If you're looking for a city packed full of energy and more unique tourist attractions than you can count, Tokyo is the place. The Japanese capital offers a huge range of weird and wonderful things to do, from animal cafes to high-speed sushi. Here are 10 amazing things to do in Tokyo.
Visit an Animal Café
Although the first cat cafe was created in Taiwan, the idea flourished in Japan and soon grew in popularity around the world. When the idea became somewhat mainstream, Tokyo began creating even more unique experiences. The city now boasts a huge range of animal cafes, allowing visitors to spend time with hedgehogs, owls, goats, reptiles, and parrots. Some cafes have a cover charge, while others expect you to order at least one drink.
Play Vending Machine Roulette
Tokyo is a busy city that never sleeps. This is part of the reason why vending machines are beloved fixtures of the city which can be found on just about every block. The experience is extremely exciting for a foreign tourist, as each machine is filled with Japanese treats that are a total mystery to anyone who doesn't understand the language on the packaging. It's a great way to try something entirely new and different.
Visit an Onsen
Japan is full of natural hot springs known as onsens. Visiting an onsen is an extremely relaxing experience which can be done all across the country - even in bustling Tokyo. It's a great way to unwind, relax, and escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Onsen water is believed to have a number of healing qualities, such as promoting skin health and circulation. If you have tattoos, be prepared to cover them when you enter the onsen. You can purchase special stickers which are designed to cover body ink.
Stay in a Ryokan
Ryokans are old-fashioned inns where Japanese culture and hospitality can be experienced firsthand. Guests typically pay a fee which includes their accommodation and meals. Ryokans tend to have tatami flooring, which is made of rice straw. Instead of regular beds, guests sleep on futon mattresses which are laid out on the floor. Traditional Japanese etiquette should be observed inside ryokans, including the removal of shoes and the use of indoor slippers.
Watch Sumo Wrestling
Nothing is more Japanese than 300-pound men wrestling each other. You can attend a professional sumo tournament if you happen to be in Tokyo during the months of January, May, or September. There are also opportunities to watch sumo training sessions and amateur events throughout the rest of the year.
Experience a Japanese Toilet
Toilets don't typically make the cut when it comes to tourist attractions, but Japanese toilets are an exception. They're known around the world for their high-tech qualities, including a plethora of cleansing functions which are powered by a remote control panel. Many also come with heated seats, dryers, and motion censors that open the lid when a person enters the room.
Wander around Harajuku
The Tokyo neighborhood of Harajuku is the city's most vibrant and colorful district. You can easily spend a day browsing funky vintage and Cosplay shops and exploring the area's many cafes and bars. Takeshita Street is the neighborhood's main thoroughfare, but there are also a number of winding alleyways and side streets to discover. You'll also see the culture of cuteness, known as "kawaii," alive and well on the streets of Harajuku. This term can refer to just about anything, from the style of a person's dress to Hello Kitty characters.
Eat High-Speed Sushi
If you're looking for a fun and delicious experience, head to a high-speed sushi restaurant in Tokyo. You'll sit on a bar stool and browse an electronic menu. Once you know what you want, you'll order from a tablet without ever speaking to another human being. Your food will be delivered by a miniature high-speed train on a set of rails. Take your food from the tray, push a button, and send the tray straight back to the kitchen.
Sleep in a Capsule
Those looking for a unique place to stay should opt for a capsule hotel, also known as a pod hotel. These accommodations provide tiny cubby holes which fit a twin sized mattress and typically have a pull-down screen instead of a door. It's not the best option for claustrophobic people, but it's great for anyone with a sense of adventure and a desire to save money. Many capsule hotels segregate men and women, so be sure to do your research if you're traveling with a companion of the opposite sex.
Cross the Busiest Intersection in the World
Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo is believed to be the busiest intersection in the world, with as many as 3,000 people dashing across it every time the light changes. Pedestrians make their way across the road by following a zig-zag of crosswalks which dart in every direction. You can cross the intersection yourself, or simply observe the organized chaos from one of the many cafes and restaurants located nearby.
Tokyo is an excellent choice for anyone who is seeking a unique and exciting travel experience. As with any tourist destination, visitors should remember to be respectful of the local culture and customs.
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