If you think Tokyo is just another big city, comparable to New York and London, then you’re up for a big surprise. This city is different! It’s organized and chaotic, calm and loud, crazy and overwhelming at the same time. As much as you hear about Tokyo, you have to see it to believe it. And with a massive jet lag there’s no better place to keep you awake and excited to start your time in Japan.
Video: My Favorite Things to Do & Places to Eat in Toyko
I soon realised that it’s almost impossible to explain and show what it’s like to be here. So I’m hoping this video will do the trick.
Fortune Telling at Senso-Ji temple
Every time you visit a temple in Japan, you’ll see (and hear!) people shaking a metal box and tie little pieces of paper around a metal wire. These are o-mikuji, fortunes written on paper. If the fortune is good, you can keep it. If it’s bad, you should wrap it around these wires.
Incense rubbing for good health
Another thing you can’t miss is the huge incense burner in front of the Senso-ji temple. Having pains somewhere? Rub that part of your body with the incense smoke and the aches should go away.
In a city that feels so organized it’s easy to forget how many people actually live and work in Tokyo. Until you go to Shibuya Cross, the busiest intersection in the world. Crossing the street with thousands of people at the same time…And of course, it works.
Wedding season at the Meiji Shrine
We came to see Tokyo’s largest shrine Meiji-Jingu, but got slightly distracted by all the weddings that were going on. Whether it was wedding season or if this is just an ordinary day, I’m not sure, but it was certainly interesting to watch.
It took an army of assistants to take the group portrait, but once everybody was sitting and smiling exactly like they were supposed to, it was one shot and the next group could sit down and do the same.
At first I wasn’t sure what these fountains in front of a temple or shrine were for. I saw people drinking the water, washing their hands.
Turns out, they’re for both as part of a symbolic purification ritual before you enter the temple to worship. You wash your hands and mouth (and your mind) at a temizuya.
Food in Tokyo: Fluffy Souffle Pancakes
I had done my research of course… And if there was one thing that caught my eye over and over again, it were these soufflé pancakes.
The best place in Tokyo to try them is Flipper’s. They have several restaurants in Tokyo, but I had them here. It’s a small restaurant, so you probably have to wait in line but in this case it’s worth it.
And if after all that sweet stuff you need some good coffee, walk to Little Nap Coffee Roasters.
Memory Lane’s Food Alley
One of the highlights in Tokyo for me was eating in Memory Lane, also known as ‘Piss Alley’ in Shinjuku. It’s easy to miss, but walk in and you’ll find a world of tiny bars and eateries.
It’s mostly known for its yakitori, but as long as you can put it on a grill they’ll serve it.
Lost in Translation at the New York Bar
If you’ve seen the movie Lost in Translation, then you know about this place: the New York Bar on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt Hotel.
You can’t leave Tokyo without having a cocktail here and enjoy the spectacular view. Sipping your $20 drink, listening to some jazz music in the background, looking over the city you’ll be again reminded what a unique city Tokyo is. Until next time Tokyo!