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On this occasion, our traveler friend @lolarufino tells us about her experience in Tokyo and tells us 5 plans that we should not miss in the city.
A great article accompanied by some fantastic photos. You’ll be surprised!
5 essential plans in Tokyo.
Tokyo, with a population of 9.2 million, is undoubtedly a destination that can surpass you at certain times. There is so much leisure, culture, gastronomy… that you don’t know where to start or where to end up.
Don’t worry or get overwhelmed, sign up for these 5 plans that I made and that seem essential for your first visit to the Japanese capital (I say first because I assure you it won’t be your last visit!)
See the skyline of the city from the viewpoint of the Mori Arts Center.
There are many viewpoints from which to contemplate the city of Tokyo, but it was clear to me that I wanted to see with my own eyes The Tower of Tokyo relatively close to the heights.
On the 52nd floor, there is a viewpoint with a window that we can access by paying ¥1800 (€15). It may seem expensive, but I tell you it’s worth it. It is great for people with vertigo as they can enjoy an incredible picture of the city without being afraid.
However, for the bravest, there is access to the building’s heliport on the 54th floor. Paying 300¥ more (€2,50) you will have the same views, but without any glass in between, perfect to avoid reflections in the photographs and to finish falling in love with Tokyo.
My advice is to go before sunset, so you’ll see Tokyo both day and night.
Visit the Borderless Digital Art Museum teamLab.
After taking the underground line without driver Yurikamome, you reach the artificial island of Odaiba.
Between shopping centres, a giant Gundam and leisure and amusement parks, you will find the Led teamLab museum.
I’m sure you’ve seen it in videos and photos of some of Instagram’s influences or maybe on some Facebook page about curious things and art, but I’m telling you that every photo or video is too short to describe what this museum is like.
Every minute queuing (I was 1 hour) and every yen paid (¥3200 – €26) is completely worth it.
It is an interactive museum made only with moving lights in which there are no maps or indications. You have to discover the rooms yourself and interact with everything you’re seeing.
The music that accompanies you in every corner is also key to wrapping you in such works of art. Dedicate an entire morning to it so you can enjoy it without haste.
Do your shopping on Takeshita Street.
In Tokyo, you have to make a big effort not to buy absolutely everything you see. Every clothing store, book store, electronics store, merchandising store… is a real treat.
What is clear is that since you’ve done so many miles you have to take some souvenir, right? (or many, hehe) My advice is to visit Takeshita Street and its surroundings.
It’s located in the neighborhood of Harajuku and although it is overcrowded, like everything in this city, there are shops with all kinds of things and original things at a good price.
My favorite store was WC, a very “girly” local with second-hand 80’s clothes on its second floor. I also recommend going to the Daiso, of several plants, as it is quite cheap for souvenirs and you will find almost everything.
In the same street, there are many places to have a snack, but the one that caught my attention the most is the Totti Candy Factory, where they make sugar cotton with the colours of the rainbow.
There may seem to be too many people (and there are) but no one pushes you or bumps into you. There’s a river of people to go and a river to come.
Join in and do what the Japanese do. I suggest you first visit all the shops on one side and then come back to the other side. Spend about three hours on it.
Walkthrough the Tokyo of the ’50s at Omoide Yokocho.
Walking through Shinjuku you almost happen to run into the lane of Omoide Yokocho. I advise you to go at mid-morning or directly after dark.
It is a very narrow alley full of minibars for no more than 5-10 diners in which the cook makes the meal in front of you.
As in almost every place in Japan, water and green tea are free, and the specialty of almost every bar on this street are the yakitori, which is perfect for having a small lunch before further discovering the city or dinner before returning to the hotel/hostal.
It’s a lovely site that reminded me a lot of the Netflix “Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories” series.
In between the modern building and the hustle and bustle in Shinjuku it’s as if you were teleporting to a different Tokyo. There are jacketed businessmen simply drinking tea and talking for a while or lonely people snacking on their break from work.
Sometimes it seems like the whole of Tokyo is a movie set.
Playing gachapon in Akihabara.
Going to Tokyo and not visiting Akihabara is foolish. If you are more or less “freaky” you have to see and live this neighborhood for yourself, if possible both day and night.
I advise you to go on a Sunday as the main street closes at 1 pm and is pedestrianised until 5 pm. Then they open it again to the cars and usually tunning cars with a manga theme – quite a spectacle!
You’ll cross pedestrian crossings thousand times just to photograph them.
Among thousands of shops of figures and electronic things, you will see many gachapon, which are machines with plastic balls that have a little gift inside. They cost between ¥300-200 (€2,50) and there is literally everything.
I liked them more than the arcades of the Taito Station because in these you have a sure gift, which is going to be a nice souvenir to take home.
Before leaving Akihabara through its station, pay attention to the music that sounds through the megaphones in the station, as you will end up missing it on the way back.
Tokyo is an incredible city. Spend several days on your trip, try not to get overwhelmed and enjoy it! You’ll always be able to repeat.
Written by Lola Rufino
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