Earlier in the year I had the awesome opportunity to fly to Tokyo for free! Because it is somehow already November I have been doing some reflecting (and also some forward planning and goal setting) and that reflection has been a lot about Tokyo.
I only spent 10 days away but they were jam packed days. I feel like the whole time I had aching legs, wet socks and a huge smile on my face. Tokyo is quite possibly my favourite place on earth – at least from the few places I’ve been (so far). I frequently daydream about alternate universe Sophie who lives in a small Asakusa apartment with wooden floors and sliding doors and knows not enough Japanese to stop feeling foreign but just enough to get by.
I thought I would do another ‘guide’ type post on my favourite Tokyo things to do so, here you go mates.
1. Go On All The Rides: Disneyland and Disney Sea
This sounds like the most touristy thing ever but trust me it has got to be done. Located right next door to each other Disneyland and Disney Sea are about $50AUD entry for a full day at one or the other or you can be brave and attempt to do two parks in one day for a little extra. Tessa and I did go to both but we went on separate days because we are FREAKS who just couldn’t get enough of all the magic.
Hot Tip: If you really want to feel less touristy make sure you coordinate outfits with the people you are going with. I kid you not this a totally normal and cool thing to do.
Disney Sea definitely had the better rides for the older crowd so if you aren’t traveling with children I recommend going there if you can only fit in one park. Both parks have a convenient “Fast Pass” system which you can use once per hour to jump to the front of the queue of your chosen rides.
My Favourite Rides Were
- The Tower of Terror (Disney Sea)
- Big Thunder Mountain (Disneyland)
- Raging Spirits (Disney Sea)
- and of course the Mad Hatter’s Spinning Tea Cups at Disneyland
In addition to the rides, the parks are just awesome places to be. There is so much to look at. You can shop, eat, watch parades, climb tree houses, go canoeing, whatever. By the end of the day my face hurt from smiling like a lunatic. When we first walked through the gates I remember saying that the instrumental Disney music was going to get a bit annoying.
“There’s that music again,” I said when I noticed the music playing towards the end of the day.
“Sophie,” Tessa replied, “the music has been playing the entire 7 hours we’ve been here.”
Happiest place on earth, folks.
2. Be Overwhelmed By: Takeshita Street, Harajuku
Tokyo’s Harajuku district should be the fashion capital of the world because those Harajuku girls have got some wicked and UNIQUE style. When you’re in the area make sure you check out Takeshita Street and a few other pedestrian-only streets nearby. With the exception of a McDonalds and a few others, Takeshita Street is lined with predominantly independent cafes and fashion boutiques. Wander down and get lost in the chaos of colour and sound.
Before you leave make sure you get your photo taken in a booth. I’m serious. Tessa and I did this on a recommendation with no idea what to expect so we were pretty shocked when the photo booth gave us fish eyes, plastic skin and longer legs.
3. Cross Shibuya Crossing
Just a short walk from the Harajuku district is perhaps what you think when you see Tokyo. I’d seen it in movies and in photos but I just was not prepared for how massive it is. Just walk across the damn thing. You’re in Tokyo, you gotta do it.
4. Meet Cats At A Cat Cafe
Cat Cafes didn’t start in Japan, but because the living situation for most locals doesn’t usually allow for pets, this is where the idea really snowballed.
Basically, you go in, put on some slippers and pay by the hour to hang out with 20-30 cats. It is exactly as bizarre as it sounds, which is why you should do it.
5. Sing To Strangers: Karaoke
Last but not least, I don’t care if you get stage fright, are traveling solo or lost your voice from screaming on the Tower of Terror. If you are in Tokyo you must do Karaoke.
Tessa and I convinced everyone from our tiny hostel to come along with us, because the other option was to awkwardly serenade one another…
We rented a small room complete with disco lights and luckily had some Japanese speaking travelers in our group to help explain what the hell was going on. The place we went had a lot of English songs on their list but apparently not the rights to show the music videos to those songs. This meant that the same four hilarious ‘homemade’ music videos played in the background of the English songs, only adding to the night’s fun.
So those are my Tokyo highlights.
Is Tokyo on your Travel To List? Because it should be!