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Kon'nichiwa Happy Travelers!
As promised, I'm here with some of my must see spots in Tokyo. I was there on a business trip, so the touristy bit was kind of a whirlwind. Luckily, on my trip I had several people who had been to Tokyo many times before, so they knew the best spots that I needed to see in the short time I had to spare. So, I checked them out and I'm here to report back to you on what to see, how to see it, and what to eat while you're there....let's go!
1. The Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace is obviously going to be a gorgeous stop. It's old world juxtiposed next to towering skyscrapers. To view the gardens, you'll have to be there Tuesday-Thursday, or Saturday & Sunday from 9:00-4:30. They close at 5:00, but the last people they will let in is at 4:30. I was just finishing up a meeting and hoping to get in, but got there a few minutes late. But even from the exterior, it's so beautiful and worth the visit.
But, whatever you do, do NOT stand on the grass! The only time I saw anyone in Tokyo seriously bent out of shape was when a guard at the Imperial Palace saw someone on the grass taking a selfie. He started blowing his whistle, and everyone except the culprit froze and looked his way. He kept blowing his whistle louder and louder as he marched quite a ways to get them off the grass. When apparently the loud whistling wasn't enough, he started yelling at them...super awkward. Don't let that be you!
As soon as I got to Shinjuku, I thought "This is the Tokyo I've seen in movies". It's definitely worth a stroll around. It may not be for everyone though. It's got a seedy side to it. Lot's of strip clubs and what looked like escort services and that sort of thing. But there's also a lot of restaurants, music, and just the towering lights are worth a visit in my opinion.
Harajuku is a place like no other. It's a center for fashion, food, and shopping. Being a Harajuku girl is like a sport, and they take it very seriously. I got there at about 10:00 in the morning, which worked great because the huge lines had't started yet, which means I got right up to the counter to order some of these amazing crepes!
Those crepes seriously sent me into a sugar coma. I have to say that it was totally worth it! There's so much good food to try there though, so pace yourself. Not only is the food delicious, but it's all presented so beautifully. I almost didn't want to eat it because it was so pretty...almost that is. There's also tons of reasonably priced shopping. It's mostly targeted to young people, but it's so fun to just window shop too.
4. Asaksua Temple
There are temples all over Tokyo, but I really enjoyed this one. It was the busiest that I visited for sure, but beautiful. There are gardens there as well, that are only open a few weeks in the spring. If you happen to be there during that time, it's worth the time to see those as well.
While you are at the temple, don't miss out on getting your fortune. You shake this metal container until a stick comes out. The stick has symbols on it that indicate the drawer that you will select your fortune from. I got the "regular fortune", which was described to me as "Not great, but not bad...slightly better than ok". I'll take it!
5. Miraiken, The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation
The Miraiken Museum was one of the best I've ever been to! I was given a tour for about an hour and a half and I could have spent days there. They have amazing technology there like this robot above as well as human like androids (that were a little creepy if I'm being honest) that you can interact with and really so much more. There's tons of stuff for kids as well...and for adults who still wish they were kids. Japan is all about innovation, so a visit to Tokyo would't be complete without a visit to this amazing museum.
I have all these pictures and videos of the museum that I thought about posting here, but I'm just not sure that it would do it justice. Trust me, it's amazing!
*Bonus* #6. Department Store Basements
Stay with me now, this blew my mind.
In the basements of departments stores and some large train stations like Tokyo station there are these amazing gourmet food stalls. It's like the fanciest food court you've ever seen. Like $300 for 2 pretty cantaloupes fancy.
You can find basically anything you can think of and plenty you could have never thought of down there. And not all of it is $300 cantaloupe expensive either. Like these $3.00 "hot dogs".
This is just the tip of the iceberg for Tokyo and certainly for Japan. If you've ever been unsure about whether you'd enjoy a trip to Japan, toss those doubts out the window and just go! I just got back and I'm already itching to go again. There's so much more that I didn't get to see.
Have you been to Japan? What were your favorite spots?
Pat and I are taking off to Key West this coming week to celebrate our 6th anniversary. I can't wait! I'll be posting about that when we get back.
And, in case you hadn't noticed, summer is just around the corner. Start making those travel plans now, and don't forget to travel happy!
Hi there! I'm Skeeter. I grew up moving a lot and that makes me a bit restless for travel and exploration. I started this blog with my husband Pat when we decided to backpack New Zealand for a year. We are always looking for the next adventure and are loving life. We're just your average couple with two sassy dogs and a love for travel. We're sharing our travels and the tips we pick up along the way.
Hello! I'm Liz. Blogging is very new to me, but I'm so excited to finally write as much as I talk!
"Don't forget to travel happy"-Skeeter & Liz