Opposites attract in Japan—ancient traditions fuse with advanced technology while minimalism meets kitsch
You have my heart, Japan! Definitely coming back and exploring the lesser known areas but for now, I'll enjoy your best tourist spots. ✌🏼
Actual tears were shed while eating the food at Tsukiji Outer Market. I would recommend specific places in the area but who am I kidding? Everything was absolutely heavenly! 🍣🍤🍘🍙🍢 My ultimate favorite bite though was the sushi with uni and torched wagyu. 😭 (Swipe to the last photo to see me looking lovingly at my food!!!)
5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo, Tokyo, Japan
Huge central train station that has a cool exterior, plenty of shops, and a bunch of great restaurants. They have Ramen Street, which is a collection of Japan's best ramen joints. They also have Kitchen Street which are a bunch of places serving different Japanese specialties. We weren't able to try any of them, but I'm definitely coming back just to eat here! 🍜🍙🍘🍱
1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
東京都千代田区丸の内 1 丁目 9
Tokyo Imperial Palace is the primary residence of Japan's Emperor; although, obviously, that area's closed to the public. You can get pretty close though if you book a slot in the free tour. If you want to explore the place on your own time, the East Garden is a vast green space that's great to just relax in. 🌲💆🏻♀️ We only covered about 1/4 of the entire area because it was so cold but I'll definitely make a trip back next time—I hear it's beautiful in spring! 🌸😍
1-1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Ginza is great shopping area full of department stores and high-end shops. 🛍💳🤷🏻♀️ On weekend afternoons, the main street is closed so shoppers can strut their stuff! (Just kidding, I don't actually know why they close it; probably because there's lots of pedestrians) 👠👞
Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
12-floor Uniqlo in Ginza. They quite possibly have everything you need! I've always loved Uniqlo for their simple, practical, everyday fashion; and it was a treat to visit their biggest flagship store. It's a tax-free store so splurge until ¥5000! 👚👕👖👟🧢🧣🧤🧦
6-9-5 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo, Japan
東京都中央区銀座 6 丁目9-5
Uniqlo's sister store, just a few steps from the Uniqlo flagship store in Ginza. They also have a few levels of fast fashion goods which are almost the same quality as Uniqlo's but sold at a cheaper price. Shopping tip: check if the store you're buying from has an ongoing promo and if you can use it. While I was in GU, they were offering a members' discount for people who had their app. I downloaded it and got a coat at almost half-price off! 👍🏼🛍
5-7-7 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
After failed visits to two other popular tonkatsu restaurants in Ginza, I stumbled upon Anzu. There was a line when we got to the place, which we deemed a good sign. The tonkatsu was decent in size, shape, and price; and each order comes with heaps of cabbage! 🐷 It's in one of the top floors of the Mitsukoshi department store, so there's a pretty decent view. 🌃
11th Floor Ginza Mitsukoshi, 4-6-16 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
東京都 中央区 銀座 4-6-16 銀座三越 11F
M-1 Tokyo is a collection of serviced accommodations located in various areas on the outskirts of Tokyo. It's a great choice for the budget conscious and people who don't mind the longer commute to the city center. Most apartments are new (like ours!), so cleanliness and functionality are A+. 👌🏼 You have everything you need and more—I'm talking a fridge, a microwave, and a washing machine! 😱 There's no reception of any sort; you're just given a code that you use to enter the building and your room. Their Minamikamata branch stands in a fairly suburban area, so it was a nice change of pace and scenery. 🏡
2 Chome-10-19, Minamikamata, Ota-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Our go-to 7-Eleven at the corner of the main thoroughfare and the side street that leads to our apartment in Minamikamata. It's a pretty big store, so they have more stuff than other 7-Eleven's. We went here all the time because they always had heat pads in stock! 🥶🔥
2-15-22 Minamikamata, Ota-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Meiji Shrine is a popular temple in Harajuku dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, the first royal leaders of modern Japan. It's a well-designed structure surrounded by the beautiful Yoyogi Park. Visit on a Sunday to see traditional Japanese weddings take place! 🏯🙏🏼
1-1 Yoyogi Kamizonocho, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
@tintin and @korinasegaya's favorite area, Harajuku is made up of many cute retail shops. It's known to be the mecca for Japanese youth culture. We loved it so much that we went back on our last day in Tokyo for some last minute shopping! 👟🛍 The photo shows the starting point of the famous Takeshita Dori (from Harajuku Station). That sea of people is a usual sight on weekends. Come on a weekday if you don't want to drown in the crowd (but honestly, cutting through the people to get to stores was an experience in itself). 🌈
Harajuku, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Yoshinoya is a very affordable fast food option. Their bang-for-your-buck gyudon meal comes with miso soup and a side dish of your choice! Their Harajuku branch is right across the train station; and it provides a great view of the busy Takeshita Dori if you sit by the window. 👀
Harajuku Rubonte Building, 17-1-1 Jingu-mae, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
WC is a bright, colorful shop in Harajuku that sells youthful clothing in the form of statement shirts, sweaters, bags, and the like. Go upstairs for secondhand clothes at cheaper rates! They have a cute little nook where you can pose for photos (see second pic). I believe the store is part of the WEGO umbrella of brands.
