Weird & Wonderful Tokyo
Tokyo is one of my favourite places in the world. I love big cities, getting to know a different culture, and finding the unexpected at every corner, so it’s the perfect place for me! While I fell in love with Kyoto’s temples and gardens, Tokyo was the Japan I’d been dying to see since I was little. Tokyo takes you out of your comfort zone without being scary, it takes cute (kawaii) to another level, and it is full of all of my favourite foods (and some stranger foods too!).
It’s fun, it’s big, and it’s lively. If you’re not used to big cities it might overwhelm you a bit, and if you’re used to visiting places like London, New York or Paris it will make you realise how small those cities really are! It’s a city-loving explorer’s dream, a paradise for those with a sweet tooth, and really has something for everyone – from parks and temples to robots and maid cafés.
These are just some of the more unusual things you can do in Tokyo!
Go to an Animal Café
Dogs, cats, rabbits, owls, hedgehogs… take your pick! Last year I went to the owl cafe in Akihabara and had a great time, although after going I felt guilty and wondered how often the birds get to fly. I’ve also been to a dog cafe in South Korea and that was really fun for a dog lover like me – I had dogs sleeping on my lap, walking on my table, and hiding behind my back. I really want to go to the hedgehog cafe next time I’m in Tokyo!
Visit the robot restaurant
The Robot Restaurant is a hilarious show in Shinjuku. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen – a sensory overload with loud music, smoke, giant robots and flashing lights. I don’t think it could exist anywhere else in the world! At 8,000 yen it’s definitely not cheap but it’s something you’ll never forget. Book online for a discount.
Please, just don’t eat there! Although it’s called a restaurant the food is terrible – don’t waste one of your meals in Japan there. Instread try some yakitori from Omoide Yokocho (‘piss alley’!) before or after the show.
Grab lunch from a sushi train
Go to Uobei in Shibuya for the coolest sushi experience ever. Sit down, order from a tablet and wait a few minutes for your order to come zooming down on the sushi train and stop right in front of you. I’m telling you now, it’s not the best sushi but it’s worth visiting for the fun experience and it’s very quick and cheap.
Sleep in a caspule hotel
Not for the claustrophobic, capsule hotels are a very Japanese way of providing budget accommodation! Some actually seem quite nice, clean, and modern, with your own personal TV, plug socket, hangers and a safe. You’re often provided with pyjamas, towels, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste – better than any hostels I’ve been to! Male and female dorms are often very separate which is great for solo ladies but can be annoying if travelling as a couple. There’s always a lounge for you to hang out in and meet fellow travelers.
Book and Bed is another really interesting hostel concept that is perfect for book lovers!
Enjoy some multicoloured candy floss…
These are HUGE and every colour is a different flavour. You can even select exactly which colours you want and watch as the sugar gets spinned before your eyes. There’s even the option to get the pink colour in the middle shaped like a heart! So kawaii. Head to Totti Candy Factory in Harajuku to give them a try.
or a crème brulée crepe!
I’m definitely going to have to try this at Comcrepe when I go back to Harajuku.
Get transformed by Purikura
This is the thing to do if you’re a Japanese teenager in Harajuku. Even if you’re an adult and a tourist, I’d definitely recommend giving purikura a try! It was the highlight of my day exploring Harajuku and Omotesando with my Japanese friend Haruka. We went to Eggnam at the top of Takeshita Street, rented out some cute costumes, and walked into a photobooth where we copied the hilarious poses that came up on the screen. It’s all over very quickly and when the photos are done you go to the computer outside the booth and edit the photos, adding cute messages and even extra makeup to them. I found it so funny how airbrushed it made my skin and how huge it made my eyes!
Play arcade games
I already mentioned this in my little guide to Akihabara, but Taito game station is such a fascinating place! It’s full of grown men and women playing all sorts of arcade games, often with impressive skills. There are several locations all over Tokyo so definitely go there even if you don’t fancy playing any games.
Visit a maid cafe
I’m a little bit reluctant about mentioning this one after watching a Stacey Dooley documentary about very young girls being sexualised in Japan. I’m sure there are some harmless maid cafes though – @Home in Akihabara is recommended by Lonely Planet and looks really cute. I think it’s a fun thing to see once in your life, despite the overpriced menu! I’m definitely having the matcha latte with a cute face on it…
Eat in a themed cafe
There is no shortage of themed cafes in Tokyo. From Moomins to vampires, there’s a cafe for everyone! Some of the cutest ones are Pompompurin, Peter Rabbit, and Peanuts. Hello Kitty fans should go to Café de Miki. For an overload of colours and a decor like you’ve never seen before, head to Kawaii Monster Cafe and try the rainbow pasta.
Give solo karaoke (hitokara) a try
This might sound a bit sad, but individual karaoke booths are pretty popular in Tokyo. These are ideal for solo travelers and I’d imagine going to one would be a pretty fun experience! Head to one of 1kara’s (wankara) 10 “ships” to find out.
Go on a Mario Kart tour of the city!
I just know my boyfriend is going to love this one, and even though I HATE go-karting I am still super tempted to try this tour with Maricar. Basically you get dressed in hilarious Super Mario costumes and drive around the city for two to three hours, passing by Tokyo Tower and driving through the famous Shibuya Crossing. It has 5/5 stars on TripAdvisor so it must be good!
Planning your trip? Have a look at my other posts for more tips:
- 5 tips for planning a trip to Japan
- Tokyo’s best cherry blossoms
- What to do in Akihabara, Tokyo’s anime and manga neighbourhood
- Kyoto’s top attractions
- Osaka: a one day itinerary
What’s at the top of your Tokyo bucket list?
Let me know if you can think of something I should add to the list!