Ikebukuro panoramic view

The Ultimate Must-Do When in Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan’s capital is one of the busiest and most populated cities in the world.  It is also the best place to experience the culture and history of Japan as it is known to be a fashion and shopping hub with all the skyscrapers and neon lights of a thriving and modern city. But amidst all the excitement of contemporary life, Tokyo also has quaint back alleys to discover that seem reminiscent of centuries past.

Check out some of the must-do things while in Tokyo:

Wagyu

Strictly for Non- vegetarians, “try Wagyu”

Wagyu which literally means “Japanese cow” are several breeds of cattle prized for their organic unsaturated fat such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and marbling (intramuscular fat giving meat its marbled appearance). The breeding of Japanese wagyu has very specific techniques in order to maintain bloodlines and quality.

Ghibli Museum

The Ghibli Museum showcases the works of the Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli. The museum opened in October 2001. Studio Ghibli director Hayao Mizayaki designed the museum himself using storyboards similar to the ones used in the creation of his films.

European architecture was used as an inspiration in creating the museum from the hilltop village of Calcata in Italy, interior bridges, balconies and iron winding staircases that lead to the various exhibits featuring all the Ghibli favorites like Nausicaa on her glider (from Nausicaa And The Valley Of The Wind from 1984), Kiki on her broom (from Kiki Delivery Service from 1989), The Catbus (from My Neighbor Tototo from 1988) and several other beloved characters and many more.

Senso-ji Temple

Senso-ji Temple.

Visit temples and shrines

Tokyo embodies Japan’s long history, intermingling with modern life. Amidst the hustle and bustle of a modern-day metropolis are the traditional temples and shrines that are testament to the enduring ethos of the Japanese. There are several shrines and temples in Tokyo that are worth visiting such as Zōjō-ji, Toyokawa Inari Tokyo Betsuin and Sensō-ji.

Onsen experience

Bathing in an onsen is a unique Japanese bonding experience that breaks down barriers while getting to know people in a relaxed atmosphere. This is known as hadaka no tsukiai, or naked communion. Onsen were traditionally built outdoors, though as of late, more indoor onsen are being built at newer establishments. The naturally, geothermally heated spring water is said to have healing powers because of its mineral content. There are several places where you can experience the Japanese bathing culture in Tokyo.

Play dress-up in Harajuku

Harajuku is the best place to see actual cosplay in action. The area is the center of Japanese fashion and youth culture where you can get unique shopping finds and have a great dining experience. Sunday’s in Harajuku is just brimming with excitement and you can join in on the fun by dressing up as your favorite manga or anime character or simple check out the people dressed in their finest costumes!

Check out more things to do in Tokyo.