Here is a list of places we went and restaurants we enjoyed without breaking the bank. Tokyo is huge and one thing they don’t lack is restaurants, but often best to have an idea of where you want to go first. We were so thankful for all of our recommendations:
Where To Stay
We stayed a few nights in Hotel Cerulean Tower – a nice, business-y hotel but a few minutes walk from Shibuya station (and the famous crossing), which is VERY central.
|View from our room at Hotel Cerulean Tower|
Where To Eat
Possibly our favourite night in Japan altogether was this ‘Fish Shack’ style restaurant – ‘Uoshins’ – it’s opposite Nogizaka station, near Ropponghi, and offers fresh fish in a cool, relaxed setting – everyone eats sitting on crates.
|Really reasonable menu|
Kaiten sushi (conveyor belt sushi) is kind of considered low-rate in Japan, it’s a bit more pricey in Tokyo than somewhere like Kyoto but still nothing like UK prices. Each dish will cost you just over a pound..the two of us ate lunch in Heiroku Sushi near Harajuku for £10. They also more ‘western’ sushi such as salmon and avocado – my favourite…
|We made our eye huge and whitened and dewrinkled our skin, which is why we look about 16 years old!|
Tsukiji Fish Market is apparently going to be relocated now Tokyo has won the Olympics bid, but if you get a chance to go before it relocates, it is well worth it. It’s a hub of activity and there are good restaurants in there…did you know that Japan eats 20% of the world’s fish content? It’s actually a little scary…
If you love shopping for trinkets (or ‘tat’ as my husband refers to it) whilst seeing culturally beautiful buildings, then Sensoji Temple at Asakusa is a must. The Temple is surrounded by hundreds of little stalls selling magnets, Hello Kitty phone charms, postcards, food stalls etc. However, if you’re planning to do Kyoto on the same trip, this ‘tat’ can be bought much cheaper there.
Walk though Takeshita Dori in Harajuku to see all the stalls and goth shops (a bit like Camden and very touristy) and then cross over to Yoyogi Park – a place of serenity amongst the madness. On Sundays, loads of guys dressed as Elvis dance with their radios and you see some sights! Walk through the park to the Meiji Shrine, it’s really beautiful and if you’re lucky on a weekend, you might see a traditional wedding.
|Wedding at the Meiji Shrine|
Karaoke – we actually did karaoke in a tiny village in the Japanese Alps but there are loads of places in Tokyo – Ropponghi or Shinjuku are probably a good place to start. You can hire your own room (even for 2 of you) so no need to embarrass yourselves amongst strangers and most rooms come with telecom service for drinks and tambourines! Shidax looked impressive in Roppongi and apparently the one from ‘Lost in Translation’ is called ‘Karaoke Kan’.
Where To Shop
The only thing I wanted was STICKERS! We had a Japanese Tourguide for one day in Tokyo and she took me to ‘Loft’, possibly the best stationery store in the world. B Side Label is also a great sticker store in Harajuku.
|Post-it note heaven!|
And then my list wouldn’t be complete without Daiso – the 100 yen store in Harajuku! When I was there the exchange worked out at roughly 65p…you could buy pretty much everything – toiletries, stickers, Hello Kitty wallets, lampshades….need I go on? LOVED it…
We planned our whole honeymoon with Unique Japan Tours and it came with a personal Tourguide for one day in Tokyo – ours was so friendly and helpful and she planned the day according to what we wanted to see, do and how far we wanted to walk etc. You can book day tours here – I would highly recommend it if you don’t have loads of time and find it hard getting your bearings.
Tokyo Cheapo – a cheapo’s guide to doing Tokyo on the cheap (my kind of blog).
The Guardian’s Best Budget Restaurants Tokyo – this was how we found ‘Uoshins’.
That Food Cray – love this blog and all its recommendations. She highlights some great burger bars in Tokyo, too.