Tokyo can not ever get boring—it has a plethora of bucket list worthy things to do and attractions to visit. While I was in Japan’s top city, I ate beef that was creatively shaped like a brain, served to me inside of my private jail cell by women dressed in pink nurses’ outfits. I drank my coffee next to a dozen felines at a quirky cat café, confirming my preference for dogs. And I found out exactly what all the buttons on the Japanese toilet do (enjoying some outcomes much more than others).

There are not many places that would provide such peculiar and cool forms of entertainment, but Tokyo is a city of many colorful facets; a mix of avant-garde and traditional. It is a town where the illuminated skyscrapers cohabitate with historic temples, unusual anime shops and cherry blossom lined streets.

It is a cool destination where your itinerary can include attending a lively tuna auction hours before daybreak, nightlife that can include eating skewers of yakitori in the seedy Piss Alley or scrambling across one of the biggest intersections in the world with hundreds of others.

In other words Tokyo, Japan is freaking fabulous and here are the best things to do there.


Best Tokyo Bucket List: 50 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan’s Coolest City


1. Buy Some Vinyl at HMV Records

Tokyo is a paradise for Vinyl Lovers! They have more record shops than any other city in the world with new collections brought in every month. HMV Records is a huge store filled with Vinyl Records. We recommend you bring along plenty of cash because you will surely get lost amidst aisles of wonder records making you nostalgic and rekindling your passion for music and arts and if you want to improve your listening experience consider learning more about phono preamps, I hear that GRAHAM SLEE HIFI knows a lot about phono preamps.

This vast second-hand record shop has plenty of items and genres for music lovers. They also have a handful of cassettes with a special corner for them along with CDs.

Best Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan’s Coolest City


2. ✠Watch Wrestling Practice at a Sumo Stable

You can’t fully understand the intensity of the sumo wrestling sport unless you are up close and personal at an intense morning practice session to witness the panting, grunting and dripping sweat. The practices are not attractions created for tourists—the athletes are not putting on a show for you—they are in serious training and need to be shown respect while you are there. You can read about my experience here: Watch Wrestling Practice at a Sumo Stable in Japan.

Though there are over 40 training stables, most in the Ryogoku district, only a few accept visitors. The most common are Kasugano Beya, Takasago Beya and Musashigawa Beya. Make sure to call ahead to confirm that they will be having practice on the day you arrive! Or for an even easier option just book a Morning Sumo Training tour.

I went to Hakkaku Sumo Stable, which is a little bit trickier to get into without a translator. But, it was worth the effort because seeing this Japanese tradition was definitely one of the Top 10 things I did in Tokyo.

Book a Tour > More Sumo Related Experiences


3. ✠See a Professional Sumo Match

Embark on this adrenaline filled adventure by witnessing Japan’s natural sport in all its glory! Sumo is the world famous Japanese style wrestling match which began in ancient times as a ritual to entertain the Shinto deities. You can easily get tickets for each day of the 15-day tournament. I highly recommend the ringside seats which is the closest seating available to the wrestling ring with cushions on the floor. You’ll always be able to find a few seats even on the tournament day or get the ticket on sale well in advance!

Your can easily see upcoming tournaments and book tickets at Voyagin


4. ✠Make a Stop at Meiji Shrine

The historical significance of the Meiji Shrine cannot be overstated. The shrine was made for the first emperor of modern Japan – Emperor Meiji. Enter this austere and mystical place through a 40 foot high tori gate and find yourself surrounded by a 200-acre park with a 100,000 trees. The cleansing station has a communal water tank for purification of the hand and mouth before offering prayers.

You can also write your wishes and tie them up to the prayer wall. The Meiji Jingu Treasure House is at the northern end of the shrine where you will find several personal belongings of the Emperor as well as a beautiful Inner Garden with blooming flowers and a rustic well.

Best Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan's Coolest City


5. ✠Attend a Baseball Game

The game of baseball isn’t just one of America’s favorite pastime, the Japanese are passionate about it too. Things are just done a bit differently when you attend a baseball game in Japan, 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.

