After an absolutely INCREDIBLE holiday in Japan, I just HAD to pop in and share with you my top 15 things to do and eat in Tokyo.
From mouthwatering ramen to perfect Japanese tea, lush parks and traditional shrines, my Tokyo travel tips will ensure your next Japan holiday is amazing!
1 VISIT THE FAMOUS SHIBUYA CROSSING
Straight out of the movies, Shibuya Crossing can be as crazy as it is portrayed.
Battle the crowds and take a photo at one of the most famous intersections in the world. It’s like Times Square in New York but with less tourists, more locals and more traffic. Definitely come back at night when you can see all the lights on display.
2 TAKE A WALK IN SHINJUKU GYOEN NATIONAL PARK
Right in the heart of Shinjuku is this gorgeous park 👆🏻
For a small entrance fee, you can wander the park grounds and admire the beautiful gardens, expansive lakes and, in winter, snow-covered terrain. It’s the perfect way to take a breather from the hectic pace of Shinjuku.
3 EAT ALL THE FOOD AT MITSUKOSHI
Right now, get a pen and write down Mitsukoshi, Ginza. It is perhaps my favourite place in Tokyo.
When you arrive, go downstairs into the basement and be amazed at the array of food in front of you. You’ll find sushi, salads, dumplings and tonkatsu, right alongside gorgeous cakes, macarons and gourmet chocolates. It is HEAVEN.
You’ll also find a Dominique Ansel Bakery (the famous New York patisserie) where you can eat a real-life cronut. Buy your food and then head up to Level 9 to eat outside on the rooftop.
4 ENJOY A TEA AT THE AOYAMA TEA HOUSE
Hidden inside a gorgeous flower store is the beautiful Aoyama Tea House. You may have to line up to get in but it’s worth the wait. Enjoy one of their fruity teas and a bite to eat.
We loved their yoghurt parfait with rose water jelly but their French toast also looked incredible!
5 TASTE AUTHENTIC TONKATSU AT GINZA BAIRIN
One of the most popular dishes in Tokyo is Tonkatsu, crumbed deep-fried pork. It is usually served with white rice and shredded cabbage, with a variety of sauces on the side.
It is a real treat and I can vouch that the tender pork at Ginza Bairin just about melts-in-your-mouth.
6 ADMIRE THE VIEWS FROM THE TOKYO OBSERVATION DECK
It’s worth visiting at least one of the observation decks in Tokyo because the views of this city are truly breathtaking. There are a number to choose from, but the one inside the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is free.
And on a clear winter’s day, you can even see Mount Fuji!
7 TAKE A WALK DOWN TAKESHITA STREET
Right in the heart of Harajuku is Takeshita Street. It’s loud, it’s crazy and it’s SO MUCH FUN. Here you’ll find an ecletic mix of clothing stores, restaurants and cafes.
Keep an eye out for the crazy costumes and unique fashions on display.
8 EAT ALL THE FOOD IN HARAJUKU
Harajuku boasts a plethora of mouthwatering treats from soft serve ice-cream to rainbow fairy floss and giant french fries. Ice-cream crepes seem to be a local favourite – there’s about 4 of these stores along Takeshita Street alone.
I loved the soft serve from Zaku Zaku (pictured above). They also sell cream-filled churros which looked delish. We also enjoyed cheap gyoza from Harajuku Gyozaro.
9 VISIT THE MEIJI SHRINE
Shibuya is also home to the gorgeous Meiji Shrine. Take a break from the hectic city streets and enjoy a stroll through the gorgeous forest.
Even with the crowds flocking to the shrine, the area boasts a peaceful atmosphere.
10 TRY THE RICOTTA PANCAKES AT BILLS
I know it may seem silly to recommend an Australian restaurant in Tokyo, but the thick Japanese-style pancakes at Bills are out-of-this-world.
Served with honeycomb butter (I know right?) AND a smoked maple syrup ‘shot’, they are worth every calorie.
We found that many cafes in Tokyo didn’t open until late (even 11am) so Bills is a great option if you’re out and about early like us!
11 VISIT TOKYO IMPERIAL PALACE
An easy walk from Ginza, the Tokyo Imperial Palace is worth a visit. Surrounded by a pretty park, it’s a lovely place to stroll and admire the ancient Japanese architecture.
It was particularly lovely with a covering of fresh snow!
12 TRY THE RAMEN AT ICHIRAN
One thing we wanted to do in Tokyo was enjoy an authentic ramen experience – with the famous vending machine ordering system and individual booths. We found it at Ichiran.
Place your order, sit in a booth and wait as your steaming bowl of ramen noodles are delivered just the way you like it. You can then slurp away in complete privacy. Perfect!
13 EXPLORE THE MARKETS AT ASAKUSA
Emerge from the subway in Asakusa and you’ll find yourself in a bustling, but more traditional, part of Tokyo. Minus the skyscrapers, this area is known for its market-style streets and famous temple.
While you might have to battle the crowds, it’s worth exploring for a taste of more traditional Japanese foods or to pick up unique trinkets or gifts to take home.
14 TAKE A COFFEE BREAK AT STREAMER COFFEE COMPANY
Australians love their flat whites so if you are in need of a coffee fix, you’ll be happy to know there is GOOD coffee to be found in Tokyo. Namely at Streamer Coffee Company.
While I’m more partial to a hot chocolate (the one pictured above was divine), my husband assured me their coffee was also top notch 👌🏻
15 LEARN HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN OKONOMIYAKI
Okonomiyaki = savoury pancakes. Sometaro Okonomiyaki just near the markets in Asakusa is famous for their MYO okonomiyaki.
You may have to line up for a while (we recommend getting their early) but it’s worth it.
You’ll have to take off your shoes and sit on the floor, but making your own pancakes is FUN. Not to mention, delicious!
Tell me, what are your favourite things to do and eat in Tokyo?