#1 9-22-2017 2:34 PM

SweetGrL397
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*Tokyo - Must-See Sights and Must-Try Restaurants & Dishes?*

I am super excited to finally visit my top dream destination, Japan, in November!!!

I know there's so much to do and see, it's overwhelming...especially for a first-timer!

So let's break it down, I'll be starting my trip in Tokyo for 5 nights and then concluding my trip back in Tokyo for another 2 nights.

So I need all your great recommendations again!

TOKYO
What are some must-see sights and attractions in this exciting city? Any cool tours worth considering? I would also like to do a couple day trips from Tokyo - what were your favorites? What were some fun and unique activities you tried?

On to the food...
I cannot wait to explore Japan's food scene! What are a few of your favorite restaurants in Tokyo? Great katsu? Yummy tempura? The best sushi? A fun themed restaurant worth seeing?
I'm also looking to do at least one nice dinner/Michelin restaurant one night - what was truly worth it? Also, any tips for snagging those difficult reservations and navigating your way to the restaurants would be really helpful!

Nightlife...
A cool place to grab a few cocktails? The most exciting neighborhoods? Maybe even a nightclub?

All of your help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I am really excited for this trip! Thanks so much! smile

 

#2 9-24-2017 5:41 AM

kvom
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Re: *Tokyo - Must-See Sights and Must-Try Restaurants & Dishes?*

There are ~100,000 restaurants in Tokyo alone, so any recommendations here would be somewhat random slices of opinion.  In preparation for my own upcoming trip I've been reading the JapanTravel sub on reddit and watching some food related videos on youtube.  There's a lot of itineraries being discussed there as well.

As far as deciding what to see, there's way too many sites for a short trip, so you need to be selective.  I got a travel book from the library and made a list of things that interest me.  Your list would be different.  As for day trips from Tokyo, I've decided on Kamakura and Nikko for sure, as well as a shorter excursion to Mt. Takao.  There might be others if time allows, as the number of days in Tokyo is up in the air.

 

#3 9-24-2017 12:20 PM

Toonsarah
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Re: *Tokyo - Must-See Sights and Must-Try Restaurants & Dishes?*

I definitely recommend a visit to Nikko (try to stay overnight if you can spare the time, but a day trip would be better than nothing).

In Tokyo itself, I liked best the Sensoji temple in Asakusa and the Meiji shrine. I was also going to recommend the Edo-Tokyo Museum but it seems to be closed for refurbishment, which is a real shame

 

#4 9-24-2017 11:13 PM

Lotus28
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Re: *Tokyo - Must-See Sights and Must-Try Restaurants & Dishes?*

You will need to stay in a full service hotel with concierges services in order to book Michelin starred restaurants.
Most top-end restaurants in Tokyo has limited seats. So people make a reservation in far advance, and restaurants prepare for fresh, top-end ingredients in advance. So they're quite scared of last minutes cancellation or no-show which can easily lead to corruption of the business .
So most Michelin starred restaurants need your hotel to guarantee your arrival.

I normally dine out at casual or mid-tier restaurants but here's some of my recommendations;

- Tonkatsu (Pork Cutlet)
Kamata area near Haneda airport is the area where people head off for great katsu or gyoza.
I love Tonkatsu place called "Aoki" in this area. Normally tonkatsu is served with sauce but they're quite confident about the quality of pork meat so they serve with salt. It was very yummy. Expect some time to line up especially around lunchtime and dinner time. Maruichi restaurant is also great and I have some friends who never eats at different restaurants when they want to have tonkatsu.

- Tempura
I have no idea about tempura restaurants in Tokyo but Toraya restaurant in Yokohama is by far the best for me. My family set ourselves on this restaurant when we eat tempura at restaurants.

- Soba noodles
Chihana-an restaurant in Kamakura and Yokohama is by far the best for me so far. It amazes me everytime I eat there. The restaurant is also small so you need to wait or you can't enter at all without reservation. They have affordable soba stand branch near Kannai train station in Yokohama.

I have no idea about night clubs but I'd say you can't miss Japanese craft beer scene unless you hate beer. And Nihon Wine (Japan wine: wine made of Japanese crop and brewed in Japan) is also booming. I also recommend you to check it out.
If you're happy to come over to Yokohama for a pub crawl, I'd happy to give you some long list of my favorite pubs and restaurants here.

