I couldn’t wait to check off all the items on my to-do list, since the moment I landed in Japan. During the five days of my stay in Japan, I did as many wonderful things as I could and I can assure you that Japan is the craziest place to visit and have fun in! The moment you think that nothing could be more insane than this particular thing; there are thrice as many crazier things, waiting to be experienced! Here is a quick list of the things most exclusive to Japan, not to be missed if you visit Tokyo.
- Bar Crawl at the Golden Gai:
Oh! This deserves to be on the top of the list as this is not just an ordinary bar crawl. This one has its own unique charm. The heart of Tokyo’s nightlife resides in the Shinjuku area and Golden Gai is a collection of about 200+ bars distributed over four parallel streets. The fact that makes it exceptional is that every bar has a seating capacity of only 4-5 and have the custom of cover charges to reserve seats. The cost of beer varies from 500–700 Yen (5-7 GBP) but you can find many bars with no cover charges or just hop around from one bar to another. It’s a small size and the added funkiness of the bars which makes the experience more fun than usual.
- Visit Themed Cafés:
If you are an animal lover (any animal, believe me!), you are going to love this. Tokyo is home to numerous themed cafés, like the Cat café, the Owl café, the Rabbit café and even a snake café! You can enjoy your food while cuddling these animals (not sure if cuddling with a snake would be a very good idea?) There are many such cafés spread all across Tokyo including one in the Shinjuku area. From cute animal cafés to more extreme themes such as the medical prison-themed café, Tokyo will leave no stone unturned in order to surprise you. Try the Alcatraz E.R Café in Shibuya for an extreme prison experience.
- Visit the famous Shibuya Crossing:
The world’s biggest traffic crossing with more than 2500 people crossing the roads every 60 seconds is as bewildering as one could imagine. The population of Tokyo is 38 million only and when you stand at the Shibuya crossing, chances are that you will experience standing amidst the entire population, in the most epic manner possible. It’s the most organised yet chaotic place to be. Had it been in any other country in the world, this crossing would have been a mess to handle but we are talking about excellent Japanese organisation skills, which was one of the highlights of my trips. To get the best view of the crossing, one can take a seat on the first floor of the Starbucks coffee outlet on the opposite side of the road and get a full panoramic view of the crossing while capturing it in the camera.
- Experience a Night-out at Karaoke Bars:
As I had mentioned earlier, the trains in Tokyo stop operating post 12 AM and start at 5 AM. So if you missed your last train, don’t worry! That’s probably the best thing that could happen to you in Tokyo. Clubs, bars, cafés and karaoke bars in the Shibuya and Shinjuku areas are open until the morning. Go to clubs, drink in bars and the best of all, have a bomb while singing karaoke with you friends.Karaoke rooms are available at 800 yen for 2 hours and you can either sing your heart out or take a quick nap, if tired. But this is an experience you can definitely not miss, while in Tokyo.
- Discover the Magical Toilet Seats:
One of the most amazing and satisfying things in Japan are the heated toilet seats and the crazy number of buttons on them. I mean you probably cannot imagine the extent of what a toilet seat can do until you try it for yourself. Experimenting with all the toilet buttons was really funny and sitting on those heated seats early in the morning, was indeed the best way to start my day!
The word “thirsty” doesn’t exist in a Japanese dictionary. One could find a vending machine every 50-100 meters away and that was something really useful. The vending machines provide a range of non-alcoholic drinks to choose from. They were really well managed and I tried different drinks from many of them. I was surprised to see that machines were never out of stock. This is the reason why there are no roadside shops on the streets and the colourful vending machines by the roadside just wins your heart.
- Visit the Otaku/ Nerd area in Akihabara:
Even if you are not a gamer or a nerd, you should really visit the Akihabara area or the so-called ‘tech area’ of Tokyo. From flashy lights, electronic stores, gaming cafés, superhero figurine shops and much more, the Akihabara area is the paradise of all technology and pop culture lovers.
- Watch the Robot Show in Shinjuku:
Watching a robot in the toy shop is one thing and watching an entire 2-hour robot show featuring performances by gorgeous Japanese girls is a whole new level of awesomeness. The tickets were expensive, priced at about 70$. The show is made for the tourists to experience a whole new level of weirdness with great visual and audio implementation. I went there with some fellow travellers and had an enormous amount of fun. I can guarantee you that the show is worth the price and you’ll end up loving every minute of it.
- Experience the Japanese Sakéin Izakaya
The traditional Japanese drinking setup is known as ‘Izakaya’. You are supposed to sit on the ground like the locals do, and drink the famous Japanese drink, ‘saké’while eating traditional Japanese dishes. The best part of such traditional cafésis that once the locals dining there gets tipsy, they start dancing on tables and it’s so much fun to not only watch them from a distance but also to join them and create some memorable experiences. I loved the Izakaya caféand had been too drunk to take a picture of the place. Izakaya cafésare famous amongst the locals and tourists alike, and are located all over Tokyo.
- Experience the Maid Café and Monster Cafés:
While walking around some areas in Tokyo, you are bound to come across young girls dressed as ‘maids’, trying to get you to visit their restaurants. Maid cafés are similar to the concept of Hooters, with there being nothing sexual about it. They are just another type of themed cafés where the waitresses dress as maids and sit next to you, chat with you and treat the customers as ‘masters’ or ‘mistresses’ while you order drinks and food. On the other hand, Monster cafés are themed restaurants where the internal setup is interestingly designed and the waitresses dress as monsters to keep you entertained.
These are the wonderful things I got to enjoy in Tokyo. There are a lot more things to be enjoyed by tourists! I have added a list of things that didn’t make it to my list due to personal reasons but should definitely be on your to-do list!
Enjoying Sumo wrestling in Tokyo
- Experiencing the Tuna auction in the fish markets, early in the morning.
- Trying out Ramen, Sushi and more of the famous Japanese cuisine
- Watching the traditional Theater in Tokyo