It’s practically impossible to get the full experience of Tokyo in just a day, but should you find yourself on a layover here or just passing through, you can absolutely make it worth your while! Here’s a quick guide on how you can spend a full day in Tokyo taking in the sights, sounds and flavors of this remarkable city.
There’s no better place to take in the 360-degree views than from the Tokyo Roppongi Hills Skydeck! You’ll get a dazzling view of the entire city with a concrete jungle as far as the eyes can see. Plus, you can spot the famous emoji: the Tokyo Tower!
Travel Tip: Arrive early to beat the crowds!
STEEL SPIDER & MOHRI GARDENS
After a breathtaking view of Tokyo from Roppongi Hills, check out the monumental steel spider that straddles high above walking pedestrians. Then, make your way to Mohri Gardens to leisurely walk around and take in the scenery.
Travel Tip: Don’t forget your bug spray! What's not pictured: me getting eaten alive by mosquitoes!
SUKIYAKI FOR LUNCH
Stop in to have a traditional Japanese lunch at one of the hundreds of amazing restaurants this city has to offer. You’ll soon learn that dining in Tokyo is an experience in and of itself! One of my favorite things to eat was Sukiyaki, a Japanese dish in which thinly sliced beef and vegetables are mixed and cooked slowly in a shallow iron pot. It is highly recommended to dip your meat and veggies in a bowl of raw egg for the authentic Sukiyaki flavor and texture, and although I was a bit nervous to try this, I’m so glad I did – it was so delicious!
Travel Tip: Have lunch at Kakiyasu and get the Sukiyaki lunch set.
Even if you’re just in Tokyo for the day, I highly recommend renting a Kimono and strolling around the city to get the full Japanese experience. I had so much fun learning about Kimonos in Japan and felt like a true local, getting my hair intricately made and wandering around Ginza wearing the summertime version made of cotton, known as a Yukata. There are many shops that rent out Kimonos to visitors who want to learn more about the Japanese culture!
Travel Tip: Stroll around the city in your Kimono and snap some photos for a memorable keepsake of your time in Japan!
SHOPPING IN GINZA
Explore the shopping scene in Tokyo! There’s something for everyone in this city and whether you’re looking for souvenirs to take home to your loved ones or you simply want to take in the experience of the hustle and bustle, Ginza is a great place to start. If you like to cook, stop in at Nihonbashi, a shop that sells Bonito fish in many forms, primarily shaved. Bonito fish is used widely in the Japanese culture, but most commonly, it is a main ingredient in miso soup.
Travel Tip: Buy some shaved Bonito fish to re-create the aromatic miso soup dish and share a bowl with someone back home!
SKY BUS TOUR
As the locals make their way home from work, end your day with an open air Sky Bus tour – it’s an incredible way to see the city! I recommend an evening tour so you can see Tokyo by day, catch sunset and also get a glimpse of the city lit up at night. It’s quite mesmerizing!
Travel Tip: Check the weather! But even if it happens to rain, don’t worry: the tour bus provides you with ponchos to help keep you dry!
DINNER IN AQUA CITY ODAIBA
Your open air Sky Bus tour will make a pit stop in Aqua City Odaiba so make sure you hop off and grab dinner somewhere delicious! There are a variety of restaurants to choose from. I had soba noodles, which are thin noodles made from buckwheat flour.
Travel Tip: Stop in at Takadaya and get a soba noodle set! There are a few different dinner sets to choose from, but I couldn’t resist the jumbo shrimp soba noodle set – it was so yummy and it was the perfect escape from the rain we encountered.
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I was invited to Tokyo by the Japan Tourism Board.
As always, all honest opinions are my own.