 

#5 9-25-2017 12:22 AM

Lotus28
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Re: *Tokyo - Must-See Sights and Must-Try Restaurants & Dishes?*

By the way, judging from your profile, you seemed to be a big foodie :-)

There are lots of wineries in Yamanashi prefecture (especially in Katsunuma, Kofu, Isawa, Fubuki area).
They have some wine festivals in Oct to Nov and you can try some local wine cheaply.

  - Nov/3: Manzu Wine Katsunuma Thanksgiving festival 2017
       Held at Manzu Wine Katsunuma Winery.
       You can have the first wine for 300yen, and from 2nd glass, it will cost 50yen/glass.
       There will be free shuttle buses from JR Enzan station.

   - Nov/18-19: Yamanashi Nouveau Festival
      Venue https://www.google.co.jp/maps/place/%E5 … 38.5863506
     Fee: 1500yen for wine glass,  10 tickets for wine, some snacks
     You can taste more than 60kinds of local wines from 38 local wineries
     
By the way, rather than joining a tour, I'd also recommend you to join some groups on meetup.com. There are many groups that organizes some events including some dinner events or cooking experience. I used to have an account and I met some travelers who are not permanent residents in Tokyo/Japan.

And speaking as a beer geek, I can recommend some good microbreweries to visit depending on your taste.

If you can post some more info about your interests, people including me would be happy to recommend some sites to visit as well.

Have fun!

 

#6 9-25-2017 12:54 AM

Bojasem
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Re: *Tokyo - Must-See Sights and Must-Try Restaurants & Dishes?*

In my opinion The best sightseeing in Tokyo are

1-Disney land & Disney see

2-Akhibara street

3-Sumida park.

4-Fuji Mountain.

5-Shibuya shopping area.

6-Maid Cafe.

 

#7 9-26-2017 3:45 PM

SweetGrL397
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Re: *Tokyo - Must-See Sights and Must-Try Restaurants & Dishes?*

kvom wrote:

There are ~100,000 restaurants in Tokyo alone, so any recommendations here would be somewhat random slices of opinion.  In preparation for my own upcoming trip I've been reading the JapanTravel sub on reddit and watching some food related videos on youtube.  There's a lot of itineraries being discussed there as well.

As far as deciding what to see, there's way too many sites for a short trip, so you need to be selective.  I got a travel book from the library and made a list of things that interest me.  Your list would be different.  As for day trips from Tokyo, I've decided on Kamakura and Nikko for sure, as well as a shorter excursion to Mt. Takao.  There might be others if time allows, as the number of days in Tokyo is up in the air.

Yes, there are so many restaurants. I'm just going to research a couple popular ones that people tend to recommend over and over and the rest will just be whatever looks good!

I've heard great things about Nikko. We are actually leaning towards that as a day trip. I also wanted to experience an onsen/hot spring resort and may look into Hakone as well.

Thank you!!

 

#8 9-26-2017 3:47 PM

SweetGrL397
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Re: *Tokyo - Must-See Sights and Must-Try Restaurants & Dishes?*

Toonsarah wrote:

I definitely recommend a visit to Nikko (try to stay overnight if you can spare the time, but a day trip would be better than nothing).

In Tokyo itself, I liked best the Sensoji temple in Asakusa and the Meiji shrine. I was also going to recommend the Edo-Tokyo Museum but it seems to be closed for refurbishment, which is a real shame

Sounds good! Aw too bad the Edo-Tokyo Museum is undergoing renovations.
Thank you!

 

#9 9-26-2017 3:52 PM

SweetGrL397
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Re: *Tokyo - Must-See Sights and Must-Try Restaurants & Dishes?*

Lotus28 wrote:

You will need to stay in a full service hotel with concierges services in order to book Michelin starred restaurants.
Most top-end restaurants in Tokyo has limited seats. So people make a reservation in far advance, and restaurants prepare for fresh, top-end ingredients in advance. So they're quite scared of last minutes cancellation or no-show which can easily lead to corruption of the business .
So most Michelin starred restaurants need your hotel to guarantee your arrival.

