What is the best way to celebrate a 30th birthday? A trip to Japan and no trip is complete without a stop in Tokyo and it was the best birthday ever!! Especially since it was Sakura (Cherry Blossom) season. Typically it only lasts from late March to Mid April.
Tokyo is the capital and the largest city in Japan, with over 13 million people! Tokyo is a fascinating city of skyscrapers, advertising boards and of course has the best food! I was in Tokyo for 4 full days and here is a guide to what to see and do by area! I also recommend staying in Shibuya or Shinjuku. Japan is a pricey country but there are ways to travel to Japan on a budget.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO BY AREA
Walk down the main Harajuku street to find cute clothing shops and amazing crepes.
Meiji Jingu Temple is right behind the Harajuku Station. Tip: Arrive before closing and have the place to yourself!
Many locals come to Yoyogi Park for picnics and a gorgeous place for Cherry Blossoms.
Meguro River has about 800 Cherry Blossoms planted along the river which is about 7.82 km in length.
Shibuya is known for the famous Shibuya Crossing, one of the busiest intersections in the world. It’s located right outside of Shibuya Station and in front of the Starbucks. I recommend sitting at the Starbucks to watch the beauty of the scramble (check out my video!)
Shinjuku Gyoen is a large garden located near Shinjuku Station and great for Cherry Blossom viewing. Admission fee is 200 yen.
All foreigners seem to visit the quirky Robot Restaurant/Show. I recommend skipping the meal and purchasing tickets for the show only. It’s an interesting experience. Purchase tickets with Viator.
If you’re a fan of Lost In Translation you will want to visit Park Hyatt Bar. Even if you haven’t seen the movie you’ll still want to go for the views.
Asakusa & Sumida
Sensoji Temple is the oldest temple in Asakusa. Also very crowded!
After visiting Sensoji Temple we walked to Tokyo Skytree. It was a nice walk since you will pass by the Sumida Park which also has Cherry Blossoms. Tokyo Skytree is the tallest structure in Japan. I did not make any reservations prior to visiting and there was only a 10 minute wait to go up (I may have been lucky that day).
Tokyo has a lot of parks for Cherry Blossoms, but Chidorigafuchi Park is one of the best. I did not get a chance to visit but will definitely go the next time I’m back!
Definitely make a visit to Tokyo Imperial Palace after visiting Chidorigafuchi Park.
Yokohama (less then an hour train ride)
Sankeien Garden was beautiful. I would recommend going if you have time but not easy to get to. Best to take a taxi from Yokohama station.
Chinatown located next to Yokohama Station
The main reason I wanted to visit Yokohama was to visit the Cup of Noodle Museum. You get a chance to make your own to take home with you! It was a neat experience! You may want to see if you can purchase tickets before visiting.
If interested, there’s also a museum called Raumen Museum.
Chuo/Ginza (great shopping)
Tsukiji Market for the best sushi you will ever have! Tsukiji Market is one of the world’s largest fish markets and scheduled to move to a new site in Toyosu in November 2016. If interested in seeing the auction you’ll need to show up before 4am to get tickets. I may have possibly done this if my hotel was much closer.. The market is full of stalls and you won’t go wrong picking any of them. The most popular option is Sushi Dai if you’re willing to wait. I recommend Sushi Zanmai! Walk around because you’ll find mochi filled strawberry too!
Roppongi Hills is a high rise building with an observation deck, museum, cafes and restaurants. For more information on hours and admission, visit Tokyo City View.
After your visit I would head over to Tokyo Tower since it’s nearby.
Odaiba is a large artificial island across the Rainbow Bridge from Tokyo with a beautiful view of Tokyo. Here you will also find Diver City Plaza which is a westernized shopping mall. I visited this area for Cafe de Miki which is a Hello Kitty Cafe.
If you have extra days, visit Nagano to see Snow Monkeys in a Hot Spring or a theme park!
Puroland (Sanrio Theme Park)
Here is a list of the 10 Top Free Things to do in Tokyo
A complete guide to 3 Days in Tokyo
Check out City Cookie’s guide to the best places to see cherry blossoms!
I hope this guide helps you plan your future trip to Tokyo!! Please share all your photos with me during your visit and reach out if you have any questions. I’m glad to help! =)