First & Second Floor Takeshita Street, 1-19-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
I didn't think I'd like these fun Japanese photobooths so much! 😂 There are plenty of booths, each with a theme of its own. The most popular ones (the ones the kids line up for) usually have something to do with the latest trend or J-Pop group. It's ¥400 a pop; insert your coins in the machine, step into the space, take your photos, then go to the adjacent booth to design your shots. 🤩
Basement First Floor, 1-17-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
We didn't really go into the mall so I can't say anything about it; but I can tell you this—the mirrored, cave-like entrance is an Instagrammer's must-see (must-take-a-photo-in?). 📸
4-30-3 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Famous gyoza shop in Cat Street (Harajuku). The simple exterior gives it a more traditional ambience, which is very different from the hipster neighborhood where it's located. We tried all varieties of gyoza, and all of them were really good—and pretty cheap to boot! 🥟
Okajime Building, 6-2-4 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Also on Harajuku's Cat Street, Luke's Lobster is an American brand famous for... lobsters. 🦞 It's pricey, but so yummy—plump, flavorful meat on soft delicious bread! Pro tip: you're not allowed to loiter on the street in front but Luke's has an eating area you'll find if walk towards the gyoza place.
6-7-1 Jingumaee, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
New York import selling apparel from up-and-coming fashion designers. 🤩 It's on the pricier side of the spectrum, but if you have the cash to burn—go for it! PS: The interiors are very Instagram-worthy, especially the colorful stairs.
6-7-1-B Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
〒150-0001 Tokyo, Shibuya, 神宮前６丁目７ー１
The busiest intersection in the world—a must-see for first-timers in Japan. We went twice (at night and in the morning), and I suggest going on a weekend night when there's lots of people to see everything in full-force! 🚶🏻♂️🚶🏻♀️🚶🏻♂️🚶🏻♀️
2-2 Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
A stretch of restaurants, bars, and shops made for energetic night owls! Come on a Friday or Saturday night to catch a few #shibuyameltdown-worthy sights 👀🍻
Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Get a great view of Shibuya crossing from this Starbucks at the Tsutaya building. You don't even have to buy anything! (But be a good person and get a drink or something) They have seats right by floor-to-ceiling windows. I'm not sure if we were just lucky when we came by on a Sunday night, but it's actually not as crowded as you'd expect. 👍🏼
First Floor Q Front Building, 21-6 Udagawacho, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
東京都渋谷区宇田川町 21-6 Q Front Building, First Floor
Another great view of the crossing is right outside the JR gate of Shibuya Station. It has a large floor-to-ceiling window so you see everything. 🤩 We came on a Thursday morning and there weren't any other people to share the view with.
Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
I really wanted to try one of the conveyor belt sushi places and my friends and I ended up in Genki Sushi in Shibuya. I really didn't expect anything big, but man it was honestly one of my favorite meals! Everything tasted so fresh. Plus, all-in-all, it was a very convenient experience. 10/10 would come again! 🍣
24-8, First Floor Leisure Plaza Building, Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Nakamise Street is a lane that leads up to Sensoji Temple lined with various souvenir and street food shops. Among the things I ate are dango, a sesame bun, three rice cakes, mochi, a pancake-like sandwich with red bean in the center, and a pineapple bun! 😛
Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo, Japan
Beautiful temple complex! There's so much more to see than just the main shrine, so I suggest you go beyond that. We went on a Monday morning before noon and we were able to witness a service take place. 🏮
2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo 111-0032, Japan
The Tokyo Cruise is a great mode of transportation to get to Odaiba. It traverses Sumida River, giving you a different perspective of Tokyo. The boat itself is pretty comfy, with different indoor and outdoor areas to settle in. Travel time is about an hour; and you'll get off right at Odaiba Seaside Park! ⛴
1-1-1 Hanakawado, Daitou-ku, Tokyo, Japan
東京都台東区花川戸 1 丁目 1
Large mall right by Odaiba Seaside Park, making it easily accessible to people taking the Tokyo Cruise (like us). It's also connected to two hotels and a train station, making it a very convenient stop for anything you might need in a mall. While my friends were off buying souvenirs, I made a beeline for the gachapon area and got myself a bunch of Pokemon toys. 🤪⚡️
1-7-1 Daiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
東京都港区台場 1 丁目 7-1
A collection of Japan's best ramen shops. There are maybe 10 shops that have a tiny space each that seats about 10-20 people. They plaster the specialty of every restaurant outside so you actually choose where to eat based on the type of ramen you want. You order through a machine—just insert your money, press the button that corresponds to your order, then grab your ticket (which you give to the people in the shop). 🍜
Fifth Floor Aqua City Mall, 1-7-1, Daiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
〒135-0091 東京都港区台場１丁目７−1, Fifth Floor Aqua City Odaiba
Urayasu, Japan • Recommendation •
Absolutely amazing digital art museum! I didn't know that light could be so interactive. There's no map so you'll need to be extra curious to find all the exhibits and to figure out how everything works. Book tickets in advance online and come on a weekday!
