I only stayed in Tokyo for 4 days, but I did see a lot! I will give a run down of all the places you should go, where to shop and what to eat!
Where to visit:
- Bamboo Forest in Hokokuji Temple – this is a must! When you get to the bamboo forest, you will feel a wave of calm come to you. It’s nice and cool there too. Keep on walking to the end and you will get to the tea house where you can have traditional tea. They will also give you some sugar candies molded into beautiful little flowers.
- Great Buddha of Kamakura – this is a giant buddha that you can go into his belly and see from the inside. Very cool experience.
- Harajuku Street in Tokyo – I love that block. It is filled with weird cool things. If you want to see people dressed like animes this is the place to go. Plus there are tons of little shops there for cute/cool trinkets. If you are hungry they have tons of crepe stores for a good piece of crepe.
- Shibuya – Great shopping area. Super crowded, but great to walk around if you have time. I went to see Hachiko the famous dog. If you are an animal lover, you should pay him some respect by visiting. His story in a nutshell is that he is so loyal to his owner that after his owner died, he kept on going back to the train station where he used to pick up his owner each day after work. Such a sad story but what a cool dog!
- 100 Yen Shops – I seriously love this place. It is almost like our 99 cents shop but not really because the 100 yen shop has much, much better quality items. Great place to buy souvenirs and great to stock up on Japanese table wear, chopsticks, etc…
- Tokyo Street train station – this is an underground shopping center. If you have kids, this is great or not depending on how much you want to spend. I bought a Tamagotchi (egg you can raise) but then realized it was all in Japanese. I was able to get the English guide book online. There are so many toy stores for all kind of characters there. Your kids will have a blast there, as I did! Also tons of gift shops. Japan is famous for making pretty pastries such as cakes, cookies, candies, etc… Those would be very nice souvenirs. Lastly, they have a block called ramen street underground where they have the most famous and delicious ramen (see below in food section).
- Drug stores – you can go to any Japanese drug stores and buy their awesome beauty products. They have some awesome beauty products that everyone should buy. Click here for my blog page on Japanese beauty products. Their drug store products are a lot better quality then our drug store products. Also, the Japanese regards their skin highly and take better care of them then we do.
I have to apologize as I was only in Japan for 4 days, I didn’t do much shopping.
There are a log of western restaurants in Japan, so fret not if you are a picky eater. But if you are adventurous, then Tokyo is your world at your fingertips. Also, know that a lot of the little restaurants in Japan have a vending machine. Yes! you read it right, it’s a vending machine where you pick what you want to eat then pay, then a ticket will pop out, then you go in and give the server your ticket. The vending machine is all in Japanese, so you can have one of the servers help you. Everyone in Tokyo is super nice so fear not!
- Ramen Street in the Tokyo Street Station: this would be the best ramen you will ever have. I went to a restaurant where they had the most delicious ramen made from pork bone, a few pieces of pork belly and a perfectly cooked egg (a perfectly cooked egg basically means that the yolk isn’t too well done and it isn’t too under cooked) see pic. It was so good that I went back there twice in 4 days. Now remember there are about 8 ramen places on Ramen Street. I unfortunately had the time to go to one and then decided to stick to that one because it was so good. I am confident that others are as good. All the ramen restaurants are different, because they offer different soup base. So if you ask for the restaurant with the pork bone soup base, they will point it out to you. Believe me this is an experience you won’t want to miss (if you like ramen in the US, you will like the Japan ramen even more.)
- There are tons of little eateries there, luckily, food is an honorable thing in Japan so all of the places I’ve gone to was great. I am confident that all the restaurants you will come across will work out for you. Remember to ask for help, not everyone speaks English, however, they understand a few words here and there.
VERY IMPORTANT: be very careful on where you walk to. Tokyo is nice and fun but if you walk to the wrong place you can get into a lot of trouble. You shouldn’t worry but just be extra careful. (e.g. – some friends of mine went to Tokyo for work. They decided to go bar hopping as soon as they land. Well, they went into the wrong bar. Outside of the bar was a giant Nigerian flag. When you walk inside, it was full of Nigerians. Not that there is anything wrong with Nigerians, however, they are notorious for scamming tourists in Tokyo. One of my friends got caught in a Nigerian triangle. They took him in a car and asked him to go to the bank and take out money. Lucky for this guy, there was a lot of traffic and he was able to run out of the car. This is the gist of the story, but again, be aware of your surroundings and if you see something unsettling, then don’t go there!)
** Stay tuned, I will post picture in a few days.
The Style Gourmande