Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, is a very common tourist destination. What could you do if you are there for 3 days? Well.. Here’s what I did in my 3 days in Tokyo.
Day 1: Tsujiki Market, Ginza, Tokyo Imperial Palace, Japanese Tea Ceremony and Asakusa
The first thing I wanted to do in Japan is to eat the freshest sushi I could get my hands on so the first destination on my list is Tsukiji Market! Out of the many sushi places in the market, I went with Sushi Zanmai’s Main Branch.
You can also find the same restaurant in other places too as this is a chain restaurant. But I heard that this one’s the best out of them all.. Not so sure why though since I did not try the other branches. In fact, in Tsukiji alone, there are 3 Sushi Zan Mais. If the queue at the main one isn’t too long, I would recommend for you to just wait in line because it was really, really, really very good!
I ordered one salmon (98 JPY), one tuna (98 JPY), one flounder’s fin (198 JPY), one sea eel (198 JPY) and one salmon roe (298 JPY). I think it was the best sushi in my life!! I would definitely recommend the sea eel and the salmon roe sushi!
TIP: get to Tsukiji as early as you can! I went to the market twice on this trip (yes, I loved their sushi that much!) and I went at two different timings: 9AM and 10.30AM, boy that 1.5 hours made so much difference. The crowd queueing in front of Sushi Zanmai was about triple the length at 10.30AM.
Tsukiji is also filled with other types of food besides sushi and I was so tempted to try them all but my stomach was too full after my extremely satisfying sushi breakfast. However.. I could not help but buy a fresh Umi (Sea Urchin) in the market as dessert after walking by a few stores selling them. The Umi was so fresh and sweet, you should definitely try it if you are in Tsujiki! (Beware, not everyone likes Umi, get a small one and share it with some friends if you have never eaten it before)
We decided to take a nice stroll after filling our stomachs in Tsukiji to the Imperial Palace through Ginza. Ginza is an expensive area in Tokyo known for their department stores. It was nice to stroll through Ginza but it sure was not very nice to my wallet so I didn’t do much there but look around. Tip: Go to the department store basement floor to find a huge food area! If you want cheap food, go after 7PM and you’ll find some food going on discount.
The next stop is Tokyo Imperial Palace! I didn’t actually get to go in to the palace though because I did not make a reservation. So I went to the East Garden part of the palace instead. It’s basically a park in the town area. A nice place to escape from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. It’s also free from entrance fees which was great. However I would recommend to just make a reservation to actually see the palace grounds here as there isn’t much to see in the East Garden alone.
After strolling in the East Garden, I went for the cheapest Japanese Tea Ceremony I could find online. I wanted to experience a tea ceremony without the need to pay thousand(s) of yen and I found a good place to do it: Kyoto-Kan! It’s very near Tokyo station so you can go there after or before you visit the Imperial Palace. It cost only 500 JPY per person and you get a cup of green tea with small snacks. You also get to learn how to stir the tea if you want to! The thing is, it’s a rather casual tea ceremony on chairs instead of on the tatami. It’s great for those on a budget but if you are looking for a more formal experience, look through this list to find a more suitable place for you!
The last place I went for the day was Asakusa Area. Asakusa is known to be one of the more “traditional” areas in Tokyo so go to Asakusa if you want to see a more traditional side of Tokyo. Walk through the famous Nakamise Shopping Street and find Senso-ji temple at the end of the street.
Day 2: Shinjuku, Omotesando, Harajuku, Shibuya and Tsukishima Monja Street
I spent most of my second day in the famous Western side of Tokyo: Shinjuku Shibuya Harajuku area. These areas are the place to shop in Tokyo although I went there just to sightsee (read: save money) and eat haha!
Shibuya is known for their “busiest crossing” so I went there to specially take a photo at the crossing. It’s a crazy 5 way crossing that turns green all at the same time so you can walk in any direction you want! You’ll find this crossing near the subway station. If you want to take a selfie, take it quick because it turns red rather quickly. You can also find the Hachiko Statue near Shibuya station at the “Hachiko Exit” if you want too 🙂
I had lunch at Sobakiri Miyota near Omotesando which is a quick walk from Harajuku area. This place is know for their Soba so do get their soba. The prices were pretty reasonable, around 850 JPY for a dish with rice and soba! I was definitely happy with the place. My friend even said that it’s the best soba he has ever had in Japan. I got the duck rice (small) with cold soba, it was pretty good except that they gave too little duck meat. Try out the katsu-don with soba. It looked better!
The famous street in Harajuku is Takeshita-dori. On weekends, you’ll find hipster looking people whoa re dressed up as their favourite anime characters. Try out the harajuku crepes too when you are there. There are several famous crepe stores there but I went with Marion Crepes in the end.. for no particular reason.
Oh when you go to Harajuku, you can also visit the Meiji Shrine. It’s another place that you can visit to escape from the tall buildings in Tokyo. It’s pretty huge so if you want to take your time to stroll inside the park and thoroughly see the shrine, please budget enough time 🙂
After a good day in the city, I went to meet an old friend who was also in Japan for business. We met with a couple of other people and we went to a street near Tsukishima station that is famous for Monja! Monja is a type of Japanese pancake. It is similar to Okonomiyaki but it is the specialty of the Kantō region and is made with a more liquid dough than Okonomiyaki. This place was definitely less touristy than the other places I went to in Tokyo so do try it out when you are there.
If you still have some space for dessert, try to find the Melon-pan store in the Monja street. If you’re lucky, you can get it when its straight out of the oven. Oh and in case you’re thinking than Melon-pan tastes like Melon, you’re in for a shock as it does not. It’s basically milk bread that is shaped like a melon.
Day 3: Breakfast at Tsujiki, Akihabara and Ueno (Tokyo)
Yes.. I went to Tsukiji again for breakfast. You can always skip this if you want, but I think it’s really worth it haha!
Anyway. For the last day I decided to take a chill pill and stayed in only two areas: Akihabara and Ueno. These two places are also places to shop. The difference is that Akihabara is known as the electronics and anime heaven. I went there with no interest in both so for me it was just a unique place to walk in. Akihabara is also home to the girl group, AKB48. So if you are there, you can go to the AKB48 cafe or even try to catch their performance in the AKB48 Theatre. You’ll also find the Gundam cafe next to the AKB48 cafe.
Ueno is also a nice area to walk in if you have the time. There’s a park there but I did not take too much time walking through it as it was a very rainy day 🙁 If you are eating dinner in Ueno area, go to Ichiran Ramen at the train station for a very tasty bowl of ramen. Probably the best one I’ve ever had!
If you want to go to other places in Tokyo for the last day, try looking at Odaiba. I heard it’s a pretty good place to go to. There is also an Onsen “Theme Park” in Odaiba which is pretty famous. Other more famous places to go to in Tokyo include the Tokyo Tower and Roppongi Area.
Here’s a summary map of all the places I went to:
Hope this helps, have fun in Tokyo!!