8 Things to do in Tokyo

Expert tips on the top sights and attractions in Tokyo for first‑timers and old hands.

 

 

Temples and skyscrapers, enchanting gardens and natural oases, karaoke and tuna auctions: where to start in order to enjoy the variety of Tokyo?

 

This period of the year is arguably one of the best to visit Japan as it is dominated by a sea of cherry blossoms awash with perfect pink flowers. As spring approaches, the entire nation turns a shade of pink as the advancement of the blossoms sweeps across the archipelago.
According to the Sakura forecasters, the full bloom will be on April 2nd, and will last throughout the week. We couldn’t have asked for a better backdrop to our Alta Moda/ Alta Sartoria fashion shows

If the cherry blossoms fascinate you, and you need some time to kick back and relax as you adjust to the time difference and recover from the journey over, then take a walk through Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. The central lawns make for the perfect picnic spot after which you can go to visit all the major gardens: English landscape, French formal, and Japanese traditional. Walk through the park and let the nature envelop you to a happy and peaceful state of mind.

The Meiji Shrine is another relaxing oasis in bustling Tokyo. Surrounded by the forest, the Shinto shrine was dedicated to the Emperor Meiji. As one of the most popular temples in Japan, the Shinto shrine combines traditional and historical Japanese architecture with nature. A fun activity is also for you to write a wish on a small piece of paper and tie them to the prayer wall.

Part of Tokyo’s fascination lies in the interface between tranquillity and total chaos. Tsukiji’s fish market for example, is the exact juxtaposition of Shinjuku Gyoen and the Meiji shrine. Tsukiji’s is the world’s largest and busiest fish market, and you have to get up early to see it in full action. Before you go, however, be sure to check the website that the market isn’t closed. In order to see the famous tuna auction, go early (as early at 4.30 am) and wear appropriate footwear as the rules are strict and given that access is free, they could ask you to leave. A sushi breakfast is the next must in order to live the full experience. The counters giving you sushi are endless, but the best ones are towards the fruit and vegetable market, which is just inside the main gate and past the off-limits loading zone.

Speaking of food, a great place to get some is the Ebisu area in Shibuya-ku. This trendy area is full of establishments that specialise in grilled meats and vegetables and plenty of sashimi. Served in tiny plates and cooked in even smaller kitchens the charm around this area is like no other. To accompany all these meals are extensive lists of drinks, and if you are a fan of sake (and don’t have to get up early the next morning) then visit Buri, renown for its sake menu and asparagus wrapped in pork. If however you’re feeling like something fancier, then nearby Ginza is one of the most famous sushi restaurants, Sukiyabashi- prepared by a sushi master who has been perfecting his craft for years.

Whilst you’re in this area of town, you can’t miss the Shibuya Crossing, the fashionable, colourful street that never sleeps. The crossing is one of the busiest in the world, and as the traffic lights change; people from all directions cross the street and the most fascinating thing is that the Japanese will never bump into one another, but merely adjust their pace and stance.

On another one of your nights out in Tokyo, you must live the full authentic Japanese experience by going to Kabukiza and also go and sing some karaoke. Your trip to Tokyo wouldn’t be complete without the realization of these two very accurate stereotypes. For singing, PASELA RESORTS Grande and Karaoke Rainbow in Shibuya are great places where you can have a party in the private room and sing to the top of your lungs! If, however, you can’t quite get into the singing vibe, then Kabuki will be the perfect entertainment to see traditional stage drama. This play is characterized by a combination of rhythmical words, unique dancing, and gorgeous cosmetics. This is quite literally a feast for your eyes!

 

Image credits: Mondadori Portfolio/Age

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