The experience of visiting Japan will always unlike any other countries you visited before. With their unique culture, the courteous of their people and Japan itself will make you feel welcomed the moment you arrive at this sunrise country.
Japan is in the continent of Asia with no land borders to any countries and it is the 64th largest nation in the world. The capital city of Japan is Tokyo, which originally known as Edo. The surface area of Tokyo comprises a very impressive sprawl with a population estimated to be over 13.4 million. Being a capital city of Japan, Tokyo is known to be hectic with a fast-paced scene all around it.
Growing up watching anime, collecting figurine of my favourite anime and playing Japanese video games like Super Mario, Pokemon, Final Fantasy, Zelda and many others make me always eager to visit Japan. And when the opportunity arises for me to visit Tokyo, I never think twice!
My experience visiting Tokyo during a winter season (December to February) is a bliss. I loved how discipline they are (i.e. people queuing up when getting on the train or getting up an escalator), how clean their country is (i.e. it is hard to find a rubbish bin while exploring Tokyo since their people are encouraged to bring back their rubbish home and yet their city is still clear from rubbish), and how courteous they are (i.e. the gesture of Ojigi or also known as Japanese bow).
During our visit to Tokyo, we cover all the top places to visit while we are in Tokyo, trying their local cuisine and also to shop at some famous spot.
Sushi has become widely known worldwide and eating sushi has become a common thing in most part of the world. The dish is done on a wooden or lacquer plates and involves dipping sushi in soy sauce. Others also enjoy eating it with wasabi and pickled ginger.
Your trip to Tokyo will never be going to complete if you did not eat sushi in its homeland. And believe me, sushi tastes way much better when you are in Japan.
ii) Udon / Soba / Ramen
Udon is actually quite similar to Soba in terms of being a noodle. As with Soba, it can be served either hot or cold. Udon is made in a broth and best served while it is hot. There is a lot of a variety of toppings can be added into Udon like scallions or prawns.
Ramen is also another famous Japanese dish. Ramen shop can be found almost anywhere in Tokyo and really easy to find. There are also tons of different types of Ramen available across Tokyo and one of them surely will strike to your likings.
Another must-try Japanese food while in Tokyo is Tempura, which is introduced by the Portuguese back in the 16th century. This dish includes a vegetable, seafood and other ingredients, all covered in eggs and flour which then fried in cooking oil to form a very crispy texture. Good tempura is always crisp and delicious but never greasy nor soggy.
i) Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest mountain with 3776 meters high. It is considered as a sacred mountain and becomes popular among tourists and locals throughout the centuries.
A day trip to Mount Fuji is one of the best ways to see this Japan’s biggest attraction depending on the season you are visiting Japan. Since it was a winter season during my visit to Tokyo, I get an opportunity to head to Fujiten Snow Resort to try skiing for the first time of my life.
Heading to Mount Fuji from Tokyo is easy since public transportation is ready for you to grab. There are two options to go to Mount Fuji from Tokyo which is via train or bus.
- A bus ticket from Tokyo Station to Kawaguchiko Station or Fuji—Q Highland will cost you around JPY 2000 (one way) and the journey will take around two hours. You can make your bus reservations for Tokyo to Kawaguchiko here. From Kawaguchiko Station, you can hop on a local bus or taxis which are readily available.
- The train is another option you can have if you are not interested in taking a bus. However, the price will be a bit expensive than buses. From Shinjuku Station, take the new Fuji Excursion Limited Express train direct to Kawaguchiko Station. It will cost you around JPY 4000 (one way) and the journey will take around two hours.
ii) Disney Sea / Disney Land
Tokyo Disneyland is the first Disney theme park to be open outside the United States. Just beside it is the Tokyo DisneySea, the one and only Disney theme park based on myths and legends of the sea making it the 4th most visited theme park in the world.
This Tokyo DisneySea is made up of seven themed ports which are Mediterranean Harbour, Mystery Land, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery and American Waterfront.
We are intrigued by the fact DisneySea is only available only in Tokyo and we gave it a shot. We get to DisneySea by taking a JR Railway (Keiyo Line) and getting off at Maihama Station. It is only 15 minutes from Tokyo Station. We made our booking at KLOOK which made our entrance to DisneySea smooth as butter.
iii) Tokyo Tower
If you wish to view Tokyo from a top view, the Tokyo Tower will be your best bet. This tower painted in orange and white is the tallest structure in all of Japan and become the landmarks in Tokyo.
Built-in 1958, this tower is used for communication and broadcasting but it is possible to visit one of the two observation decks which offer a spectacular view of the city below.
iv) Shibuya Pedestrian Crossing
Shibuya Pedestrian Crossing is a part you must – see while in Shibuya because of its unique and beautiful sight. It is an enormous pedestrian crossing flooded with people at every change of the spotlight with a giant neon above displaying advertisement in bold colours with a flashing light. It is believed that around 2,500 will cross the streets every time the signal changes. And while in rush hours, this Shibuya Pedestrian Crossing could fill a football stadium with all the people that cross. That is how dense the population of the city is.
Just directly in front of the Shibuya Station, you will notice the statue of Hachiko, one of the most touching real-life stories in the world. Hachiko is a golden-brown Akita owned by Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor at the University of Tokyo. Every single day, Hachiko will greet its owner near the Shibuya Station. This continues to happen until Professor Ueno did not return because he suffered from a cerebral haemorrhage and died, never to return to the station where Hachiko was waiting. Every day for the next nine years, Hachiko loyally waited at Shibuya Station patiently waiting for its owner until Hachiko also met its maker.
Shinjuku is one of Tokyo’s largest shopping and entertainment districts. This district is home to half a dozen major department stores and outlets of Japan’s largest electronics retailers combined with a host of other shops and boutiques along its streets and underground shopping arcades.
Akihabara is a major shopping and electronics district in Tokyo. Japanese flock to Akihabara for tons of reasons and it is definitely a top pick for travelers primarily because of these two things; electronics shopping and otaku culture. There are a lot of electronics retailers such as Yodabashi Camera, Yamada Denki, Laox and Sofmap as well as several hundred small electronics shops jammed along the district’s streets.
Apart from that, Akihabara is also known as a