Tokyo – What is the Best Way to Get to Know the City During a Short Stay?
Every year, millions of tourists visit Tokyo – the capital of Japan and one of the most populous cities in the world, attracting out-of-towners with its bustling infrastructure, vibrant culture, and spectacular skyline. For those with a bit more time on their hands, there are plenty of sightseeing opportunities to take in – but if you have only have a short stay in Tokyo, how do you make the most of the city in such a limited amount of time?
Visiting Tokyo tends to be an experience like no other. From taking in ancient temples and historic shrines to grabbing a bite at one of the city’s many street food stalls, there is something to do at every corner. Even so, a short-term visit can be particularly challenging as it allows only a limited amount of time to truly explore every nook and cranny of this amazing city. Here we’ll provide a brief guide to getting the most out of your stay in Tokyo so that you make the best of your travel.
Choose your Neighborhood
Before digging into what there is to explore in Tokyo, it is important to make sure that your accommodation is located in a neighborhood that fits your interests and budget. The city is divided into 23 special wards and is further subdivided into neighborhoods that are home to certain attractions or just general vibes.
With over one hundred distinct neighborhoods in Tokyo, tourists may find it difficult to decide where to stay. A great way to narrow down choices is to consider your interests. For those looking for a taste of traditional Japan, options like Asakusa, Ryogoku, and Ginza are perfect spots. Those who are looking for more eclectic vibes can try out Shinjuku, Shibuya, or Akihabara. Tourists who want to relax in nature after a long day exploring the craziness of Tokyo can check out Shinagawa ward or Kōtō ward.
Take a Food Tour
Food scenes in Tokyo are vibrant and well-developed and many restaurants boast unique menus. Even seasoned travelers may find it difficult to identify which spots are worth visiting. Experienced locals are able to yield insights far beyond what tourist guides offer – and if you’re only making a short trip to the city, finding a food tourshould be high on your list. Booking tours ahead of time saves time and helps you sample the best food that Tokyo has to offer.
The Tokyo 3-Hour Food & Cultural Tour – The Best of Izakaya from GetYourGuide is one such option that’s worth considering. This tour provides travelers with an opportunity to explore some of Tokyo’s tastiest restaurants, including those that specialize in Japanese street food and Izakaya cuisine. Participants take part in a guided tour through a few different food environments and gain insights from English-speaking tour guides while they sample food from participating restaurants.
If you are pressed for time and want an all-inclusive Tokyo experience during a short stay, then this activity offers an opportunity to explore the culture and food of Tokyo’s dimly lit alleys at night, get insights into its history, visit the iconic Sensoji temple and the Kappabashi kitchen town, and so much more.
Explore the Shopping Districts
The shopping districts in Tokyo are incredibly diverse and offer something for everyone – from high-end designer stores and specialty boutiques to large shopping centers and niche shops selling secondhand books or electronics. With neighborhoods like Harajuku, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Shinagawa and Ikebukuro clustered in close proximity, it is easy to spend a day or two hopping from one destination to the next and capture glimpses of urban life and different shop fronts.
One shopping favorite spot among tourists is Tokyo Station’s Yaesu Underground Shopping Mall, which houses a long line of stores selling items such as fashion clothing, flagships stores for popular Japanese brands like Muji and Uniqlo, as well as a souvenir shop selling limited edition products exclusive to his spot. Other top shopping destinations include Shibuya’s 109 Department Store, Takeshita Street (great for fans of Kawaii culture), and Roppongi Hills – one of the biggest commercial developments not just in Tokyo but in all of Japan.
Visit Taito City
Taito City – part of the special wards of Tokyo – is known as the birthplace of kawaii culture. With its pedestrian shopping arcades winding between temples and charming corners where visitors can go off the beaten path; Taito City offers tourists the unique chance to explore traditional Japanese culture with an alternative twist. Must-visit attractions inside this city include Ueno Park (the home of Sakura viewing in Tokyo) and Ameya Yokochō – a postwar market that is packed with daily necessities alongside its snack stalls serving up yakitori skewers and Osaka-style Takoyaki balls.
Kappabashi Street is yet another spot worth exploring as it is known as the kitchen district where restaurants across the city go for their kitchenware needs. Ameyoko – one of Tokyo’s best known street markets – is also located within Taito City and offers visitors everything from Japanese snacks and treats, seafood, souvenirs as well as secondhand clothing items.
Required Papers & Information
To visit Japan, tourists are required to present relevant documents such as a valid passport, necessary visas, return tickets or onward tickets (for visa free entry into Japan), details on your itinerary in Japan (including hotels or guest houses) as well as proof that you have sufficient funds available for your stay in Japan. More details on necessary documents can be found here.
Travelling in Tokyo can be outright intimidating due to its size but with some careful planning, you can make sure that your stay is both comfortable and worthwhile. Whether you plan on discovering traditional sites or vacationing like a local, Tokyo offers plenty of opportunities to make every minute count during your short stay. Be it trekking across Taito City’s shopping arcades or feasting at Izakaya bars through an organized tour – there is an abundance of diverse experiences that promise lasting memories that will outshine time limits placed on any trip!
Table of Contents