Highlighting Tokyo
July 29, 2008 11:10 AM   Subscribe

Tokyo for a week in mid-September. What must I see and/or do?

Staying with friends in Arakawa-ku and meeting another friend in Nagoya for a day.

Paying homage to the sushi gods at Tsujiki is really the only priority on my list right now. What are some other can't-miss places, restaurants and experiences?

Yes, I know it will be hot.
posted by gnutron to Travel & Transportation around Tokyo, Japan (6 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Tsukiji Fish Market at 5am. Shinjuku for shopping. Akihabara on a Saturday. Harajuku on a Sunday afternoon. Roppongi on a Friday night.
posted by rokusan at 11:18 AM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]

(Note "at 5am" was the key there.)
posted by rokusan at 11:18 AM on July 29, 2008

I really enjoyed the Studio Ghibli Museum. You need tickets ahead of time; your friends can probably pick them up at a nearby Lawson's.
posted by nat at 12:26 PM on July 29, 2008

I was really impressed with the food floor at the Isetan department store in Shinjuku.

Do yourself a favor and double-check the calendar to make sure Tsukiji is open. I had to wake up at 3.30am two days in a row because the first day I went, I found it wasn't open. This was not a happy moment for me.

I enjoyed seeing Tokyo from above at the city hall observation deck, too.

You can check out my former blog for some details of my Japan trip, if you're interested.
posted by veggieboy at 12:55 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

1) Akihabara if you like electronics

2) Ginza if you like shopping (Hakuhinkan is a GREAT toy store), the Sony Building has cool displays, and Ito-ya is the O.G. godfather of Japanese stationery stores.

3) West Tokyo (Shibuya/Harajuku, Shinjuku, Ikebukoro) if you like
people watching and wandering around. Shinjuku has the free
observation deck at the top of the city hall building ("To-Cho"). To-cho has two separate towers, the South one has a marginally more impressive view IMO. Ikebukuro also has a Y500 (?) view from the top of the Sunshine City

4) The Odaiba waterfront is sorta/marginally interesting. The ferris wheel has a good view of the Tokyo waterfront. Lots of
stores and attractions, but I mainly like the architecture and
artificiality of the place. Taking the train from Shimbashi to Odaiba is fun especially if you wait for the next train and sit in the front (driver's) seat (there's no driver on this train so you can pretend). You can take a water taxi from Odaiba back to Tokyo proper.

5) Kamakura is awesome.
posted by yort at 1:52 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

There's a lot of good stuff. Depends on what you're interested in, though. I would check out Asakusa, which has the huge temple complex, and lots of souvenir shopping in one spot. If you like cooking at all, it's just a short jaunt over to Kappabashi-dori, the street full of shops for restaurant supply. You can get your fake plastic sushi here (though it's quite expensive, about 2,000 yen a piece).

Harajuku on Sundays is a must if you want to see the whole "cosplay freakshow" on th bridge near the station. Also nearby is the Meiji Shrine, which is a nice piece of Endor in central Tokyo. Also for shopping, the Oriental Bazaar is a collection of shops where you can get all of your souvenir needs taken care of. On the way there, there's Kiddyland, which also has toys. Lots and lots of wonderful toys.

Other, lesser known bits of fun, Sengakuji in southern Tokyo is the shrine to the 47 Ronin, complete with their actual graves, and a museum with a surprising amount of English explanation. The sword museum in Shinjuku is nice, but a little out of the way.

Kamakura is fantastic. Given the choice between Nikko and Kamakura, go to Kamakura. It's easier to get to from Tokyo, and there's more variety. If you go, get off at Kita-kamakura, and meander from the temples there, to the large shrine, then over to the Great Buddha and Hasedera.

Chances are, baseball will be finished or in playoffs, but it's worth it.

As for the Ghibbli museum, I enjoyed it a lot, but it's pretty far out from where you'll be (Mitaka), and there's pretty much nothing around it, so it's a trip out there, then a trip back, for a hour or two stroll through the museum. The museum, however, is a veritable trove of childlike wonder, though they won't let adults sit inside the half-size replica of the nekobus.

Also, your friends, who are putting you up, they'll probably have some places they'd love to show you. Trust them.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:54 PM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]

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