22 Unique Things to do in Tokyo

Tokyo is known for its unique experiences, such as a medical themed restaurant where you can eat beef, shaped like a brain, inside a private jail cell. Or the cat cafes where petting felines and drinking coffee go hand in hand. The city is a mix of quirky attractions, rich culture and, of course, bucket list worthy experiences.

22 Bucket List Things to Do in Tokyo

 

Tokyo Sumo Stable

1. Watch Wrestling Practice at a Sumo Stable

You can’t fully understand the intensity of this sport unless you are up close and personal at a sumo wrestling practice to witness the panting, grunting and dripping sweat. The practices are not attractions created for tourists, they are serious and you need to show respect while you are there. Though there are several other stables to visit, at Hakkaku Sumo Stable you can spend the morning watching an intense Sumo wrestlers practice. Book a Sumo

Hakkaku | 1-16-1 Kamezawa, Sumida-ku, Tokyo, Japan 130-0014

Read > Watch Wrestling Practice at a Sumo Stable in Japan
Book a Tour > Watch a Morning Sumo Training
See > More Sumo Related Experiences

Baseball Game in Tokyo, Japan

 2. Attend a Baseball Game

The game of baseball isn’t just one of America’s favorite pastime, the Japanese are passionate about it too. They just do things a bit differently at the games, like waving umbrellas for home runs, snacking on edamame and having cheerleaders.

Though the Yomiuri Giants at the Tokyo Dome draw larger crowds, you can also see the Tokyo Swallows play at the outdoor Jingu Stadium.

Jingu Stadium | 3-1 Kasumigaokamachi, Shinjuku, Tokyo Prefecture | MAP
Tokyo Dome | Koraku 1-3-61, Bunkyo 112-0004, Tokyo Prefecture | MAP

Read > Attend a Baseball Game in Japan
Buy Tickets > Purchase Tickets to a Game

 

Shinjuku Golden Gai in Tokyo

3. Bar Hop in Golden Gai

Golden Gai is a neighborhood in the Shinjuku ward of Tokyo that squeezes in over 200 miniature bars into a network of six narrow alleys, made only for pedestrians. Spend the evening bar hopping in the section of town where most of the drinking holes only seat 8-12 people total.

Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo | MAP

Read > Drink in a Shinjuku Golden Gai Bar in Tokyo
Read > The 5 Best Bars in Shinjuku’s Golden Gai
Book a Tour > Kabukicho and Shinjuku Golden Gai Night Tour

 

Pachinko Parlor in Tokyo, Japan

4. Play a Game of Pachinko

Pachinko is a Japanese arcade game where the object is to fire balls that will then fall through a maze of metal pins. Try to capture as many balls as possible into the center hole. You won’t be able to miss Espace Pachinko Parlor, one of the most popular, with it’s flashing neon and clinking of the balls.

Espace Pachinko Parlor | 1-23-3 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku; 03-3208-1115 | MAP

Read > Play a Game of Pachinko in Japan
Book a Tour > Try the Original Japanese Entertainment in Tokyo

 

Calico Cat Cafe in Tokyo

5. Go to a Cat Cafe

Tokyo is filled with quirky things to do and going to a cat cafe ranks really high on that list. Calico Cat Cafe in Shinjuku gives you the opportunity to play with unique feline breeds while drinking a cup of coffee. So odd that it’s definitely worth a spot on your bucket list. If you prefer, you can also play with cute hedgehogs in Roppongi!

1-16-2 Kabukicho | 6F (entrance), Shinjuku, Tokyo | MAP

Read > Play With Felines at a Cat Cafe in Tokyo

 

Brain Shock at Alcatraz ER Themed Restaurant

6. Eat at a Themed Restaurant

At the Alcatraz ER themed restaurant, you can eat a plate of beef shaped like a brain on the floor of a jail cell while sipping cocktails out of a dummy’s head. If a gothic cathedral environment is more your thing, try Christon Cafe or opt for The Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku that takes dinner and a show to another level. There will be loud music, dancing and robots fighting, plus a little sushi to dine on if you should choose.

