Are you planning to go to Japan for a holiday or would you like to work and live in Japan for one year on a Working Holiday Visa? No matter what reason you’re coming to Japan for – you cannot miss the vibrant metropolis of Tokyo! Thore from Denmark is currently doing a several-month internship in this fascinating city and has listed his personal 11 favorite places in town.
My name is Thore and I’m currently doing a media internship in Tokyo. Join me on my stroll through my favorite locations in this stunning city!
Surely you’ve heard of Shibuya! Shibuya is the new center of the city and famous for the impressive Shibuya Crossing. Can you imagine that approximately 2,500 people are thought to cross it at a time? Shibuya is one of Tokyo’s main attraction for tourists, and there is a reason why: Not only that Shibuya is one of the busiest thoroughfares in the world; the whole area is filled with fancy stores, hip bars, amazing restaurants and exciting clubs. Trust me: You won’t be able to forget the amazing atmosphere here anytime soon!
Thore’s favorites in Shibuya: I love the shopping streets around Basketball Street. You’ll find everything you need here and I promise you that the cozy atmosphere will cause you to stay much longer than you initially wanted. Stroll through the narrow alleys and discover hidden events or concerts of local bands.
Asakusa is Tokyo‘s center of traditions. The temple Senso-ji is the main tourist attraction in this area, symbol of the country’s Buddhist traditions and history. However, just across Sumida river, you will be able to admire the majestic 634 meter high Skytree, embodying modernity, design and technique. I am always amazed at how close tradition and modernity are in this city!
Thore’s favorites in Asakusa: Take a walk in streets around Senso-ji temple and experience some authentic Japanese culture. You will be able to see people walking around in Kimonos, giving the area a very special vibe. If you need some pampering and a break from the city’s hustle and bustle, visit the Jakotsuyu Onsen, which is located in an alley right next to Senso-ji temple. It is simply relaxing. The fee is only 460 JPY (under 4 EUR). Asakusa doesn’t only unfold its special atmosphere during the day: Come back and night to see the evening light show at Skytree! Can you imagine the view from above? Yes, it is amazing.
Shinjuku means „new place to be“ and it definitely is! The area is Tokyo’s most famous entertainment and shopping district. The busy area is full of cult art, nice views, entertainment and great ramen. Many young people live here and you can definitely feel their vibe!
Thore’s favorites in Shinjuku: Don’t miss the world’s busiest train station: More than 3.5 million passengers pass through Shinjuku Station every day. Shinjuku Station is enormous! Take a break at Shinjuku Gyoen, a huge park with different gardens. It’s variety of plants is absolutely amazing. Golden Gai is THE place to have a drink or two. It is a small area with tiny bars, famous both as an area of architectural interest and for its nightlife. Enjoy the authentic atmosphere while having and after-work drink with your friends or colleagues!
Ueno hosts Ueno Park and Zoo, the National Museum and a wonderful market. This place is ideal if you are looking to escape from the high pace of the city: Ueno’s relaxing atmosphere is simply inviting and you will notice that the vibe is very different from places like Shibuya and Shinjuku, even though it‘s also filled with people. Ueno Park and Zoo are definitely worth a visit. The zoo fee is only 600 JPY (less than 5 EUR) and besides the animals, you can also enjoy the scenic beauty of the park. At the oposite end of the park you will find some quiet temples, located in this stunning natural surrounding.
Thore’s favorites in Ueno: Check out the market opposite Ueno Station. Here you will everything from the latest sneakers to cheesy Japanese souvenirs. The vendors stand by their stores and shout their offers. In the middle of it all, right next to Ueno-Hirokoji Station, there is the most amazing Sushi restaurant you will ever find: „Okatimachi Matsuzakaya“ serves the freshest and tastiest Sushi you’ll ever have. The prices are very reasonable, and it has great service.
When you get off the train at Harajuku Station, you have two options: You can either go to the left and visit Yoyogi Park, famous for its numerous events and concerts; or you can go to the right and shop in one of the hippest areas in Tokyo. Another choice to make between traditions and modernity! I‘d recommend you not to miss out on either one and to check out both locations!
