out of the way fun in tokyo
November 2, 2006 2:41 PM   Subscribe

looking for new things to do in tokyo...

i will be going to tokyo for 9 days in early december to visit my ladyfriend. i will be getting in saturday afternoon and leaving the following sunday evening.

suggestions on things to do, see, etc. that may be out of the ordinary.

i've been to tokyo twice before but didn't spend much time there. walked through shibuya (saw the hachiko statue) and harajuku (and saw the meiji shrine and harajuku girls!), spent an afternoon in odaiba, have seen the sensoji temple and asakusa shrine, visited the imperial palace, and also went to yokohama and visited the ramen museum there. what did i miss?

also, we are looking to spend a night or two at an onsen in hakone. any advice or suggestions on where to go would be greatly appreciated.

fwiw - i'll be staying in shinjuku, near waseda university.

thanks in advance.
posted by rklawler to Travel & Transportation around Tokyo, Japan (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The fish market auction. You have to get up early to see it (I think it's usually done around 7:00), but it was the highlight of my trip.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 4:38 PM on November 2, 2006

A day trip to either Nikko or Kamakura, or both.

Seconding the Tsukiji fish market- worth getting up early for (the easiest way is to go the morning after you arrive- you're jet lagged and it's not so hard to get up in the wee hours. Eat some sushi while you are at the fish market- the good places are easy to find because there will be a line out the door.
posted by ambrosia at 4:50 PM on November 2, 2006

Best answer: Catch the Inokashira line from Shibuya and go wandering around in Shimo Kitazawa or Kichijoji.

As ambrosia suggested pop down to Kamakura and go say hello to the Big Buddha.

From Shinjuku catch the Sobu line and go be freaked out by all the flashing neon and buzzing things in Akihabara. It's the otaku mecca.

This site is pretty useful for finding out information about onsen. Also check out the ones in Izu, Shizuoka, I recently stayed down at one in Atagawa and it was nice having an ocean view while running around having baths. Plus some of the little towns down there are just neat to walk around in. Oh and the best thing about Atagawa is the Tropical and Alligator garden (Banana Wani En - kitschy site in Japanese) - it totally rocked.
posted by gomichild at 6:01 PM on November 2, 2006 [1 favorite]

I would recommend not doing the fish market. It's too early and you're liable to be run down by one of those motorized carts.
posted by matkline at 8:09 PM on November 2, 2006

How about a zoo? Sure, zoos are everywhere, but the "common" animals in Japan are probably not the common ones in the zoos near you. Also, it's a lot of fun to see (for a midwestern american anyway) a prairie dog as this big exhibit that gets all the Japanese in the zoo excited. ;) There's Ueno zoo of course (they have pandas!), but if you're willing to take a train ride (45 min from Shinjuku), there is the Tama zoo (way out west, but still officially in Tokyo). Tama zoo has a neat lion enclosure with like 30 lions -- and you can take a bus ride thru the enclosure and they feed them right on the bus, etc. And there are just a lot of really neat exhibits in it in general.

Another zoo I've been too is one in Omiya in Saitama ken (just north of Tokyo). In the park around Hikawa Shrine, there is a quaint zoo. It was short, but had some interesting animals. Going to Omiya has the benefit that there is also Bonsai Village nearby. A bunch of bonsai gardeners maintain public areas with just tons of bonsai (including plenty for purchase, although finding one you can easily bring into the US is hard).
posted by R343L at 9:50 PM on November 2, 2006

Best answer: Yet another vote for Kamakura, considered 'little Kyoto' and for good reason. Lovely temple walks--
It is also on the way (more or less) to Hakone so you could leave in the morning, do a day in Kamakura, and still make a Hakone onsen in the evbening.

Also, I'd highly recommend the 'Hakone Kenchiku no Mori' ('Open-Air Museum' in the English translation) (http://www.hakone-oam.or.jp/eng/), a great outdoor sculpture and art museum set against the magnificent backdrop of Hakone, Mt. Fuji, etc. Even if you're not a huge art person, this is well worth a visit and could round out a trip to the Hakone region.
posted by slipperynirvana at 6:18 AM on November 3, 2006 [1 favorite]

As recommended previously, do this.
posted by Rash at 8:43 AM on November 3, 2006

Seconding what gomichild says - you should definitely see Shimokitazawa now, as it might not be around much longer. Which is a crying shame.
posted by Gortuk at 9:29 AM on November 3, 2006 [1 favorite]

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