Alcatraz ER | 2-13-5 Dogenzaka | Harvest Bldg 2F, Shibuya, Tokyo | MAP
Christon Cafe | 8F Oriental Wave Building5−17−13 Shinjuku, Tokyo | MAP
Robot Restaurant | 1-7-1 Kabukicho | B2F, Shinjuku, Tokyo | MAP | Book on Voyagin

Read > Eat at a Themed Restaurant in Tokyo
Get Tickets > 15% Off the Robot Restaurant

Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, Japan

7. Walk Across Shibuya Crossing

This iconic Shibuya Crossing is well-known because it is one of the busiest intersections in the world. It is fun to watch and participate in the organized chaos that ensues when hundreds of people walk across the intersections at once. For a different perspective, watch the crossing from the 2nd-story window of the Starbucks on the North side. For an even more unique bucket list experience, walk Shibuya crossing in a kimono.

Shibuya Crossing | 21-6 Udagawacho, Shibuya, Tokyo | MAP

Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo , Japan

8. Attend a Tuna Auction

You will need to wake up really early for a chance to go to the famous tuna auction at Tsukiji Fish Market (folks start lining up before 4am). But, it will be worth getting an insiders view of the buyers checking the fish quality and bidding for their prize one. After, explore Tsukiji’s inner and outer market where you can watch them expertly cut the large tunas they just purchased.
{photo credit: randomwire}

Tsukiji Fish Market | 5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo, Tokyo | MAP

Read > Tsukiji Fish Market Tuna Auction: Worth it to Wake up at 3:45am?
Read > Pay a Visit to Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market
Book a Tour > Tsukiji Tuna Auction Tour With a Guide During the Night

 Bucket List: Go to Kabuki Theater in Tokyo, Japan

9. Attend a Kabuki Theater Show

Kabuki is a unique form of Japanese theater where they combine song, mime, dance, costume design and elaborate makeup that is typically performed solely by men. At Kabuki-za you can buy Single Act tickets just to get an introduction to the style of theater. {photo credit: lensonjapan}

Kabuki-za | 4-12-15 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo | MAP

Get Tickets > Kabuki Theater in Tokyo

 

Japanese Tea Ceremony at Happo-en

10. Participate in a Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony

Happo-en Japanese Garden sits in Shirokanedai district of Tokyo and is an exquisite example of natural beauty with its ancient bonsai, koi pond and blanket of cherry blossoms in the Springtime. Not only is it a beautiful representation of a Japanese garden, but you can schedule to participate in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony where you will be drinking Matcha in their wooden Muan tea house.

Happo-en | 1-1-1 Shirokanedai, Minato, Tokyo | MAP

Read > Participate in a Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony

 

Kill Bill Gonpachi Restaurant in Tokyo

11. Eat at the Kill Bill Inspiration Restaurant

Gonpachi restaurant, in the Roppongi district of Tokyo, is known as being the inspiration for the fight scene from the Kill Bill movie and it’s easy to spot the similarities. Not only can you enjoy the interior design, but you can also indulge in a bowl of Soba.

1-13-11 Nishi-Azabu, Minato, Tokyo | MAP

Read > Eat at Tokyo’s Kill Bill Inspiration Restaurant

 

Karaoke Tokyo

12. Sing Karaoke

Tokyo has plenty of fun (& sometimes weird) Karaoke bars where you can belt out a few tunes. One of the more well-known is Karaoke Kan, which was the location for Bill Murray’s singing session in the movie Lost in Translation. {photo credit: Leon Brocard}

Karaoke Kan | 25-6 Udagawa-chō, Shibuya-ku

Read > 10 of the Best Bars in Tokyo for Karaoke and Other Weird Stuff

 

Japanese Toilet

13. Use all the Buttons on a Japanese Toilet

Can a toilet really be bucket list worthy? In this case it can. A Japanese commode isn’t any ordinary potty, it’s like a spa for your private parts. Not only will your butt be warm with their seated heats, but they can also clean your derrière with a hot stream of water. Luckily, you can experience these toilets at many restaurants, hotels and public attractions. {photo credit: rob lee}

 

Bucket List:: Eat Chankonabe in Tokyo

14. Eat Chankonabe (Sumo Wrestlers Stew)

Chankonabe is the nutritious stew that sumo wrestlers eat daily as part of their bulking up diet. It is a hearty dish that is relatively healthy, low in fat, high in protein and filled with tons of veggies. There are many Chankonabe restaurants in Tokyo, conveniently located close to the sumo stables where the wrestlers practice and live. But, Yoshiba is the most unique because it is located in an old sumo stable with a sumo dohyo (ring) right in the center of the dining room.

Yoshiba | 2-14-5 Yokoami, Sumida-ku, Tokyo | MAP

Read More > Eat Chankonabe in Tokyo. Sumo Wrestler’s Stew.