Thore’s favorites in Harajuku: Grab a blanket and some snacks and enjoy a relaxed afternoon at Yoyogi Park. If you’re up for some exercise you can also go for a walk or a run here. Take a stroll through the park and visit Mejri-Jingu temple. Don’t forget to wash your hands before entering to show your respect! Shopping in Harajuku is an absolute must while in Tokyo. You can find all of the big brands and names on the main shoppings streets in the area. If you’re looking for individualistic and edgy fashion, take your time to stroll through the narrow side-streets and alleys. Young fashionistas and hipsters will love it here.
In Tsukiji you can find the biggest fish market in the world, including the freshest Sushi and Sashimi. Only five minutes away from Tsukiji Market, you can find Hamarikyuteien Park. The Park is typically Japenese: With it’s big lake, lots of small bridges and tiny paths winding their way through the lush green grass, a lovely place to visit.
Thore’s favorites in Tsukiji: Explore the fish market and the surrounding area. Go early in the morning, when the famous fish auctions take place. I’ve never seen so much fish in my life anywhere else. Around the market, you can find lots of small shops selling fresh fish and seafood as well as delicious seafood restaurants. If you like fish, this is the place to go!
#7: Roppongi & Minato
Welcome to Tokyo‘s high-end areas: You know that you’re here when you walk on the streets and the number of expensive sports cars driving by suddenly increases. If you’re into cars, simply take a walk in the streets here. Many showrooms of luxury car brands are located in Roppongi and Minato, such as Lamborghini, Ferrari or Porsche. You will also find lots of nice cafés and tasty bakeries here.
Thore’s favorites in Roppongi & Minato: Visit Tokyo Tower, which resembles the Eiffel Tower, but is painted in red and white, the colors of Japan. The view from the top deck is simply breathtaking.
You might have heard of the Japanese Emperor, but what about visiting his palace? In the heart of Tokyo, you will find the famous palace and its gardens. Yasukuni-dori Avenue is filled with lots of charming bookstores, giving the place an authentic atmosphere. Here, you can find all sorts of books, from love stories to a good Japanese thriller. Interestingly, the street is also known for its ski and snowboarding shops. It is hard to say why these stores are here, but they are, and it’s an absolute must for everyone who’s into wintersports.
Thore’s favorites in Chiyoda: The Imperial Palace is a must see, when in Tokyo. I absolutely love the moat surrounding the palace. Inside the palace walls you will find well-maintained gardens. Feel like a Royal while taking a walk here!
Ginza is Tokyo’s high-end business area. You’ll see business men in suits and a lot of high-rises. In the past, Ginza used to be the city’s marketplace and fishermen from Tsukiji would come here to sell their fish, farmers sold their tea and so on. Even from a historical perspective, the whole area exudes a business vibe.
Tokyo Station is not only the grand station of Tokyo. The building is more than 100 years olf and of great architectural interest, fitting perfectly into the high-rise scenery of Ginza. Where do you want to go next? You can literally reach every corner of Tokyo from Tokyo Station!
Thore’s favourites in Ginza: Walk down Chuo-dori Avenue from Nihombashi to Shimbashi Station and you’ll get a feeling of walking on 5th Avenue in New York! A mecca for those who love designer brands.
Odaiba is an artificial island in Tokyo Bay. You can find lots of visitors and tourist attractions here, giving the place its own very unique atmosphere.
Thore’s favorites in Odaiba: Teamlab Boarderless is a digital art museum located in Odaiba. The entrance fee is quite pricey, but it‘s worth every Yen. Artworks move out of rooms, communicate with each other and sometimes intermingle. The museum is so stunning, that it‘s hard to explain. Simply go, you won’t regret it. After having enjoyed the latest achievements in digital art, visit the waterfront. There’s a walkway heading towards the city center and the scenery is lovely. You might pass the Statue of Liberty. Not the one from New York though, but a smaller duplicate. A sunset the view from here is amazing!
The ultimate place for gamers, comic book readers or fans of anime and manga. It is the „electronic center“ of Tokyo and in a way different from the rest of the city because it’s so narrowed down what the entire area is about.
Thore’s favorites in Akihabara: Explore the area around Akihabara station. You’ll find a lot of unique places and stores selling literally every. Many of the big stores have several floors. Typically, each floor has its own theme, which is really exciting. Try out a maid café or pet café. These cafés are very unique for Japan and you can hardly find them anywhere else in the world.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my tour! Visit www.world-unite.de/en if you would like to plan your own internship or Working Holiday in Japan!
Best from Japan!