Buy Tickets > Purchase Tickets to a Game

Best Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan’s Coolest City


6. ✠Play an Arcade Game at Anata No Warehouse

By now you would have realized that Tokyo is a quirky city filled with wonders and oddities! The Anata no Warehouse is another addition to this wonderland which is a dystopian arcade that attracts both gamers and non-gamers alike!

It is constructed within a hold building of great historic value. The décor is highly creepy and impeccably realistic with heavy set doors carrying you to an entirely different realm. The walls have a grimy look with fake posters and moisture stains, stained glass, and eerie mannequins. You might have to muster up every ounce of courage to get through this warehouse! But don’t worry, there are hints of normalcies with gaming machines and wending machines scattered throughout the premise.


7. ✠Go to the Intermediatheque Museum

The Intermediatheque (IMT) Museum is a psychedelic world of its own. Located in the Kitte Marunouchi building near the Tokyo Station, you’ll find yourself lost amidst the ancient wonders and treasures left behind for us by extinct civilizations. From early steam engines to Egyptian mummies, this kaleidoscopic wonderland has everything preserved and on display. Get inspired by the tribal art or see your kids’ faces light up by the wildlife specimens and the 19th century raconteurs of flora and fauna. Allow yourself at least half a day to absorb the richness and literary brilliance of this place.


8. ✠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. It can be an addictive, yet fun thing to do in Tokyo!

Understanding the game of Pachinko can be tricky without lessons or guidance from someone who knows the in-and-outs. You can book the Original Japanese Entertainment Tour and you’ll get a half hour lesson along with playing time.

Tokyo Things to Do: Pachinko Parlor in Tokyo, Japan


9. ✠Spend the Night in the Hello Kitty Room

Go to Kitty Town and spend the night in the fun Hello Kitty Room at Keio Plaza Hotel. The room is decked out in the cats signature decor and you can even get yourself breakfast kitty shaped/stamped food.


10. ✠Try Batto, the ‘Art of Swordsmanship’

Exploring a new place can be a worthwhile experience if you indulge in the knowledge of the culture and heritage of its people, and understand and appreciate their influence and contribution to our world. Seeing a real katana used by the samurais of ancient and feudal Japan gave me goosebumps! Batto is an art very few have mastered, with careful and precise movements taught by the wizened men with vigilance and concentration etched on their faces. It’s artistic and truly beautiful. As a beginner you will the katana to chop a rolled up tatami mat.


11. ✠Walk Across Shibuya Crossing

This iconic Shibuya Crossing is on most visitors “things to do in Tokyo” itinerary because it is one of the busiest intersections in the world. It is a fun place to visit 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.

Book a Tour > Tokyo: Shibuya Walking Food Tour

Tokyo Things to Do: Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, Japan


12. ✠Unleash Your Inner Anime Fan!

Japan is the birthplace of anime and manga so while you’re there, make the most of it! If you’re an anime fan then there are so many shops that sell anime products like Nendoroid figures as well as themed cafes for you to explore. Even if you’re not a fan then it is still amazing to go and immerse yourself in the culture.


13. ✠Stroll Through Yoyogi Park

Taking a walk through Yoyogi Park is a grand experience on its own. You’ll be setting foot on the ground which represents the ancient facets of Japan, as it was once a site of military barracks, and even served as an Olympics Gymnasium in 1964. The park is divided in two parts by a wide road, one side of which is a dense forest area where people usually take their strolls and enjoy the natural beauty of the place, have picnics and barbeques. The latter has a stadium and an outdoor stage that hold exclusive events and food festivals.

Taking a walk through Yoyogi Park is a grand experience on its own. You’ll be setting foot on the ground which represents the ancient facets of Japan, as it was once a site of military barracks, and even served as an Olympics Gymnasium in 1964. The park is divided in two parts by a wide road, one side of which is a dense forest area where people usually take their strolls and enjoy the natural beauty of the place, have picnics and barbeques. The latter has a stadium and an outdoor stage that hold exclusive events and food festivals.


