There’s no denying it, Japan is the new It destination for the summer. Open any of your social media accounts and we can bet there are at least two people who are currently in sushi town as we speak. Hey, we hear there are even talks of making Japan visa-free for Filipinos! And when that happens, you will need a guide of things to do and places to visit to make the most out of your trip. If you’re heading to Tokyo, one thing you need to understand is that it’s is so big, there are Japanese who have lived there all their lives who still don’t know half of the city. In the coming weeks, we’ll be breaking down a few of the districts with a list of places we have visited and loved.
Whether it’s your new Hong Kong (aka shopping haven), or you simply want to understand the big deal with cherry blossoms, check out our list of a few things you can do. First stop: Shinjuku.
1. Go up the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office
If you want a breathtaking 360 view of Tokyo sans the fees Tokyo Tower and Skytree will charge you, then climb up the Tokyo Metropolitan Government observatory instead because it’s free! Your wallet will be happy, and the quaint café in the building will keep your belly equally satisfied.
2. Geek out at the Samurai Museum
Nestled in Kabuchiko, Tokyo’s red light district, is a Samurai Museum that opened six months ago. Don’t be intimidated by the odd location, because if you’re a samurai geek this is the museum to visit. It is the only samurai museum in Tokyo and has English-speaking guides that can thoroughly explain to you the history of these Japanese warriors. You can even dress up as a samurai or a geisha and watch a demonstration of a samurai sword battle, inclusive of the entrance fee.
3. Visit a Cat Café
Love coffee (or tea) and cats? Check out either Cat Café Calico or Die Katze, for some chill bonding with your purry, furry friends.
4.Eat in Ehonno-kunino-Alice
Step into the world of Alice in Wonderland without having to go to a theme park. If it’s a unique dining experience you want, this is clearly the place for you. You don’t have to be a kid to appreciate the fantasy book-inspired interiors and creative presentations of the sumptuous meals from their menu. We’re sure the Queen of Hearts would def approve.
5. Read a book at Shinjuku-Gyoen
If you only have to time to visit one garden in Tokyo, make sure you go to the one voted most beautiful, the Shinjuku Garden. Its vast 58.3 hectares is adorned with over 10,000 trees, 1300 of which are cherry blossoms (head there from mid-March to early April if you want to see 50 shades of pink). The landscape, zen vibe, not to mention fresh air we don’t really get to enjoy here in Manila, is enough reason to visit the grounds with a good book and probably a picnic and a nap. Do know that there is an entrance fee, but it's totally worth it.
Photos by Bea Jocom, @adamrosen @mprs_, @ura_suzuka on Instagram