What to do with one day in Tokyo?
Since Travelmista is currently on a Asia trip to Singapore and Japan. I thought I would give some helpful tips on some things to do in Tokyo. Most of the time he has very limited time to explore during because he is working. So here are some quick highlights of things you can explore in one day or less.
Cherry Blossoms- March-April
If you happen to be visiting during March & early April you can see the amazing Japanese cherry blossoms. According to Japan National Tourism the Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo started to bloom on March 16, 2013 and full bloom will be March 22, 2013. (Travelmista will be there during full bloom! Yah for him!) In Toyko, there are several parks to view the Cherry Blossoms: Ueno Park, Shinjuku Gyoen, Meguro River, Yoyogi Park, Koganei Park, Mid Town, Roppongi Hills and Auskayama Park. I will focus on two as they are near the Hyatt Regency near Shinjuku where Travelmista is staying. (I will write more about cherry blossoms when Travelmista gets back from Japan.)
Shinjuku gyoen features more than one thousand cherry trees of over a dozen varieties, including numerous early and late blooming trees. There are spacious lawn areas, and the atmosphere is calm and peaceful. Thanks to the early and late blooming trees, Shinjuku Gyoen is a good hanami destination for those who miss the main season by a week or two.
Yoyogi Park: Located next to famous shrine Meiji Jingu and fashion street Harajuku. You can spend an hour or two at Yoyogi Park and then head to Shrine. So it is great place to start a day. Make sure to stop by Harajuku for a crepe & coffee and then wander through the park. There are more than 650 trees of Someiyoshino type which is pale pink colored famous species of blossoms.
Tsukiji Fish Market-
The famous fish market is open from 5:30am-11am and is the busiest prior to 8:30am. If you get there early enough you can be selected to watch the famous tuna auction. If you are like me and value sleep you can still go later around 10 and it is not so busy. There are lots of unique varieties of sea life that was part of the morning catch. Sea cucumbers to octopus lots of fish that this Midwest girl has never has seen before. Since this is a working fish market it is busy with lots of traffic and noise. Make sure you watch where you walk as I heard they don't watch out for tourist. There are also so great sushi restaurants around the market. Since I'm not a lover of seafood (I know blasphemy!) I opted to find a ramen noodle sidewalk restaurant with the longest line. This is my tip for selecting a good place to eat. Find the place the locals will line up for and wait. Then you know it will be good! It was the best ramen noodles I have ever had! (Yes, even better than Wagamama's) I don't know the name but because it was in Japanese but see the picture of the stall and ask someone for directions.
Inside the Tsukiji Fish Market
Yummy? Sea Cucumbers?
The best ramen noodles! Street food at its finest!
The name of the ramen place is the black sign. It is near the fish market.
Asakusa Sensoji Buddhist Temple–
Sensoji is Tokyo's oldest Buddhist temple. At the entrance is a massive red and black paper lantern followed by a row of tourist shops leading toward the temple. The shops range from gift shops to food shops servings traditional Japanese dishes from sushi to tempura. As you move closer to the temple take time to watch the rituals people preform while visiting from the lighting of incense, drinking water and giving donations. You can also pay (suggested donation of 100Y) to get a fortune to answers your questions. By shake labeled sticks from enclosed metal containers and then reading the corresponding answers they retrieve from one of 100 possible drawers. Next go up to the temple and take some time to view inside. This would be a good place for some souvenir shopping for that Kimono and also some of that famous plastic food Japan is known for can be found at the shops leading up to the temple.
Massive paper lantern at the entrance gate of Sensoji Temple
Sensoji Temple- people watching
Jinrikisha Ride (Japanese rickshaw)
Right outside the Sensoji temple on the street corner you will find people selling Rickshaw rides. Make sure you experience this. The drivers carefully balance the rickshaw and run down the street to maneuver through busy city traffic. We had the first female rickshaw driver. I was impress with the easy she maneuvered the rickshaw. Well worth the money for the once in a life-time experience.
Rickshaw ride with first female driver
While you are at Sensoji notice the big tower to the right of the temple. That is the Tokyo Sky Tree which is the tallest structure in Tokyo. It main purpose is a broadcasting tower.
Tokyo Sky Tree in distance
Akihabara Electric Town
Akihabara is know for being a shopping area for electronic goods. If you are geeky like Travelmista you will love spending time here if you are like me then you don't know what all the fuss is about and you move on quickly to the next spot. I did not try it but I have heard that the best Maid Cafes are located in Akihabara. If you don't know what Maid Cafe are read this but from my understanding they are for geeky guys to come and have pretty women dressed up in maids costume serve them overpriced food. (Think similar to Hooters restaurants but for geeks:)
A stop to Tokyo is just not complete without a visit to the famous Shibuya Crossing. Find the Starbucks located on the second floor of the building opposite the exit from the metro. Grab a coffee and sit near the glass to people watch. It is amazing to see how people and traffic harmoniously coexist. Plus you can always watch tourist trying to navigate to have a good laugh. Yup that is you too!
Shibuya Crossing from the second floor Starbucks
If you are looking for a tour group to show you around I would recommend Backstreet Tours Tokyo. They will take you to most of the places mentioned in article.