14. ✠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.

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

Get Tickets > Kabuki Theater in Tokyo

Bucket List: Go to Kabuki Theater in Tokyo, Japanlensonjapan

15. ✠Get a Photo of the Giant Godzilla Head

The Godzilla is thankfully not raising havoc on the streets of Tokyo anymore, but you can still see him peeking through the 8th floor of a hotel terrace at a busy street 40m below! The Godzilla Head is a popular attraction in Shinjuku with a giant 12m huge reptilian head with piercing eyes and sharp pointy teeth!

Roaring sounds and tremors are generated if you come at the right time on the ground floor. Enjoy the attraction up close or enjoy a cup of coffee with the magnificent view! Take pictures and enjoy the laser beam show the head gives off late at night.


16. ✠Learn About the History at Edo-Tokyo Museum

Edo is Tokyo’s old name, and the museum conserves the historical culture and traditions of the city. I felt as if I’m approaching a UFO when I was walking towards the building but then I learnt that the architecture was inspired by the old Tokyo warehouse raised on stilts. It has an ultramodern feel to it with a lot of character. During my 2 hours tour, I marveled at the handcrafted figurines with unique clothing and expressions, the massive cavern room, the replica of Nihonbashi Bridge, recreations of houses and transports of the ancient people, market areas and stage settings of theatrical performances. It will be your guide to understanding how Tokyo evolved to be one of the most influential cities of the world.


17. ✠Sing Karaoke

What to do in Tokyo for nightlife? Karaoke, of course. It is a big part of their culture and a huge attraction. 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.

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

Best Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan’s Coolest Cityphoto by Leon Brocard

18. ✠Get an Umbrella at SHU’s Umbrella Shop


19. ✠See the Tokyo Tower at Night

The Tokyo tower is the second tallest architectural wonder of Japan. Standing at a height of 1092 feet, the tower glimmers with lights and serves as one of the symbolic features of the city. It is a true marvel to see at the night time. The themes and illuminations change according to seasons and occasions. You can also go up to the Special Observation Deck and get a night time view of the city. It is a sight you’ll never forget!

Best Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan's Coolest City


20. ✠Use all the Buttons on a Japanese Toilet

Can a toilet really be that cool and worthy of a spot on your Tokyo things to do bucket list? 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}

Best Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan’s Coolest City


21. ✠Visit the Red & White Cats at Gotokuji Temple

The Gotokuji Temple is a place that comes with a highly engaging, legendary tale of the maneki neko – the beckoning cats. They are believed to bring good luck and are a symbolic figure of the temple. The visitors make offerings and prayers in front of thousands of red and white cat statues. The kitties are wearing a red collar with a hanging golden bell and a paw raised in the air to bring you good fortune! You’ll find cat art in the neighborhood leading up to the temple as well! This place is surely a treat for all the cat lovers out there.


22. ✠Do a Kimono Fitting

Wearing a kimono is a large part of the Japanese culture. 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 K2mono 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.

Book Tour > Walk the Streets of Asakusa in a Kimono
Book Tour > Wear a Kimono at a traditional house in the Bonsai Museum
Read > Do a Kimono Fitting in Tokyo, Japan

Best Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan’s Coolest City: Do a Kimono Fitting


23. ✠Visit the Imperial Palace

The Imperial Palace is the place of residence of Japan’s Imperial family. It has a beautiful park area surrounded by grand stone walls and moats in the center of Tokyo. The main Palace area is open only on the New Year’s Greeting Event on 2nd Jan and the Emperor’s Birthday on 23rd Dec. but the palace grounds are open for public throughout the year. The rivers are surrounded by magnificent Sakura trees. You can enjoy boat rides, or the Marunouchi Area with skyscrapers and great shops or take a stroll through the Kitanomaru Park with beautiful trees and spots for picnic.


