautiful modern buildings, but it is also one of the main clubbing areas. Here you can hop from club to bar and see as many places as you can. Walking from Shibuya to Roppongi takes about 20 minutes but the view and the small bars along the way are worth it. Roppongi also has a great view of the Tokyo Tower.
Restaurants & Cafes
Eggcellent– A delicious egg-themed restaurant perfect for brunch. Their menu consists of all types of egg dishes with pancakes, toast and others. Including delicious coffee, juices and detox waters.
Sushi No Midori- Delicious and fresh traditional sushi prepared right in front of you. This place is great for a delicious dinner and pre sake drinks.
AgeHa- The biggest club in Tokyo feating three dance floors, several bars and an outdoor pool area. AgeHa is not exactly in Shibuya, but there is a free shuttle from the central station every half hour.
Esprit: A club lit by a high-tech disco ball and LED lights has great music and drinks. This place is the first thing you see when stepping out of Roppongi Station The place is always hosted by DJs so make sure to make a reservation before your trip.
V2 Tokyo– Partying on the top floor of the Roppongi Roa Building with a 360-degree panorama view of the Tokyo’s skyline. The club has good drinks and you can dance to a mixture of EDM, House, R&B music.
Things to do
Museums & galleries: Savoir Vivre, Suntory Museum of Art, Mori Art Museum and the National Art Center hold exhibitions on Japanese artisanal products like pottery, paintings and modern art.
Snoopy Museum of Tokyo: If you are a Charles M. Schulz and Peanuts fan, make sure to go to their cute exhibitions and Café Blanket.
Harajuku & Takeshita- Kawaii madness
You know those cute Japanese girls dressed in colorful costumes you see in the movies? This is the place. Everything here is cute, colorful, full of cartoons and craziness. Modern young Japanese culture.
Things to do
Purikura– A photo booth where you can take the ultimate kawaii photos. After taking the picture, you have about 10 minutes to do whatever you want with the pictures like adding stickers and putting a silly background.
Meiji Shrine- One of my favourite places in the city. Full of nature, history and peace. It’s incredible how such a huge park can be so quiet when its surrounded by so much buzz.
Café & restaurants
MoCHA Cat Café– An afternoon tea with a delicious cake surrounded by cuddly cats? How much better can it get?
Japanese crepe– These cute crepes may seem just for show but wait until you try the matcha cheesecake and my favourite, tuna with lettuce.
Kawaii Monster Café– This place is exactly what the name suggests, an explosion of kawaiiness. It’s like stepping inside a real-life Willy Wonka factory.
Omotesandō – Shopping Boulevard
Omotesando is a great place to walk around and observe the beautiful architecture and
Things to do
Modern Architecture- The beautiful three-lined boulevard is the most elegant and high-class area in Tokyo. With a beautiful collision of modern and ancient architecture, each building is individually extravagant to its brand. The Roppongi Hills is a beautiful mall designed by Tadao Ando with a spiral slope at the centre of the building.
Shopping & department stores- Known as Tokyo’s Champs-Élysées, the streets are full boutiques and other fabulous stores. At the end of the street crossing with Harajuku is the Tokyu Plaza Mall with an incredible mirror escalator and a beautiful roof garden with a view.
Kintan Yakiniku Terrace Garden– This area has great large yakiniku restaurants with a great view of the city.
Aoyama Flower Market Tea House– Not only is this place a beautiful flower market, but it is also a tea house where you can have brunch, afternoon tea and lunch amongst the flowers.
Ginza – Futuristic
Ginza is one of the oldest and most modern parts of Tokyo with beautiful architecture, traditional Japanese stores that had been there for centuries, cute café and restaurants.
Restaurants & cafes
Tsukiji Fish Market- Biggest seafood market in Japan, the best place to eat authentic seafood. This place is only open in the mornings from 5.00AM until early afternoon. If you want to watch the famous Fish Auction, wake up even earlier because it starts at 3.00AM. The market is usually closed on Sundays, holidays and most Wednesdays.
Toriba Coffee- In a city full of beautiful shrines, this café is considered to be a shrine of coffee. The place serves an incredible selection of international beans at a beautiful location with flower walls.
Things to do
Shopping & department stores: Ginza is full of great department stores like Matsuya, Mitsukoshi, Wako, Tokyu Plaza and Dover Street Market by Rei Kawabuko. Ginza also has stores of incredible Japanese brands like Uniqlo, Shiseido, Comme des Garçons and others.
Toy Stores- Sanrio (Hello Kitty & Co.) World and Hakuhinkan, Tokyo’s biggest toy shop with a multi-storey emporium of endless amounts of toys. Here you can find endless amounts of cute toys with a Japanese twist.
Shinjuku- Red light district of Tokyo
Shinjuku is one of the liveliest and craziest parts of the city. It’s full of bars, restaurants and nightclubs
Golden Gai (Piss Aley) & Omoide Yokocho- An ancient and lively alley full of small open-front bars, perfect for drinks and light dining. These bars offer yakitori, skewered meats that are prepared right in front of you.
TIP: Some of these small bars are locals-only so when you first walk into a place and the owner shows you crossed fingers it means you should go have a drink at another place.
Sanagi– A super hip lounge right under Shinjuku’s southeast exit and completely decorated with modern art. Where you can get delicious drinks and food at their food court-like area.
Things to do
Ninja Trick House- Learn how ninjas lived back in the day and all the secret ways they hid from their enemies in their houses.
Samurai Museum- This unique museum tells you everything you have always wondered about the mysterious lives of samurais.
Gyoen park- An authentic Japanese garden in the middle of Shinjuku with koi fish and romantic gazebos.
Robot Restaurant- This restaurant is probably the craziest restaurants I’ve ever been to in my life (apart from Kawaii Monster Café). While you eat a delicious dinner, robot princesses and giant robots put on a show with lots of lights and music.
Ichiran– A great ramen fast food place also located at the central station. The line can be long at times, but this place is definitely worth it.
Katsukara Takashimaya– This place has a great Tonkatsu dish, which is a Japanese bowl of fried pork with rice and a special Japanese-style barbecue sauce.