 

Kimono Fitting in Tokyo, Japan

15. Do a Kimono Fitting

A kimono is a traditional Japanese garment that is typically worn by women on special occasions. There are few places to be fitted for a Kimono while traveling to Tokyo, but you can find a couple. My personal tour guide, Tomomi, offers private fittings in her home, whereas with Voyagin you will tour the streets of Asakusa wearing your kimono.

Read > Do a Kimono Fitting in Tokyo, Japan

 

Sushi making in Tokyo

16. Take a Sushi Making Class

If you are a sushi lover, what better thing to do in Tokyo than learn how to make it?  I got a personal sushi lesson with Tokyo Tours with Tomomi, where we first paid a visit to Tsukiji Fish Market to pick up some fresh tuna for our meal and went to her private home to assemble. Viator also offers a fabulous Sushi Making and Tsukiji Fish Market tour. The best part is when you are rewarded by getting to eat your efforts.

 

Tokyo Things to Do: Ramen Museum

17. Eat at the Ramen Museum

Travel a little under an hour out of town to enjoy the flavors of traditional ramen in this re-creation of Tokyo in the 60s. The Ramen Museum features narrow alleyways with a selection of ramen restaurants. Not only will you get a ramen education, but your belly will be full too.

Ramen Museum | 2-14-21 Shin-Yokohama, Kohoku-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa | MAP

 

Yakiniku in Tokyo, Japan

18. Eat at a Yakiniku Restaurant

This bucket list idea is for all the carnivores out there. At a Yakiniku (grilled meat) restaurant in Tokyo you will be barbecuing your choice of raw grub on your own table top grill. If you choose to have your dining experience at the highly rated Yakiniku Jumbo Shirogane, you will be indulging in A5 Kuroge Wagyu, the highest rank of Japanese beef.

Yakiniku Jumbo Shirogane | 3-1-1 Shirogane, Minato 108-0072, Tokyo | MAP

Read > Tokyo’s Tastiest Yakiniku

 

Bucket List: Buy a Japanese Knife in Tokyo

19. Buy a Japanese Knife

Japanese knives are known to be some of the best in the world due to there keen edges, quality of steel and made-by-hand techniques. Of course, being a chef myself, I could not leave Tokyo without purchasing one. Though I purchased mine at Masahisa, there are plenty of other reputable knife shops around town. You can try walking down Kappabashi Street, the kitchen district. Not only will you find plenty of knife shops, but you will also find every kitchen product imaginable, including plastic food samples used as window displays by many restaurants.

Masahisa | 4-13-7 Tsukiji Chuo-ku Tokyo 104-0045 Japan | MAP

Read > How and Where to Buy Knives in Tokyo

 

Annette White walking through Tokyo's Piss Alley

Things to do in Tokyo: Eat in Piss Alley

20. Eat in Piss Alley

Piss Alley, also known as Omoide Yokocho (Memory Lane), is best described as the restaurant version of Golden Gai. It’s a narrow alley way filled with quaint restaurants, and a few drinking holes, most with just a handful of seats. For the more adventurous eater, check out Asadachi, a name that translates to Morning Wood. They are known to serve bizarre things like grilled salamander, snake liquor, frog shashimi and raw pig testicles.

Piss Alley | Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo Prefecture | MAP

 

Vending Machine Tokyo, Japan

21. Buy something from a Vending machine

It is hard to walk a block in Tokyo without passing a half dozen vending machines. Though most sell beverages, there are others that vend weirder things like dog food, hair products, umbrellas and hamburgers.

Read > 18 Things You Can Buy From a Japanese Vending Machine

 

ooedo onsen monogatari hot springs in Tokyo

22. Relax at an Onsen

Ooedo Onsen Monogatari is an onsen (hot springs) theme park where you can soak in one of their relaxing baths, get your fortune told or have a foot massage. There’s plenty of entertainment on the premises to keep you occupied for at least an afternoon. {photo credit: tuija aalto}

Ooedo Onsen Monogatari | 2-57 Aomi, Koto, Tokyo | MAP

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Related

Captivating Chaos: Tokyo’s Robot Restaurant Show

Watch Wrestling Practice at a Sumo Stable in Japan

Visit Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market

Drink in a Shinjuku Golden Gai Bar in Tokyo

Play with Felines at a Cat Cafe in Tokyo

Eat at a Themed Restaurant in Tokyo

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