Wednesday, October 22, 2014

10 Must-Dos in Tokyo

Hey guys, Kate here, and today I’m talking about my favourite city in the world: Tokyo!

I was lucky enough to travel to Tokyo three times back when I was modeling. Leah was able to come with my on my last visit, so we decided to put together our top list of must-dos in the most electric, cutest, vibrant city in the world!

1. Take a dip in a traditional onsen. There’s nothing like getting hot, sweaty, and naked with a bunch of strangers, eh? In all seriousness, taking in a traditional Japanese hot spring is a must-do when you’re in Tokyo. Leah and I found a little hole-in-the-wall hot spring in Asakusa, an adorable section of Tokyo filled with food vendors, unique souvenirs, and shrines.

2. Say hello to red pandas, polar bears, and lions at Ueno Zoo. This was the one place I had to hit up every single time I went to Tokyo! Ueno Zoo is a massive, gorgeous zoo that is easy to get to, not too pricey, and so much fun! Give yourself lots of time because it takes a whole day to explore.

3. Get lost in the Electric City. Akihabara is a must-do in Tokyo for it’s chaotic, thrilling atmosphere. It’s called Electric City because it houses some of the largest and high-tech electronic stores in the world. You’ll be surrounded by neon lights, rushing people, and the occasional woman dressed up in a French maid outfit, advertising one of Japan’s infamous maid cafes. Plus, if you’re an anime or manga fan, Akihabara is the place for you! We spent hours gazing at the floors upon floors of manga stores and their merchandise. We came home with a suitcase full of Kingdom Hearts merch.

Shop ‘til you drop in Harajuku. This narrow alley is chock-full of shops, restaurants, and…other people. If you don’t mind riding the wave of crazy shoppers—ranging from beautiful lolitas to screaming shopkeepers—you’ll find some of the cutest fashions you’ll ever see, the best crepes you’ll ever taste, and the dollar store of all dollar stores: a five-level 100 Yen store. Plus, Harajuku is close to the other shopping utopias: Shibuya and Omotesandō, home of the giant toy store, Kiddyland.

5. Catch ‘em all at the Pokémon Center. If you’re a Pokémon fan, then there’s no way to skip the coolest gift shop of all time. Pretend you’re a Pokémon master and protect the world from devastation by purchasing clothes, stuffies, games, and absolutely anything else you could imagine at this massive store. Meowth, that’s right!

6. Blow your mind at the National Museum of Nature and Science. Just a few blocks away from the Ueno Zoo is the most incredible museum I have ever been to in my life—and I’ve been to a lot of neat museums. The National Museum of Nature and Science takes your breath away with their dinosaur skeletons, taxidermy exhibit on endangered species, and their evolution of life displays. Whatever your interests, this museum will have something on it.

7. Watch the cherry blossoms rain in Yoyogi Park. Leah and I spent hours upon hours sitting in Yoyogi park, people-watching and editing our novel. If you go in spring, you’ll be lucky enough to see a forest of cherry blossom trees, the ground pink from fallen blossoms. Yoyogi Park is also home to Meiji Jingu, a gorgeous shrine where you can write wishes on the wall or offer a prayer. You may even be lucky enough to witness a traditional Japanese wedding! 

8. Have a picnic at the Tokyo Imperial Palace. Stop by your friendly neighbourhood convenience store (AMPM was our favourite), buy yourself some rice balls, a Calpris soft drink, and some green tea ice cream, and head to the spanning gardens of the Tokyo Imperial Palace for the perfect picnic.

9. Say “Konnichiwa” to the most stylish Mickey and Minnie you’ll ever see at Tokyo Disney. I am of the opinion that if you have the opportunity to go to a Disney park, you go to that Disney park—and Tokyo Disney does not let down. Disney Sea is unique to Tokyo, filled with rides and architecture you would not see in America. Tokyo Disneyland however, has just the same magic of the original…except you’ll have a way cooler selection of Mickey ears to chose from, and you’ll most likely see more than a few Japanese woman hobbling around in four-inch high heels.

10. Ride the massive Ferris wheel at Pallete Town.
Daikanransha is a 115 metre tall Ferris wheel on Odaiba—an artificially made island full of attractions. The massive Ferris wheel is both exhilarating and terrifying, and if you go on a clear day, you can see Mt. Fuji! Pallete Town also boasts other all-star attractions such as Venus Fort, a Venice-themed shopping mall, another shopping centre called Sun Walk which features tons of pet stores, and the live music venue, Zepp Tokyo.

Which one of these would top your to-do list in Tokyo?

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