24. ✠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 bought 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

Related > How and Where to Buy Knives in Tokyo

Best Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan’s Coolest City: Buy a Japanese Knife in Tokyo


25. ✠Walk Across the Rainbow Bridge

The iconic Rainbow Bridge of Japan has a pedestrian pathway on both its north and south ends. It is free to take a walk across the bridge and takes about 25 minutes on foot but you can also go on a bicycle. Take the elevator up the bridge span and get your walking shoes on! The north route has breathtaking views of the Tokyo Tower along with stunning skyscrapers around Roppongi and Toranomon, Toyosu and the Shiodome area. The south route offers views of Odaiba as well as the neighboring islands and the Shinagawa area. Odaiba looks stunning at sunset so you can start with the south route and enjoy the city lights at night on the return route from north.


26. ✠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

Best Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan’s Coolest City


27. ✠Go to Tokyo Disneyland

Welcome to the happiest place in the world – Disneyland Tokyo edition! We highly recommend you spend at least 2 days here to enjoy all the wonderful attractions and food. There are several attractions unique to Tokyo Disneyland like Dream Lights with a magical nighttime light parade, Minnie oh! Minnie! – a life show with Latin music and dancers that we thoroughly enjoyed, the interactive Monster’s Inc. Ride & Go Seek and Western River Railroad to name a few.

You can splurge a little by staying at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel which is at a short walk from the theme park with many perks, so if budget is not an issue I highly recommend staying within the property and enjoy the full Disneyland experience.


28. ✠Go to Yasukuni Shrine

The Yasukuni Shrine is the most interesting and controversial place in Japan. Founded in 1869, this place is said to hold 2.5 million shrines! It was made in honor of the men who lost their lives in the Boshin War and has expanded to include war martyrs since then.

The entrance of the shrine is made from a massive gray metal Daicihi Torii standing at a height of 72 feet and giving it an eerie feel. The arch than gets smaller with Daini Torii which is the second shrine gate, and the Shinmon gate which leads into the area of shrine. The Chumon Torrii then leads into the main hall. Photography isn’t allowed but there is a lot to take in with rich cultural significance and a war museum.


29. ✠Visit the Meguro Parasitological Museum

The Meguro Parasitological Museum is one of a kind, and the only one in existence that displays the weirdly fascinating collection from the world of parasites! It is a unique experience that you’ll carry with you all your life, although if parasites make you feel squeamish, we recommend you look away or forever have nightmares!

The skin crawling museum has parasites from all facet of life at display with hundreds of jars. These endless jars of horrors come with stories of their own with parasites collected from nipples and what not! Even though it sounds gross, we ensure that you will thoroughly enjoy its bizarreness and it will be top on your places to visit!


30. ✠Go to a Maid Cafe

Maid cafés are all the buzz in Japan! They are fun cosplay restaurants where waitresses are dressed up as working maids to serve the customers as a master in a private home rather than as a café patron. The key word is “iyashi” that translates into “to be soothed”.

Your quintessential Victorian maid fantasy will come to life with spa like services, scrumptious food along with relaxing classical music while you are enveloped by verdurous greenery! There are numerous maid cafés, each offering a unique service with the cutest undertones like chanting “moe moe kyun” to make your drinks taste better or writing over your food with ketchup! It is definitely something to look out for.

If you don’t want to navigate a maid cafe on your own, you can book one of these tours with Voyagin: Akihabara Tour with Your Own Personal Maid! or Enjoy Maid Cafe Maidreamin in Akihabara.


31. ✠Go to a Cat Cafe

Tokyo is filled with weird things to do and going to a cat cafe ranks really high on that list. Calico Cat Cafe in Shinjuku is an attraction that 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 things to do in Tokyo bucket list itinerary. If you prefer, you can also play with cute hedgehogs in Roppongi!

