Tokyo is such a crazy city, very lively, with a lot to offer and for everybody. Like every big city, it seems like nobody ever stops in Tokyo, everybody is always on the go.
Despite being so busy, it did feel kinda different from other metropolises: the traffic was in a way ‘quieter’, the people were in a rush but not frenetic (Shibuya crossing is a great exception though), there were no noises like cell phones ringing, people speaking loudly and shouting at each other in the metro.
It felt a bit surreal in a way.
We have some tips for you, even though it’s so difficult to get down to only 5 in a place where you have tons of choices. We hope these will be useful to you one day.
Tip #1 – Visit the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art
Being an alternative art space displaying fascinating topics and contemporary visual arts, the Watari Museum is also an interesting building to admire for any architecture lovers. Even if the current exhibition doesn’t really match your taste, you should stop by anyway to enjoy the incredible bookstore at the ground floor (no entry fee required for it).
It’s not a cheap activity (Adult 1000 yen / student (under 25 years) 800 yen – Pair Ticket 2 Adults 1600 yen / 2 Students 1200 yen) but worth it every penny.
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Tip #2 – Gyudon or beef bowl at Sukiya
As we all know Japan is not one of the cheapest destinations to travel to, but there are still ways to stay within your budget. You can find some cheap street food or try one of the Japanese fast food option where we often ate: Sukiya.
Here you can eat Gyudon that is healthier than most of other fast food chains we are used to, it’s just stewed beef with onions in a savory/sweet sauce over a bowl of Japanese white rice. There are many variations: with egg, extra condiments, veggie or mushrooms. We almost tried them all.
A bowl of Gyudon is only 350 Japanese Yen (approx $3.60, £2.40 and € 2.80), what a bargain!
Tip #3 – Enjoy a free panoramic view of Tokyo
If you are in the Shinjuku area do not miss the chance to see Tokyo from higher up, it will make you feel so tiny in comparison to the vastness of the city.
There are two panoramic observatory decks open until 23:00 on weekdays on the 45th floor of the Metropolitan Government Building, the best part is that they are free of charge. Taking pictures is allowed so go crazy but bare in mind that the use of the tripods is not permitted.
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Tip #4 – Go to Kanda-Jinbōchō
Do you buy second hand books like we do? The best place to go for this kind of shopping is an area off the beaten path called Jinbocho which is the publishing-district of Tokyo.
In this area there are loads of bookstores and they are all full of books predominantly Japanese but with some foreign ones too, you just have to look carefully for them. It’s also a good place to go if you are a manga fan. We loved it!
A little hint: to get there the nearest JR station is Ochanomizu not Kanda.
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Tip #5 – Relax at the Ueno Park
The Ueno Park is very famous for being home of the Tokyo Zoo but also for hosting many of cultural centers including museums and art galleries.
The reason why we liked it so much is its peaceful atmosphere especially around the locus water lilies pond that surrounds a little island with a temple on it. Walking around the pond and the park is very relaxing and it helps you forget that you actually are in a one of the world’s biggest cities.
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