Tokyo is the perfect blend of the old and the new. A day in the city can see you visiting a temple from 645 AD in the morning, and ending it with dinner at a glow-in-the-dark Robot restaurant. Whether you choose a more traditional Tokyo or relish in the neon-lights and karaoke bars, you’ll leave with the knowledge there is nowhere else like it. Here are our top eight things to do in the city.
Visit an owl cafe
If you’ve ever had the desire to drink a cup of coffee in the presence of an owl, or many owls as the case may be, Tokyo aims to make that wish come true. Owl cafes are popping up across the city where patrons can interact with owls of different species. Choose your cafe wisely because there have been some reports of cruel practices - the last thing you want to do is interact with a cranky (and finger-nipping) bird.
Go back in time at the Senso-ji Temple
Something is amusing about watching selfie-stick wielding tourists angle their necks to get a picture with a temple that was built in 645 AD. You can’t blame them for wanting a new profile picture with the structure though; The temple is a stunning monument to traditional Japan. The Buddhist temple is a must-see in Tokyo and a pleasant respite from all the 21st-century neon.
Karaoke in Japan is more than a way to kill a few hours with friends; it’s a lifestyle. As the birthplace of Karaoke, you’ll find karaoke bars in Tokyo that offer you a personal butler, themed rooms (Hello Kitty is a favourite), and rooms with bubbling hot tubs. Shibuya is a popular area to belt out your best Celine Dion, but Shinjuku is good too.
Strike a pose at Shibuya Crossing
Staggeringly, over a thousand people cross the Shibuya intersection at peak times. If you’re feeling brave, getting a photo amongst the swarm of people as the lights change is a popular item on the Tokyo to-do list- Just make sure to have an action plan if you and your photographer inevitably get swept away in the crowd. You might be on holiday, but everybody else has somewhere to be, and fast.
Shop (and people-watch) in Harajuku
For the fashion-conscious, Harajuku has become synonymous with out-there style choices, cute vintage stores, and streets dedicated to Japan’s love of cosplay. Dedicated to creativity, self-expression, and unabashed weirdness, you won’t be the most outlandishly dressed person in Harajuku. One thing is for certain; you’ll be well acquainted with your airline's excess baggage policies before the day is through- the shopping is unparalleled.
Be thrilled at the Robot restaurant
An exciting (and confusing) combination of girls in bikinis, glow sticks, and robots, the Robot Restaurant in Shibuya feels like it was straight from the imagination of a teenage boy. This dinner show reportedly costs over $136 million AUD to create, and prices to get in reflect a desperate need to make that up. Nevertheless, if you’re a big kid at heart or a robot fanatic, make sure you book online as tickets regularly sell out.
Take a street go-karting tour
There are a lot of ways to explore Tokyo but by go-kart in dress up might be the most fun. Cruise around the public streets of the city dressed as Mario, Luigi or even Superman in your own personal go-kart. Make sure you fulfill the driver's license requirement and then buckle up and see how you fare against Tokyo’s busy streets.
Eat a steaming bowl of ramen
Tokyo has some of the best Ramen restaurants in the world. If you’re a ramen-connoisseur or just a fan of the noodle dish, you’re going to want to visit the world’s only Michelin starred ramen restaurant- Tsuta. If you don’t want to wait in line or are happy with your stock standard ramen, Tokyo’s streets are full of Ramen restaurants. Choose places that are full of diners, observe the noodle-eating etiquette, and feel free to slurp- It’s a compliment to the chef!
There’s a reason why Tokyo is at the top of many people’s bucket-lists; It’s a city full of colour, traditional beauty and delicious food. With direct flights from Australia, it might just be the time to tick it off.