Related > Play With Felines at a Cat Cafe in Tokyo

Best Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan’s Coolest City: Visit a Cat Cafe


32. ✠Dine in a Jail Cell

Most people would avoid (at all costs) dining in a jail cell, but Alcatraz ER will give you an offbeat dining experience of a lifetime. This restaurant is designed as a jail and each cell or prison represents a dining area for a group. Staff that are well dressed in nurse uniforms tend to the call of the bang of a metal rod against the cells bars.

Brave diners (like myself!) will nosh on things like blue curry served in a urine tin or drink cocktails out of dummy’s head. Can you ever imagine eating sausage in the shape of bowel movement; well this place has more quirkiness to offer than you can imagine. A must have nightlife experience for your Tokyo itinerary even you prefer not to visit again.

Alcatraz ER | 2-13-5 Dogenzaka | Harvest Bldg 2F, Shibuya, Tokyo | MAP

Related > Eat at a Themed Restaurant in Tokyo

Best Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan’s Coolest City: Annette White at Alcatraz ER Themed Restaurant


33. ✠Eat Dinner with Robots

From the moment you enter The Robot Restaurant lounge to the time you depart, you will feel like you are diving into the colors of neon that bounce off the mirrors. There are dramatic fights between bikini clad girls riding atop robots, the sound of the cast playing the charismatic drums and visitors are given a glow-stick to cheer during all the action.

This place is more dedicated to a flashy show than on food, but you can order a sushi bento box or caramel popcorn to dine on while you are entertained. Plus, flowing beer and a few drinks are available, but the core attraction is the captivating chaos of the show.

Though you can buy tickets at the door for around $80, you can get them at a discount by booking in advanced at Voyagin.


34. ✠Indulge in a Massive Matcha Dessert

Offbeat food in Tokyo is not limited to main meals, but extends to sweet desserts too, and some of the most popular is made from matcha, a green tea.

Desserts like ice-cream, mousse, cream, jelly and many more variations are available. But, I say if you are going to do it go big! I ordered this this quadruple layered matcha gateaux chocolate parfait that was topped with an entire piece of cake!

Yes, I ate the whole thing! No shame.

The most popular hot spots serving these delectable and divine tasting desserts are Kinozen, Marunouchi Café, Nana’s Green Tea (that’s where I ate) and many more.

Best Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan’s Coolest City:


35. ✠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.

Book a Tour > Tsukiji Tuna Auction Tour With a Guide During the Night
Book Tour > Explore Tsukiji Fish Market and Make Sushi and Sashimi

Related > Tsukiji Fish Market Tuna Auction: Worth it to Wake up at 3:45am?
Related > Pay a Visit to Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market

Best Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan’s Coolest City: Go to the Tuna Auction at Tsukiji Fish Market {photo: randomwire}

36. ✠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.

Read > Participate in a Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony
Book Tour > Experience a tea ceremony or wearing kimono at Bonsai Museum

Best Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan’s Coolest City: Participate at the Japanese Tea Ceremony at Happo-en





37. ✠Bar Hop in Golden Gai

What’s a trip to Tokyo without a little nightlife? 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. Enjoy the unique Japanese nightlife by bar hopping in the section of town where most of the drinking holes only seat 8-12 people total. Ready to go? Get the location here.

Book a Tour > Kabukicho and Shinjuku Golden Gai Night Tour
Related >Shinjuku Nightlife: A Guide to Tokyo’s Best Golden Gai Bars
Related > The 5 Best Bars in Shinjuku’s Golden Gai

Best Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan’s Coolest City


38. ✠Learn to Make Classic Japanese Ramen at Chagohan


39. ✠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.

Related > Eat at Tokyo’s Kill Bill Inspiration Restaurant

Best Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan’s Coolest City: Eat at the Kill Bill Gonpachi Restaurant in Tokyo


40. ✠Make Your Own Matcha at the Urasando Garden Mini-Mall

The Urasando Garden is a collection of shops within a traditional Japanese–style house giving you the ultimate kick of nostalgia as soon as you enter. It gets its name owing to its unique location at the back street of Omotesando, hence the name Urasando meaning “ura” – back and “omote” – front.

