Traveling in Tokyo: My Fav Neighbourhoods
Well, hello there friends and family (and other blog visitors!) It’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted on the blog (almost over 2 years ago now!)
Despite the two-yearlong radio silence, today I’m sharing my most recent adventure: Tokyo, Japan. My lovely boyfriend and I spent two weeks in Tokyo last June. I shared a lot on Snapchat (yup, I still love Snapchat and prefer it to Instagram stories) but since snaps are fleeting, I figured I’d post about the trip on the blog. That way, I could relive all the wonderful experiences and hopefully inspire you to visit Tokyo and enjoy this one of a kind city for yourself one day, too.
This post will cover some of our favourite neighbourhoods and within each neighbourhood, what to see and do. Let’s go to the land of the rising sun!
Harajuku is known for being the hub for everything kawaii (cute) in the centre of Tokyo. Even if Harajuku is a tourist spot, and Takeshita street is slammed with tourist most of the day, I really enjoyed exploring the super cutesy shops, indulging in cream-filled crepes at the many crepe stands, and I do not regret spending 1500 yen (about $15 CAD) on a cloud of rainbow cotton candy (from Totti Candy Factory). Kiddy Land is also a must-visit for character shops and tons of souvenirs – or gifts for yourself!.
And of course, Harajuku is also home to the Meiji Shrine and Yoyogi Park. The shaded walk up to the shrine is peaceful, and a great retreat from the Tokyo sun. We visited Tokyo during the Iris season (May-June) and payed a visit the inner garden of Yoyogi Park to see the Iris garden, and we really enjoyed it.
We did venture past Takeshita street in Harajuku into the back alleys of Jingumae. If you’ve ever been to Montreal, Jingumae sort of feels like the Mile End/Plateau.
Some of our favourite spots were: Eggs ‘n Things for breakfast, Luke’s Lobster for lunch, and B-Side Label for the sweetest staff and the coolest, high quality stickers. We even found the coolest drinks served in a lightbulb #onlyinTokyo and had to grab one!
During two weeks in Tokyo, the bulk of our time was spent in Shibuya (especially since we had a great Airbnb only 2 train stations away). Shibuya is known for Shibuya crossing, the craziest intersection you’ll ever see (you’ve probably seen sped up video footage of the crossway in one movie or another).
Our favourite things to do in Shibuya were: have conveyor belt sushi at Sushi Genki and explore the 6 floors of Mega Don Quixote (what I’d describe as a Japanese version of Walmart/Target meets the dollar store). At Mega Don Quixote (we lovingly renamed it Mega Donkey – though I don’t think we’re the only ones) you will find everything from Japanese snacks, face masks, make up, adult toys, suitcases, to sake and groceries.
You also need to visit Daiso while in Japan. Daiso is Japan’s dollar store (100 yen store) but I only learned what Daiso was once back home in Canada. And, I have since become a little obsessed with watching Daiso haul videos on YouTube. Honestly, Daiso has beautiful, amazing everyday items found at dollar stores, only way cuter and better quality too.
Whether you love anime or can’t name any anime besides Sailor Moon, (like me!) you will have a freakin’ blast in Akihabara. Akihabara is full of new and old school technology (vintage Tamagotchi for my 90s ladies!) and anime shops, arcades and UFO catchers. An afternoon in Akihabara would suffice – the shops and arcades can become a little repetitive after awhile.
We spent a peaceful day exploring the neighbourhood of Yanaka. Though we didn’t travel outside of Tokyo, Yanaka felt like the traditional Japan you might expect outside of the capital – because of it’s zen energy, traditional architecture and beautiful thatched roofs. You can read about Yanaka on many other blogs and travel sites (specifically the shopping spot Yanaka Ginza), so I won’t go into too much detail. Except to say that I really enjoyed walking the neighbourhood and discovering the small side streets, and because of the zen, relaxed vibe in this neighbourhood, we had some special moments with some locals which we didn’t get to experience much in busy Harajuku or Shibuya.
That’s about it for this post, but I might come back in a few weeks or months with more on Tokyo!
I will also be visiting Rome, Florence and Cinque Terre this upcoming month so I will try to gather some fun info to share about that. Stay tuned <3 I hope you enjoyed reading about Tokyo. It was really one of my most favourite travel destinations and trips to date, and I hope to return sooner than later.
And if you’re considering visiting Japan, my vote is… do it!