I normally dine out at casual or mid-tier restaurants but here's some of my recommendations;

- Tonkatsu (Pork Cutlet)
Kamata area near Haneda airport is the area where people head off for great katsu or gyoza.
I love Tonkatsu place called "Aoki" in this area. Normally tonkatsu is served with sauce but they're quite confident about the quality of pork meat so they serve with salt. It was very yummy. Expect some time to line up especially around lunchtime and dinner time. Maruichi restaurant is also great and I have some friends who never eats at different restaurants when they want to have tonkatsu.

- Tempura
I have no idea about tempura restaurants in Tokyo but Toraya restaurant in Yokohama is by far the best for me. My family set ourselves on this restaurant when we eat tempura at restaurants.

- Soba noodles
Chihana-an restaurant in Kamakura and Yokohama is by far the best for me so far. It amazes me everytime I eat there. The restaurant is also small so you need to wait or you can't enter at all without reservation. They have affordable soba stand branch near Kannai train station in Yokohama.

I have no idea about night clubs but I'd say you can't miss Japanese craft beer scene unless you hate beer. And Nihon Wine (Japan wine: wine made of Japanese crop and brewed in Japan) is also booming. I also recommend you to check it out.
If you're happy to come over to Yokohama for a pub crawl, I'd happy to give you some long list of my favorite pubs and restaurants here.

Nice!! Yea, I've always heard how difficult it is to get reservations at the top Michelin star restaurants! I would really love to try at least one of them. I am asking my hotel concierge and another service for assistance. I'm on a mission! wink

Appreciate the suggestions! I actually love craft beer! I have looked into Yokohama as a day trip as well. It would be great to know your favorite spots!

Haha yes, big foodie here! Thank you so much for the awesome recommendations! smile

 

#10 9-26-2017 3:53 PM

SweetGrL397
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Re: *Tokyo - Must-See Sights and Must-Try Restaurants & Dishes?*

Bojasem wrote:

In my opinion The best sightseeing in Tokyo are

1-Disney land & Disney see

2-Akhibara street

3-Sumida park.

4-Fuji Mountain.

5-Shibuya shopping area.

6-Maid Cafe.

Hi there! Thank you for the list! Hoping to check out a few of these! smile

 

#11 9-26-2017 5:20 PM

tenaka
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Re: *Tokyo - Must-See Sights and Must-Try Restaurants & Dishes?*

Out of all of the places I have been were English has not been the native language, Tokyo was probably the most English friendly. I don't mean people being personally friendly to me (though they were) or just everyone speaking English (maybe they did, I didn't try to talk to everyone). Just more that, even after you get away from the popular tourist destinations its still very easy to get around. transportation signage also has English on it, pictures on menus, etc. So i never felt like I needed to take a short tour to get my bearings like I have in some other cities. its very conducive to making your own way without a plan.

For the temples and shrines, Meiji was my favorite instead of the more popular Sensoji (both worth a visit). I much preferred the peaceful seclusion amidst nature of the former to the hustle and bustle of the latter.

My favorite meal was probably breakfast at the Tsukiji market. I didn't get up early enough to try to watch the tuna auction, I just went over for a wander around to check it out. Tucked inside a few of the alleys are a few sushi places. Couldn't tell you the name for certain though. Based on what google maps shows, my best guess is that I ate at Sushi Zanmai. I didnt go looking for any of the higher end restaurants you want to make a reservation at, so I can't help you there. Nor am I a nightlife person.

 

#12 9-28-2017 11:48 PM

Lotus28
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Re: *Tokyo - Must-See Sights and Must-Try Restaurants & Dishes?*

That's great that you are coming to Yokohama :-)

Some bar owners in Yokohama are trying to promote Yokohama as a "craft beer city" so we have lots of beer pubs within walking distances. Here's some of my recommendations.