There are many fun things to do and shops to explore but what I enjoyed the most was making my own matcha. We had to choose our own cup and blend our own matcha alongside matcha and houjicha-flavored chocolate and cream filled breads! Everything is delicious here and will surely satiate your sweet tooth.


41. ✠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

Book Tour > Chanko-nabe with Robot Restaurant
Book Tour > Duel with Sumo Wrestlers and Eat Chankonabe in Asakusa

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

Best Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan’s Coolest City: Eat Chankonabe in Tokyo


42. ✠Drink a Cat Coffee at Oshiage Nyanko

Are you a cat person who loves coffee? This quaint little café boasts stuff dreams are made of! Tucked away in a tiny pocket-sized treasure cove, this hidden gem is located near the Tokyo sky tree. You will be amazed at the wonderful 3D latte art of “Oshiage Nyanko”. Although the café isn’t that prominent, it is so famous that you can easily find it.

The delightful drink will warm your heart and the wonderful 3D cat latte art is full of fun foamy goodness. It is hand crafted with love to give you a visually pleasing beverage with flavorful richness in every sip!


43. ✠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. Afterwards you can wash it all down with sake by booking a sake tasting.

Best Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan’s Coolest City


44. ✠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 fun 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

Best Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan’s Coolest City: Ramen Museum


45. ✠Eat at a Yakiniku Restaurant

This bucket list attraction 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

Related > Tokyo’s Tastiest Yakiniku

Best Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan’s Coolest City


46. ✠Eat Grilled Salamander in Piss Alley

Piss Alley, also known as Omoide Yokocho (or Memory Lane), is best described as the restaurant version of Golden Gai, a section that squeezes in over 200 miniature bars into a network of six narrow alleys. Piss Alley is a small area filled with quaint yakitori restaurants, and a few drinking holes, most with just a handful of seats.

If you are an adventurous eater head over to Asadachi, a name that translates to Morning Wood, where you will get the privilege of tasting Grilled Salamander.

Yes! Salamander!

Maybe not the best food in the world, but visitors who love to challenge their eating habits visit this restaurant for the most bizarre meal. Here you can also try pig testicles, frog shasimi, raw pig testicles and snake liquor. Yum!

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

Best Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan’s Coolest City: Annette White walking through Tokyo's Piss Alley


47. ✠Get Your Meal From a Vending Machine

You heard right — eat a meal from a vending machine! You can barely walk a block in Tokyo without passing by a half dozen vending machines

Though most are filled with an array of beverages, many will have food products that can easily make a meal. The list includes special items like flying fish soup, eggs, hot dogs, hamburgers, sushi, ramen and so on. My afternoon lunch of warm corn soup was surprisingly tasty!

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

Best Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan’s Coolest City: Annette White eating from a vending machine in Japan

Best Tokyo Bucket List: 44 Top Things To Do, Places to Visit and Attractions in Japan’s Coolest City


48. ✠Go to an Owl Café

Oh, what a hoot! Ever thought of having an eye staring contest with an owl? Here in Tokyo, everything is possible! One minute you are strolling through parks the next you have an owl named Peanut perched on your arm!

This cutting-edge café is always packed with customers, and you need to be very careful around the majestic owls. No flash photography or sudden movements allowed. You can spend an hour in the café with over 20 owls at a time perched on the bars each with their own unique names and personalities. I slowly approached an owl and tentatively avoiding its sharp beak, caressed its soft fur and we instantly bonded! Make new friends and take pictures, you will not get to experience this anywhere else in the world!


49. ✠Stay in a Capsule Hotel

These pint-sized pods have become popular for those that want something trendy, easy and economical. There are several all around Tokyo, but one of the top ones is Capsule Net Omotenashi.


50. ✠Sleep in a Ryokan

For a unique cultural experience stay at a ryokan, an old-school Japanese inn typically with tatami-matted rooms, low tables, and communal baths. Ryokan Sawanoya will give you this traditional feeling or opt for the updated Andon Ryokan.

