Many people dream of visiting Tokyo to revel in its culture and traditions from old times as well as to enjoy the pop culture and quirky fashions of recent years.
The city is split into 23 special wards, or districts, that all have their own appeal and attractions. Here are things not to miss out on during your trip to Japan’s capital.
Visit a maid café
Cafés with waitresses dressed as maids may sound like something for men only but in Japan it’s not like that – it’s all innocent and very normal for groups of girls to hang out in these eating delicious desserts as they’re all about having fun in a cute environment. The maids look just like characters from anime comics. Expect Polaroid pictures, spontaneous karaoke and over the top performances which they absolutely expect you to participle in. Maid cafes are truly unique and bizarre experiences but overall are extremely fun, so you have to check one out for yourself. Cameras are usually prohibited though so pay for a picture or learn secret photo snapping skills before you get there.
Walk across Shibuya Crossing
What’s so special about a pedestrian crossing? Well, Shibuya’s is the busiest in the world as thousands of people cross it each time from five directions. It’s lively and crowded at all hours but manages to come to life even more at night as the blazing neon boards of advertisements illuminate your path. Of course this intersection leads into the entertainment district of Shibuya itself where you will find many karaoke bars, nightclubs, shops and arcades.
Watch a sumo match
Japan’s national sport, sumo wrestling, is an ancient activity which is not to be missed. These wrestlers live in stables and have very strict diets and serious routines, but for a small donation and an early morning start, you can watch in fascination as they train. The important pre-match rituals normally last a lot longer than the bouts themselves, which can take only a matter of seconds to make a winner, so you won’t lose attention! Main tournaments are crammed with cheering spectators so book ahead.
Japan is still big on arcades and they are practically on every corner in Tokyo so it’s quite an exciting novelty to us foreigners. They house old school classic games, grabber machines and games that need you to ride a robotic horse, shoot a gun or bang a drum. It only cost 100 yen per turn, too. Here you’ll also find a number of different themed ‘purikura’ – Japanese photo booths – for a laugh and cheap memento. You dress up, strike a pose, add nearly-there English phrases and cute, colourful cartoons then print them off to keep forever. Harajuku is well known for being a haven of pop culture and out-there fashions and you can spend hours here simply people watching.
Created by Amy Franklin