- Una Casa de Gb. Gb. El Nubichinom: Owner of this bar is one of the most famous beer judge from Japan Craftbeer Association, and not only he judges at domestic competitions, he is often invited to some international competitions as well. They have 6 taps of Japanese brews which he has a long time relationships with.
The bar master doesn't have a lot of IPA styled beers as other bars around the area offers good ones and he loves English bitter, alt, pilsner etc. But if you want to know the basic lineups of Japanese craftbeer, you will never go wrong with this bar. You can get happy hour discount before 8pm.
https://www.ratebeer.com/Places/ShowPla … ceID=21131

- Sakura Taps: It's just about 3mins walk from El Nubichinom and this bar has 8taps. Bar owner can speak good English. On the contrary to El Nubichinom, their lineups shows what's popular among beer geeks in Japan. It has lots of limited brews or booming breweries. The owner apparently likes saison, session IPA, fruit beer etc. They have great coffee roasted at small coffee roaster in Chigasaki area too. You can get some discount if you choose to stand at counters, not the table and seat.
https://www.ratebeer.com/p/sakura-taps- … ama/56761/

-  Bay Brewing Yokohama: This is a small brewpub in nearby area. About 5mins walk from above two bars.
The president/master brewer of this brew pub has a strong love towards Bohemian Pilsner style and his beer  has won some prizes at beer competition in Czech republic. They recently opened a factory in suburban area in Yokohama and they're serving their beer at Yokohama Stadium when Yokohama BayStars (our team!) has a baseball match at home ground. Their "today's eggplant/aubergine" on food menu is quite interesting. Some eggplants are served raw with salt. (Yummy like fruits!)
https://www.ratebeer.com/p/bay-brewing-yokohama/22398/

There're many other bars here in Yokohama but the one I listed are somewhat unique in this area.
You can grab "Yokohama Beer Map" from any of these pubs and go for pub crawl.


And it's not really a craft beer pub, I would highly recommend a bar called "Villapon" in the same area. This bar has a great selection of beautiful wine, whisky, Japanese sake and cocktail made of Japanese seasonal fruits. All the drinks that this bar offers is from Japan and there's no imported liquor.
The bar master is known as " the most good looking bar master" in this area too. (haha!) so there are many other females visiting this bar alone.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/%E3%81%B3%E3%8 … C%E5%B8%82

If you like whisky, I would also recommend a bar named Suzumaru b.b. It's a bar owned by a lady and her food is really awesome. She features Hakushu whisky and it's served very beautifully. Highly recommended for solo females. Her husband also runs a izakaya style of bar called "umineko" nearby and this one is also very popular among locals. He goes for fishing every morning and serves the fish that he caught for the day.
His sashimi is very beautiful!

I haven't listed all so if you have any particular request on recommendation, feel free to ask!

 

#13 9-29-2017 7:22 AM

gingerbatik
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Re: *Tokyo - Must-See Sights and Must-Try Restaurants & Dishes?*

Like other has mention, plenty of restaurants in Japan and all very delicious from the small noodles and sushi bar to the most expensive place.

You actually do not have to stay in the full service hotel to be able to dine at the Michelin restaurant.  You can book the restaurant directly through the website and usually you have to pay a deposit for confirmation. (usually 50% deposit from the meal price per person).

Here is the link to the top 10 Michelin restaurant in Toyko and you can book directly.


https://theculturetrip.com/asia/japan/a … -in-tokyo/

Last edited by gingerbatik (9-29-2017 7:31 AM)

 

#14 10-1-2017 9:00 PM

Sept922
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Re: *Tokyo - Must-See Sights and Must-Try Restaurants & Dishes?*

i find that you can get great food in Tokyo/Yokohama without worrying about the level like Michelin stars. There is so much good local food. But I am not a foodie so.... I just eat cuz I am hungry. I usually ate with the local working folks and left satisfied. Tokyo has a great burger scene. There are many great burger shops in town with some of the best I ever had..period.

In Tokyo itself it depends on the days too. Yoyogi park on a Sunday is just a damn cool place to be if the weather is nice. Many folks meet up on the weekends at Yoyogi station in their costumes for cosplay. harajuku seems to be loved by all the young girls to walk along Takeshita Dori for all the shops and the fashions. Nearby Omotesando is a beautiful stretch of road and at night is so cool. Many great bars and eateries in this area. Ebisu station is a great area for small places to eat. Many great shops and bars and a great place to spend an evening.