Annette White in a Kimono having tea in a traditional ryokan


More Hotel Options:

With so many wards in Tokyo, choosing a hotel location can be mind-boggling. But, if you want to be where the action is, Shinjuku or Shibuya may be the best district to stay for your first visit; both are conveniently located with easy access to shop-ping, restaurants, nightlife, and public transport. Plus, they look like the Tokyo you typically see on television with bustling streets, towering skyscrapers, and flashy neon lights. In Shinjuku the JR Kyushu Hotel Blossom is just a three-minute walk from the south exit of Shinjuku station. For a more budget-friendly gem try Tokyu Stay that has locations throughout the city including Shinjuku and Shibuya.

If you want to venture to other wards, the Tokyo Station Hotel is conveniently located in the heart of the city and right above the Tokyo JR station.If you want to avoid the bustle of the city, head off the beaten path to the original boutique hotel, Claska.

Essential Tips for Visiting Tokyo

Getting There: Narita and Haneda International Airport are both major hubs but most international flights will land at Narita Airport. You can easily check for the best fare deals at Skyscanner, which also has the option to choose ‘cheapest month’ as the departure to find the lowest priced dates to fly to your destination. Although Haneda International Airport is located closer to central Tokyo, there are fewer transportation options from the airport to central Tokyo. There are plenty of public transportation options from Narita International Airport to the city center. From Narita International Airport, you can take the a taxi, bus, the JR Narita Express, or the Keisei Skyliner. From Haneda International Airport, you can take a Keikyu Taxi, the Keikyu Limousine Bus, the Keikyu Line and JR Yamanote Line, or the Tokyo Monorail and JR Yamanote Line.

Where to Stay in Tokyo: It’s best to stay near the city center, public transportation or the area that you will be spending the most time in. The Daiwa Roynet Hotel Shimbashi (moderate) or Act Hotel Roppongi (moderate) are great choices in the Minato Ward district. For a less expensive option, try the Book and Bed Tokyo Asakusa, a unique hostel experience. Or try the ICI Hotel Kanda by Relief if you’re looking for a less expensive, traditional hotel. For a hotel with a little more extravagance, book a room at the Prince Park Tower Tokyo, or the Hilton Tokyo Hotel. Or search some great deals on hotels of your choice at Booking.com. If you’re looking for more of a home atmosphere (or are traveling with a group of people), head over to Airbnb that has houses, apartments and even just a room for rent in every price range.

Getting Around: Driving in Tokyo can be a bit of a challenge and parking fees can be expensive, but if you choose to rent a car, RentalCars.com has great deals. If you are not renting a car, there are plenty of options. Taxis are available all over the city. Although Uber is available in Tokyo, it is not commonly used. Download the JapanTaxi app prior to your trip to hail a taxi right from your device. Tokyo also has a great subway and train system that is easy to use. Be sure to download Hyperdia, an app that helps you navigate Tokyo’s subway and train system. It is also available in English. Additionally, most of the top attractions can be accessed with the 24-hour Hop-On Hop-Off Bus.

City Transportation Passes: The Tokyo Free Kippu, or Tokyo Tour Ticket, is an all-in-one transit card offering rides on multiple forms of transportation such as subway lines, JR trains in the central Tokyo area, as well as buses and streetcars operated by Toei, for one fee. A day pass costs 1590, however, it is more cost effective to purchase regular trip tickets or a prepaid subway SUICA travel card, which you can get at a kiosk at most subway stations.

Best Tours in Tokyo: You can find some of the top tours at Get Your Guide or Viator, and here are some of the top ones:

Insurance: It’s always a good idea to travel fully insured so you are protected in case of trip cancellations or medical emergencies. You can check out pricing at Travelex Insurance.

Universal Adapter: Your American plugged equipment will need an adapter. I use the Celtic Universal Adapter, which has brought me around the world with no problems.


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