So it seems that the coronavirus pandemic has put any immediate travel plans on pause, but that doesn’t mean we can’t plan for our future adventures. Tokyo is one of those truly fascinating cities that it’s well worth visiting at least once in your life. It’s vibrant, awe-inspiring, packed with culture and home to some of the best restaurants in the world.
1 . Tokyo National Museum
The Tokyo National Museum is the oldest museum in Japan, set in the famous park of Ueno, it’s a real national treasure. Ueno park itself is magnificent, full of thousands of cherry blossoms, temples and shrines. Inside the museum you’ll find the most beautiful examples of Japanese art, including sculpture, calligraphy, archaeology and paintings. The museum regularly holds special exhibitions including those themed on Buddha heritage, the birth of ancient Japan and Japanese fashion.
- Tokyo Skytree
Tokyo Skytree is the world’s tallest tower, (sure there are taller buildings, but this is the tallest tower), reaching an astonishing 2,080 feet! From the observation decks, you’ll get some epic 360-degree views of magical Tokyo. As well as a tourist attraction, the building itself is used as a TV broadcasting tower. At the bottom of the tower, you’ll find an aquarium and some great shopping facilities. For some delicious French-Japanese style food, try the Musashi Sky Restaurant.
3. Cat Cafe Mocha
Feline lovers simply must head on down to one of the best cat cafes, Cat Cafe Mocha. There are various locations dotted about Tokyo, with the site at Harajuku being one of the most popular. A delightful cafe with twenty cats to fuss over. The decor is just stunning, including hanging birdcages and a wooden sculpture of a tree (that these kitties just love to perch on). A charming spot to sit and sip your coffee, enjoying the quirky culture of this enchanting city.
4. Ghibli Museum
The Ghibli Museum is dedicated to the movies of Studio Ghibli, a world famous Japanese animation studio. You’ll find the museum in the west of Tokyo, inside Inokashira Park. The museum features several areas dedicated to fine art, technology and children. Here you’ll find beautiful exhibits featuring all of your favourite Studio Ghibli characters from Totoro to Howl and Ponyo. The basement of the museum even has a small theatre where you can watch the latest Ghibli movies.
5. Abbey Road
Fans of the Beatles won’t want to miss this one, so grab your John Lennon glasses and head for Abbey Road. It’s a bustling bar where you can enjoy performances by some amazing Beatles tribute bands. In fact, local Japanese band ‘The Parrots’ are the only tribute band in the entire world who have actually played with Paul McCartney himself! For a night of fun, a unique atmosphere and all your fav Beatles tunes get yourself down to Abbey Road.
Sensō-ji is a beautiful Buddhist temple, it’s the oldest temple in Tokyo, and one of the most famous. Close to the temple you’ll find a pagoda or five-stories, and the shrine of Asakusa. The temple itself was built in honour of Kannon Bosatu, also known as the
Bodhisattva of compassion. According to the legend, it was in the year 628 that a statue of Kannon was found in the river. From then on no matter how many times the statue was put into the river, it always magically returned. Tourists will find a delightful street of shops nearby called Nakamise, here you can indulge in many typical Japanese souvenirs and foods.
- Meiji Shrine
The Meiji Shrine was constructed in honour of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. The shrine was finished in 1920, yet had to be rebuilt after it was destroyed during the Second World War. You’ll find the shrine adjacent to the famous Yoyogi Park, a lovely forest area in the midst of the chaotic city. Meiji Shrine welcomes millions of visitors every year, it’s often a top location for traditional Japanese weddings.
- Yoyogi Park
For a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, be sure to check out Yoyogi Park. Whether you want a picnic, a jog or to play some sports, there’s ample space here. The park is famous for the ‘ginko tree forest’, an area which turns beautifully golden during the autumn season. Yoyogi park once was once the site of the Olympics in 1964, however this was before the area was transformed into a park. To continue your explorations of greenery in Tokyo, check out the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and Todoroki Valley.
- Michelin Star Restaurants
Tokyo currently has more Michelin Star restaurants than any other city in the world. If you don’t mind paying out a little, try to sample at least one during your stay here. Ishikawa Restaurant is highly rated, with three Michelin Stars. Here you find delicious seafood and sushi like you’ve never tasted before. Nihonryori RyuGin is another top restaurant in Tokyo. The head chef here, Seiji Yamamoto, enjoys conjuring up creative dishes that stimulate the senses. For a real once in a lifetime dining experience, Nihonryori RyuGin is the place to be.
- Sumida Hokusai Museum
The Sumida Hokusai Museum, features a popular exhibition space dedicated to the artist Katsushika Hokusai. He was a Japanese artist and printmaker during the Edo period. One of his most famous works is the series called ‘Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji.’ Probably the most iconic art piece amongst the series is ‘ The Great Wave off Kanagawa.’ Art fans won’t want to miss catching a glimpse of some of the most famous Japanese art work in the world. Tokyo is one of the best cities for art, home to both the Mori Art Museum and The National Art Centre.
With so much beauty, history and good times on offer Toyoko is a top bucket list destination. When you do make it to Tokyo, don’t forget to download the app Hyperperdia, to help you navigate the intricate train systems in the city.