Of course Shibuya has all the party places and can't be missed if you ask me but I am a Shibuya clubber from the old days. By day it is a GREAT shopping zone and the 109 building across from the station is a mecca for many Japanese girls. The Tower records down the street is the single best record/music shop I have ever been to in life.

Shinjuku is a skyscraper zone with a huge shopping area also. If you want a great view for free, go to the Tokyo metropolitan government building. The Ueno area has many good museums and a small zoo also! But a must see is Ameya-Yokocho or better known as Ameyoko. It is an area of alleys full of shopping and snacks! You can munch on some goodies as you people watch many locals and check out the small little shops. Akihabara is near but overrated.

Shin Okubo has a large Korea town kinda area and is interesting to see the blend of cultures. Kawagoe is cool if you wanna see the old style like they use in Samurai shows. There is so much in Tokyo that after several years of living there I still couldn't do it all!

 

#15 10-4-2017 7:00 PM

SweetGrL397
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Re: *Tokyo - Must-See Sights and Must-Try Restaurants & Dishes?*

tenaka wrote:

Out of all of the places I have been were English has not been the native language, Tokyo was probably the most English friendly. I don't mean people being personally friendly to me (though they were) or just everyone speaking English (maybe they did, I didn't try to talk to everyone). Just more that, even after you get away from the popular tourist destinations its still very easy to get around. transportation signage also has English on it, pictures on menus, etc. So i never felt like I needed to take a short tour to get my bearings like I have in some other cities. its very conducive to making your own way without a plan.

For the temples and shrines, Meiji was my favorite instead of the more popular Sensoji (both worth a visit). I much preferred the peaceful seclusion amidst nature of the former to the hustle and bustle of the latter.

My favorite meal was probably breakfast at the Tsukiji market. I didn't get up early enough to try to watch the tuna auction, I just went over for a wander around to check it out. Tucked inside a few of the alleys are a few sushi places. Couldn't tell you the name for certain though. Based on what google maps shows, my best guess is that I ate at Sushi Zanmai. I didnt go looking for any of the higher end restaurants you want to make a reservation at, so I can't help you there. Nor am I a nightlife person.

Good to know, thank you!

I can't wait to check out the Tsukiji Market! Hoping to go early one day for a tasty sushi breakfast!

 

#16 10-4-2017 7:02 PM

SweetGrL397
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Re: *Tokyo - Must-See Sights and Must-Try Restaurants & Dishes?*

Lotus28 wrote:

That's great that you are coming to Yokohama :-)

Some bar owners in Yokohama are trying to promote Yokohama as a "craft beer city" so we have lots of beer pubs within walking distances. Here's some of my recommendations.

- Una Casa de Gb. Gb. El Nubichinom: Owner of this bar is one of the most famous beer judge from Japan Craftbeer Association, and not only he judges at domestic competitions, he is often invited to some international competitions as well. They have 6 taps of Japanese brews which he has a long time relationships with.
The bar master doesn't have a lot of IPA styled beers as other bars around the area offers good ones and he loves English bitter, alt, pilsner etc. But if you want to know the basic lineups of Japanese craftbeer, you will never go wrong with this bar. You can get happy hour discount before 8pm.
https://www.ratebeer.com/Places/ShowPla … ceID=21131

- Sakura Taps: It's just about 3mins walk from El Nubichinom and this bar has 8taps. Bar owner can speak good English. On the contrary to El Nubichinom, their lineups shows what's popular among beer geeks in Japan. It has lots of limited brews or booming breweries. The owner apparently likes saison, session IPA, fruit beer etc. They have great coffee roasted at small coffee roaster in Chigasaki area too. You can get some discount if you choose to stand at counters, not the table and seat.
https://www.ratebeer.com/p/sakura-taps- … a/56761/\\

-  Bay Brewing Yokohama: This is a small brewpub in nearby area. About 5mins walk from above two bars.
The president/master brewer of this brew pub has a strong love towards Bohemian Pilsner style and his beer  has won some prizes at beer competition in Czech republic. They recently opened a factory in suburban area in Yokohama and they're serving their beer at Yokohama Stadium when Yokohama BayStars (our team!) has a baseball match at home ground. Their "today's eggplant/aubergine" on food menu is quite interesting. Some eggplants are served raw with salt. (Yummy like fruits!)
https://www.ratebeer.com/p/bay-brewing-yokohama/22398/

There're many other bars here in Yokohama but the one I listed are somewhat unique in this area.
You can grab "Yokohama Beer Map" from any of these pubs and go for pub crawl.


