Tokyo, Japan has been one of my top destinations to visit because I really enjoy Japanese cuisine. Exploring Tokyo can be very overwhelming because they are so many options when it comes to eating, shopping, and sightseeing.
Best thing about Tokyo is that it’s very tourist friendly. Menus, subway maps, and store signs often have Japanese and English. Everyone is also very friendly and polite — which makes getting around so much easier!
I landed at Narita Airport and took the Narita Express train headed to Shinjuku (about $35). Taking a cab or Uber in Japan is insanely expensive, so we did not opt for that option. The train was very comfortable, roomy, and quick. In terms of travelling to various destinations within the city, the subway was the most convenient mode of transportation. We bought a Suica prepaid card and loaded money onto the card. It was easy tap & go instead of buying fares from the machine. The subway map can be super confusing but the best thing to do is download the Japan Railway App. You can input your starting and final subway destinations and it will tell you how to get there.
I thought there would be wifi everywhere in Japan, but that definitely wasn’t the case! We bought a portable WIFI hotspot at the airport and it was really helpful. (Price was around $100 for 8 days of use) We used it mainly for social media & Google Maps. I can’t imagine getting around Tokyo with a printed map. Google Maps was very accurate and useful.
Ichiran Ramen (Shibuya)
There’s no way I was leaving Tokyo without eating ramen! I’ve heard that once you have ramen in Japan, you will never want to eat it anywhere else. Ichiran ramen is unique because there is no one to take your order. You input your order on the vending machine and then pay prior to sitting down for your meal. Depending on what you get, a bowl costs about $10-15. Each person sits in their own private cubicle so they can slurp their noodles in peace. Within 10 minutes of sitting down, the chef delivers your bowl of ramen and closes the shade. Verdict: best ramen I’ve ever had!! Noodles were cooked to the perfect consistency, broth was light and flavourful, and pork slices were juicy.
CoCo Curry (Shinjuku)
Japanese curry is so different from any other curry. It doesn’t look very appetizing but you need to give it a chance! Eat Your Kimchi raved about CoCo Curry and I had to try it for myself. Everything is customizable — even the amount of rice! You must pair your curry with a crisp pork cutlet because that’s just the best way to eat it. I’ve made Japanese curry at home before but it is nothing like this!
There are so many crepe shops in Harajuku and I cannot remember which one I went to. They’re all pretty much the same, except some shops may have certain unique flavours. I love the way they visually display their menu and you know exactly what you are getting.
Zaku Zaku (Harajuku)
This place is known for their choux pastries but I was too full and didn’t get one. I regret it now because people rave about how fluffy and creamy the filling is! However, I did get their soft serve, which was coated with almond crunch. It kind of tasted like whipped cream.. which I loved!
Tsukiji Fish Market
Any sushi restaurant within the fish market is a good one! There were lineups at all of the restaurants so we just chose a restaurant randomly. The fish is always super fresh! Furthermore, there are many food stands within the market serving street food. I found this one stall that sold various flavour of mochi. This was probably the best (and only) strawberry I had in Japan — super sweet and juicy! Keep in mind that the food is quite pricey due to the large volume of tourists that visit the fish market everyday.
Genki Sushi (Shibuya)
If you’re looking for tasty and affordable sushi, then this is the spot. This place is a conveyor belt sushi restaurant — meaning that the food gets delivered to you on a conveyor belt. This concept made the whole experience so much more interesting. Ordering is done on the tablet and within minutes, the plate will arrive in front of you. Although this place is inexpensive, the quality of the fish was superb.
I’m a huge latte art fan and I could not pass up on 3D latte art!! How cute are these lattes? Be warned: these are pretty expensive (~$10/cup). You can show them a picture and they can replicate it on your latte. If you want, you can even get a picture of yourself on your latte!
One of the must go to destinations! There are so many people crossing at all times — but it’s never chaotic. People walk in an organized manner and never invade other people’s space. The tricky part is trying to get a photo without anyone getting in your way, haha.
If you had to pick 1 shrine to go to in Tokyo, then go to Meiji Shrine. It’s by far the most popular shrine and it is close to Harajuku. The area is surrounded by lots of trees and gives you a totally different vibe from the busy streets of Tokyo. You can make offerings, write wishes,or visit the various buildings in the vicinity. If you are visiting in the spring or summer, the Inner Garden is beautiful! They do charge admission fee (<$5), but the views are worth it!
Tokyu Plaza Omotesando (Harajuku)
The entrance to the plaza looks like a giant kaleidoscope! It’s cool to stand in the middle and take a photo. If you’re going to Meiji Shrine, this spot is just a short walk away.
Roppongi Hills Mori Tower
If you want a good view of the Tokyo Tower (white and red tower), then this is the spot to go! The views of Tokyo are amazing. There’s an indoor and outdoor option — both of which provides breathtaking views of the city from all angles.