For a first stay, the ideal is to focus on the unavoidable places of the Japanese capital. Depending on the the traveler’s profile you will of course have to adapt the program! A couple in their 60s who likes the cultural side or a family with teenagers will clearly not choose to see the same things.
In my case I have gone with my friend who is a great fan of video games and manga culture, which is not my case and this program is the one that suited us all: it is sufficiently varied to have a global overview Tokyo, from its modern districts to more traditional places. We spent 4 whole days in Tokyo on our first trip to Japan, which allowed us to see all the points of interest that I quote you in a rather cool rhythm.
- Shibuya : Youth area and fashion shops. Here the majority of the Japanese that you will meet are less than 25 years old, it is the neighborhood of Tokyo youth. It is also known for the world’s largest pedestrian crossing. It’s like the Times Square of Tokyo, giant screens, all-out pubs and lots of entertainment in particular in the afternoon and evening. For shopping “local”, take a trip to the Shibuya 109.
- Akihabara : Neighborhood of otakus ie geeks who spend their time between mangas, video games and electronic equipments (to make simple ^^)! For the unmissable shops, take a trip to the Yodobashi Camera, 8 floors devoted to electronics! For gaming enthusiasts, head to the Sega Club, one of the largest gaming halls or the Super Potato for retro gaming. The Mandarake is a must for manga lovers, but be careful it is written in Japanese!
- Shinjuku : Go to the Golden Gai in the early evening to eat yakitoris (skewers) and drink a few glasses. There are a few alleys where the small stalls of a few seats are followed, it is very typical although the presence in many guides has made the place a little more touristy.
- Tsukiji Market : The biggest fish market in the world! Stroll amongst the stalls that offer you fish of all kinds and finish the visit by the corner of retail. If you are hungry, enjoy eating some sushi or sashimi.
- Take a walk in the basement of a large department store: here you will crack if you are greedy as I am! Salty dishes of all kinds, cakes, fruits, in short you can taste specialties every day of the year without eating the same thing! It is the ideal place to taste the dishes that tempt you.
- Ueno : Ameyoko Street is a sort of flea market in a quite popular atmosphere, there is a bit of everything at very competitive prices. This area is also known for its large park: try to stop your visit of the Ueno park on a day of the weekend to attend the walk of the families. Greenery, lakes, pretty temples, in short it is a complete and pleasant visit in good weather.
- Asakusa : Traditional neighborhood known for the temple Senso ji. The shopping street Nakamise-dôri that leads to it is rich in small shops: cakes, crafts, nice things to see and to buy. Once in the temple, enjoy it to burn incense or try to make a good fortune.
- Harajuku The Meiji-jingu sanctuary is a true haven of peace in the capital. A place where tranquility and nature mingles to make us discover one of the most beautiful sanctuaries of the city. Takeshita dori street not far from here will take you back to a lively atmosphere between fashion boutiques and teenagers.
- Edo Tokyo Museum : Indispensable to follow the evolution of the city through the ages. Very interesting and informative, it is an ideal stage for those who want to know more about the city and its inhabitants since the Edo period.
- City view: Climb to the Tokyo Sky Tree or other points of view like the Metropolitan Government Observatory, Tokyo Tower or Tokyo City View. I choosed Tokyo City View.
- Odaiba island : Enjoy the view of the Rainbow bridge (ideal at night). Go to the gundam and see it for real and take a tour of the Ferris wheel which gives you an overview of the city.
What about luxury in all that ?
Tokyo is a city where you can perfectly combine discovery and luxury. For example, choose one of the best hotels in the city to spend your nights there: the Park Hyatt is a perfect example. For shopping enthusiasts, visit the neighborhoods of Omotesando or Ginza where the boutiques of great designers succeed one another. You can have lunch or dinner in one of the best restaurants in the world because the city has many starred restaurants: I had lunch at the Atelier Joel Robuchon on my last visit and I recommend it. To discover Tokyo by night, head to one of the trendiest bars or clubs for a night full of emotions!
- Choice of your hotel: The most important criterion that I take into account when choosing a hotel in Tokyo is to be as close as possible to the Yamanote Line. Indeed, this circular subway line serves the main districts and avoids making many changes (the changes are the biggest waste of time when traveling).