Tokyo is a city like no other in the world. Skyscrapers kiss the clouds above this densely populated city. The culture-rich capital is filled with must-see locations that attract millions of visitors to its streets. Tokyo, unlike southeast Asian travel hotspots such asThailand and Vietnam, is not on the cheap side. Therefore, it is often overlooked by backpackers and budget travelers. Of course, travelers looking for places see, things to do, and food to eat on the cheap can certainly do so! They will need to plan accordingly, however. A CityPals guide can help visitors find Tokyo’s great venues and hidden gems.
Over 28 million tourists visited Tokyo in 2017. It shattered the city’s previous high mark for tourism. The city continues to grow as a travel destination and there is plenty to see. From cool, ultra-hip districts to modern artsy areas, Tokyo is a brilliant city that will make travelers feel like they stepped into the future.
Step off the airplane, train, or ferry when arriving in Tokyo and travelers will feel like they have gone into future. Tokyo’s skyscrapers and technology make it feel light years ahead of other major cities. But Tokyo is still at one with its culture and past. Located in the center of Tokyo, Yanaka is a historical area brimming with culture. Yanaka has an atmosphere that is very different than other parts of the city, and it offers a more relaxing vibe than some of Tokyo’s busier districts.
Yanaka’s Old Town is historically famous and a CityPals guide can take travelers to the best parts of this culture-filled area. There are over 70 small private stores in Yanaka offering visitors the chance to buy something unique on their trip. For a true taste of Tokyo, Yanaka offers travelers slice of small, traditional Japanese neighborhoods in the middle of the capitol.
Japanese people love sports. Baseball, horse racing, sumo, rugby, and soccer are all major sports that attract locals to games. In fact, Japan has very high-level sports leagues and are seen as great places for professional athletes to ply their trade.
Puroresu or in English, pro wrestling, is one of Japan’s favorite sports. Imported to the country following World War II by the American military, pro wrestling has been a favorite sport of millions of Japanese people since its arrival. Throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, wrestling was huge in Japan attracting large live gates and millions of TV viewers. Since the early 2000s, it hasn’t been quite as big but it still has a massive following.
There are five major wrestling companies and dozens of independent promotions. Shows are run all over Tokyo and offer travelers the chance to see a unique side of Japan. If travelers cannot make it to a show, a CityPals guide can take them to New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Tokon Shop in Suidobashi to buy some souvenirs.
Design Festa Gallery
The Design Festa Gallery is “devoted to freedom of expression” and anyone can showcase their artwork in the gallery without censorship. Located in Harajuku amongst its backstreets and alleys, Design Festa Gallery offers visitors the chance to see something different than what is displayed in more mainstream museums and art galleries in Tokyo. The gallery has its own café, but there are plenty of great dining options nearby.
Harajuku is a colourful, buzzing area of the city and renowned for its fashion. Travelers will most likely see Japanese men and women dressed in cosplay and cool fashions. There are a variety of shops in Harajuku from upscale to cosplay. It is truly a unique neighborhood that is well worth exploring.
Yayoi Kusama Museum
The Yayoi Kusama Museum opened in 2018 following the success of artist Yayoi Kusama. She has been labelled the “Pop Art Queen”, and in recent years Kusama has been a sensation all over Japan. While the museum is not off the beaten path, and people have been clamoring for tickets since it opened and the Yayoi Kusama Museum is an example of the rising popularity and latest trend in Japanese art.
Inokashira Onshi Park
Travelers needing a break and breath of fresh air can stop off at the Inokashira Onshi Park. Situated in the Kichijoji neighborhood, Inokashira Onshi Park is one of the largest parks in all of Tokyo. It contains ponds, a zoo, and much more. During the spring, Inokashira Onshi Park is the perfect place to spot cherry blossoms.
In Japan it is common for people to explore the major parks to watch the cherry blossom bloom in spring. Across Tokyo, visitors can explore the cherry blossom festivals and get a great slice of Japanese culture.
Tokyo is an amazing city. Underneath the futuristic looking exterior, visitors can find culture, history, and wonderful places to explore off the beaten path. A CityPals guide can take travelers to Tokyo’s hidden gems and make a trip to the “Land of the Rising Sun” even more awakening.
Feel free to add suggestions and travel tips to fellow travelers in the comments section below.