Odaiba Palette Town, 1-3-8 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo, Japan
I wrote about Akihabara for one of my first Finds (now Lemi) articles; so it was a total dream come true seeing it with my own eyes! 😭 I explored the area alone, so I got to take my time going in each arcade: SEGA, Super Potato, Taito, etc. Beware—the claw machines are addictive!!! 🧸 I'm definitely coming back next time I'm in the city; maybe even spend a whole day just playing!
Akihbara, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Found this gem right outside Akihabara Station. It's best for quick bites—orders are taken through a machine and your meal is prepared in about five minutes. The soba's delicious and cheap! 👅
First Floor Yamanaka Building, 1-19 Kanda Sakuma-cho, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
東京都千代田区神田佐久間町1-19 山中ビル 1F
There are plenty of Disneylands in the world, but there's only one DisneySea! ✨ Apart from the usual Disney suspects (I'm talking about the characters), the theme park stands out because of its around-the-world atmosphere. One hour you're in New York, the other you're in the safari, but all in the same time you're in Japan?? Fantastic!
1-13 Maihama, Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, Japan
Conveniently located by the entrance of Hakone Yumoto Station, this shop has a large selection of souvenirs. I bought a bunch of made-in-Hakone stuff (they have sake, local delicacies, magnets, etc). If you have a Hakone Free Pass, you get 20% off when you spend more than ¥1000 if I remember correctly. 👍🏼
707-1 Yumoto, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa-ken 250-0311, Japan
Their soba was absolutely delightful! I got the cold soba with fresh mushrooms, which is one of their specialties. The restaurant follows a traditional design; and you dine cross-legged on a tatami mat. 👍🏼
Yumoto 704, Hakone-Machi, Ashigara-Shimogun, Kanagawa, Japan
神奈川県 足柄下郡箱根町 湯本 704
Lake Ashi is the centerpiece of Hakone as it sita in the center of everything—at least of all the spots we hit. It's very serene. I saw a small bait shop and some canoes, so I think you're allowed to fish, but it was still too cold when we went. It's a gorgeous sight, nonetheless.
Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa, Japan
If you have the Hakone Free Pass, you're allowed unlimited rides aboard the Hakone Sightseeing Ship, which stops at certain key points along the lake. On clear days, you get a view of Mt. Fuji from the top deck!
161 Hakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa, Japan
Owakudani is an active volcanic zone set around a crater created by Mount Hakone's eruption from several thousand years ago. Sulphuric fumes still fill the air, so you're given a wet disposable towel to avoid inhaling too much of the stuff. The main reason I wanted to come here was to try the kuro tamago (Owakudani black eggs), which are eggs that are hard-boiled in the area's hot springs. It's believed that eating it adds seven years to your life! 🥚🔥
1251 Sengokuhara Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa-ken, Japan
Shinjuku is probably my favorite area in Tokyo. It has a bunch of cool shops; and at night, it just transforms into a lively scene! It's kinda like Shibuya but I find that it was more... husky in a sense. Also, I love that many establishments are open until late—perfect for travelers like me who like to stay out. I'm definitely staying in this ward next time! 🌃
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Best forex I found in Tokyo!!! Rates are practically the same as the actual exchange, plus there's no service charge! We originally went to their Shibuya branch, which had a pretty good rate as well (best one in Shibuya imo) but the Filipina who was at the counter told us that this branch was even even better.
1-21-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Heaven! They have everything, even things you never knew you needed. I could spend hours discovering Japanese snacks, weird products, and cheap merch here. They sell a lot of the same stuff you'll find in other stores, but at lower rates!
3-36-16, Shinjuku-Ku, Tokyo, Japan
東京都新宿区新宿 3 丁目 3-36-16
Omoide Yokocho ("Memory Lane") is a series of narrow alleys near Shinjuku Station. It's home to many tiny restaurants and izakaya joints set in run-down buildings reminiscent of Japan's Showa era. I didn't catch the name of the specific place we ate in, but Tokyo being Tokyo, I'm pretty sure wherever you settle, you'll find something good. Beware of cover charges!
1 Chome-2 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
東京都新宿区西新宿 1 丁目 2
Opposites attract in Japan—ancient traditions fuse with advanced technology while minimalism meets kitsch
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