A trip to Japan’s largest city is a necessity for anyone stationed in Misawa. In Tokyo, tradition mixes with futuristic trends to create one of the most diverse cities in the world.
Tokyo is also one of the largest cities in the world, spanning 2,188 square kilometers, 23 wards and packed with over 13 million people. The sprawling layout of Tokyo can be intimidating for even the most seasoned traveler, so we’ve hand-picked these experiences to help you start planning your trip.
Speed through the streets of Tokyo as Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach with MariCAR. Each participant drives their own go-kart dressed as the character of their choice. See the sights of Tokyo and even drive over the famous Rainbow Bridge. (Valid drivers license required)
Learn to wield a sword at Hisui Tokyo, a multi-art school in Japanese culture. Hisui Tokyo has classes in Waso (Kimono Dressing), Batto (Swordsmanship), Shodo (Japanese Calligraphy) and more.
Origami Kaikan offers classes to learn the Japanese art of origami, folding paper into shapes and figures. Visitors can also visit the workshop where origami paper is dyed and decorated.
For all things “kawaii,” visit Harajuku, Tokyo’s funky pop culture capital. You’ll find colorful fashion, outrageous foods and rainbow colored desserts. Stop in and have coffee with a hedgehog at Hedgehog Cafe Harry Harajuku.
Tokyo Joypolis, an amusement park based on Sega Games, has attractions for all ages of the family. Ride a roller coaster, go on a treasure hunt, play video games or just enjoy a snack in one of the cafés.
At The National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation you can meet ASIMO, a humanoid robot. The museum also features interactive exhibits which allow visitors to explore Earth and the frontiers of space.
A full day can be spent building together at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center. You can make your own LEGO® bricks, go on a ninja adventure or race LEGO® cars.
Step into a whimsical world at The Ghibli Museum, which showcases the art and animation of Miyazaki Hayao’s Studio Ghibli. The museum is decorated in the style of the studio’s
films and has rooms filled with books, toys and magical passageways.
ART & CULTURE
Head to the Roppongi Art Triangle to visit the Mori Art Museum, Suntory Museum of Art and National Art Center Tokyo. These three museums offer traveling exhibits, traditional and modern artwork. If you enjoy architecture, you’ll love the National Art Center, designed by internationally renowned architect, Kisho Kurokawa.
Don’t miss The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (MOMAT) to view some of the most extensive modern art collections in Japan. The museum also includes The Crafts Gallery, which features ceramics, glasswork, woodwork, textiles, dolls, graphic design and more.
Explore Tokyo’s rich history at the Imperial Palace and then head to Senso-ji, Tokyo’s oldest temple.
Some museums offer discounts for multiple visits. Also be on the lookout for free museum days!
An architectural masterpiece, St. Mary’s Cathedral, features a futuristic look with curved walls that reach up to the sky to form a cross. Depending on the time of day and location of the sun, rays of sunlight beam through the windows to illuminate various sections of the cathedral.
For a breathtaking view, ride the elevator to the top of Tokyo Tower. Inspired by the Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Tower is 333 meters high and is the tallest, self-supported steel tower in the world.
Ginza is home to several impressive buildings, including De Beers Ginza and the Nakagin Capsule Tower. Looking like something out of Alice in Wonderland, De Beers Ginza appears liquified. The Nakagin Capsule Tower was an experimental project in the 1970’s and houses apartments made of capsules.
Tours of the capsule apartments are available on Airbnb.
FOOD & DRINK
For the freshest seafood, visit one of the numerous sushi restaurants in the Tsukiji Fish Market. Many of these eateries make their sushi with fish that was caught and purchased from the market that same morning. If you wake up particularly early, you can watch the famous tuna auction at the market. Be prepared, you’ll need to arrive around 3 a.m. to reserve your spot.
Tokyo Ramen Street at Tokyo Station hosts eight ramen shops, each with its own different flavors. Whether you like shio or miso, Tokyo Ramen Street has it all.
Sample sake at the Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center, then learn about Japanese beer at the Beer Museum Yebisu; complete with tasting.
Tokyo is home to a variety of delicious street foods. To get the full experience, grab some mitarashi dango, tempura, yakisoba, yakitori or takoyaki.
For a luxury shopping experience head to Ginza, Tokyo’s upscale shopping district. Ginza is home to multi-level stores like Mitsukoshi, one of Japan’s largest department stores. Enjoy exceptional customer service as you survey floor after floor of merchandise.
If you are looking for Japanese souvenirs to bring back home, Nakamise-Dori in Asakusa is a street filled with Japanese trinkets. Nakamise-Dori is rumored to be one of the oldest shopping streets in Japan and is very popular with tourists.
You’ll find everything you didn’t know you needed at Tokyu Hands. This department store centers on hobby, home improvement and lifestyle products. Shop here to find nearly anything from craft supplies to beauty products to travel gear.
Kids and adults alike will love shopping at Tokyo Character Street. Shops teem with well-loved characters like Pokemon and Hello Kitty.