When you’re coming to Tokyo during the spring, your itinerary probably includes visiting a few shrines and temples, checking out Shibuya crossing, eating loads of sushi, and going for hanami (cherry blossom viewing). However, there’s a lot more to this marvellous metropolis than these traditional activities. Here is an off the beaten path to-do list you can follow to make the most of your trip.
Choose to Snooze at a Capsule Hotel
Capsule hotels have become a massive hit in Japan since their debut in 1979. Individual pods that operate as mini-hotel rooms, with beds, lights, and TVs. It’s everything you might need tucked away in one small, cozy place. Capsule hotels are available all over Japan for relatively affordable prices. These cubicles are both unconventional and convenient. So why not give them a try?
Not My Cup of Tea
I know, I know. When you think of Japan you don’t necessarily associate it with coffee (maybe tea or sake, definitely not coffee though). But Japan’s coffee culture is rapidly growing, especially among the youth.
Japan’s best coffee shops import their beans from all around the world and are usually roasted and prepared on site, as to provide the freshest experience for their customers. Coffee geeks will simply fall in love with the wide range of variety available in Tokyo.
To name a few recommendations, have a sip at the Roastery by Nozy Coffee in Harajuku, hoist some at Factory & Labo Kanno Coffee in Meguro or enjoy your daily dose at Blue Bottle Coffee Shinjuku Cafe in Shinjuku.
Go Out for a Stroll
When I say go out for a stroll, I don’t mean walk around your hotel room in Shinjuku for 10 minutes. I mean, go out further and actually explore the city. Tokyo is an incredibly diverse city with loads to see, and has an abundance of hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
Pick an interesting spot to start from, then walk around aimlessly for a few hours. You never know, you may stumble on a wonderful restaurant or some peaceful park. My suggestion would be to head to some of the lesser known hipster neighbourhoods in Tokyo as a starting point, such as Shimokitazawa or Yanaka.
Have a Drink with the Locals at Piss Alley
Piss Alley (also known as Memory Lane), is hidden away amidst the concrete jungle of Shinjuku. Once you find it, you’re sure to have a great time!
There is certainly no better place to try out some yakitori (grilled chicken) and explore the izakaya (Japanese bar) atmosphere. Also, the eateries here are exceptionally cheap. These izakayas will provide tourists with the opportunity to be introduced to the less restricted side of Japanese culture and make local buddies.
Celebrate Entrepreneurship at Slush Tokyo
What a better way to spend your day in Tokyo, than to take part in the biggest celebration of entrepreneurship in Japan, with over 5,000 attendees, 500 startups, 200 investors, media and tech talent from around the world?
Taking place at the Tokyo Big Sight, Slush Tokyo is a haven for any entrepreneur looking to expand one’s horizons and meet like-minded energetic individuals. It gives a peek into the future to any tech-loving visitor.
When the stage program at Slush ends, you won’t have to head back to your capsule and sleep. Instead, you get to attend an epic after party featuring a number of bands and DJs.