And it's not really a craft beer pub, I would highly recommend a bar called "Villapon" in the same area. This bar has a great selection of beautiful wine, whisky, Japanese sake and cocktail made of Japanese seasonal fruits. All the drinks that this bar offers is from Japan and there's no imported liquor.
The bar master is known as " the most good looking bar master" in this area too. (haha!) so there are many other females visiting this bar alone.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/%E3%81%B3%E3%8 … C%E5%B8%82

If you like whisky, I would also recommend a bar named Suzumaru b.b. It's a bar owned by a lady and her food is really awesome. She features Hakushu whisky and it's served very beautifully. Highly recommended for solo females. Her husband also runs a izakaya style of bar called "umineko" nearby and this one is also very popular among locals. He goes for fishing every morning and serves the fish that he caught for the day.
His sashimi is very beautiful!

I haven't listed all so if you have any particular request on recommendation, feel free to ask!

That's awesome! Thanks so much for the recommendations for Yokohama!

Cheers!! smile

Last edited by SweetGrL397 (10-4-2017 7:04 PM)

 

#17 10-4-2017 7:06 PM

SweetGrL397
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Re: *Tokyo - Must-See Sights and Must-Try Restaurants & Dishes?*

gingerbatik wrote:

Like other has mention, plenty of restaurants in Japan and all very delicious from the small noodles and sushi bar to the most expensive place.

You actually do not have to stay in the full service hotel to be able to dine at the Michelin restaurant.  You can book the restaurant directly through the website and usually you have to pay a deposit for confirmation. (usually 50% deposit from the meal price per person).

Here is the link to the top 10 Michelin restaurant in Toyko and you can book directly.


https://theculturetrip.com/asia/japan/a … -in-tokyo/

Yea, I'm sure the majority of restaurants are wonderful. I'm just looking to do a nice dinner for my final night. Thanks for the link! I would love to dine at at least one Michelin restaurant wink

 

#18 10-4-2017 7:07 PM

SweetGrL397
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Re: *Tokyo - Must-See Sights and Must-Try Restaurants & Dishes?*

Sept922 wrote:

i find that you can get great food in Tokyo/Yokohama without worrying about the level like Michelin stars. There is so much good local food. But I am not a foodie so.... I just eat cuz I am hungry. I usually ate with the local working folks and left satisfied. Tokyo has a great burger scene. There are many great burger shops in town with some of the best I ever had..period.

In Tokyo itself it depends on the days too. Yoyogi park on a Sunday is just a damn cool place to be if the weather is nice. Many folks meet up on the weekends at Yoyogi station in their costumes for cosplay. harajuku seems to be loved by all the young girls to walk along Takeshita Dori for all the shops and the fashions. Nearby Omotesando is a beautiful stretch of road and at night is so cool. Many great bars and eateries in this area. Ebisu station is a great area for small places to eat. Many great shops and bars and a great place to spend an evening.

Of course Shibuya has all the party places and can't be missed if you ask me but I am a Shibuya clubber from the old days. By day it is a GREAT shopping zone and the 109 building across from the station is a mecca for many Japanese girls. The Tower records down the street is the single best record/music shop I have ever been to in life.

Shinjuku is a skyscraper zone with a huge shopping area also. If you want a great view for free, go to the Tokyo metropolitan government building. The Ueno area has many good museums and a small zoo also! But a must see is Ameya-Yokocho or better known as Ameyoko. It is an area of alleys full of shopping and snacks! You can munch on some goodies as you people watch many locals and check out the small little shops. Akihabara is near but overrated.

Shin Okubo has a large Korea town kinda area and is interesting to see the blend of cultures. Kawagoe is cool if you wanna see the old style like they use in Samurai shows. There is so much in Tokyo that after several years of living there I still couldn't do it all!

Very cool, thanks!

I'll be staying in Shinjuku at the beginning of my trip and then I'll be in Shibuya towards the end.

 

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