5 things you really, truly must do in Tokyo

Sumo stadium 2015 - Tokyo must do

Although we briefly visited Kyoto – and swung through Osaka for lunch – most of our week in Japan was spent in the big smoke of Tokyo. Spoiler: I LOVE it. (I feel this way about most global cities, to be fair.) Here are a few things that stood out.

Stay in a ryokan

A must do in Tokyo: Stay in a ryokan
The whole guesthouse experience is just so unique, from the sliding doors to the tatami mats and the baths. It was an incredible introduction to Japan. Also: Sleeping on the floor is amazingly comfortable.

Order food via a ramen machine

Ramen machine for ordering food in Tokyo

Need I say more?! Didn’t think so.

Go shopping

Uniqlo cardigan haul from Japan

Everything is SO cheap compared to home. I’m madly in love with the merino cardigans I got at Uniqlo for practically nothing.

Also, as an Asian person, shopping in an Asian country makes so much difference, be it bras for the flat-chested or glasses for the flat-faced (you know how the plastic frames that are hot right now have only tiny inbuilt nubs designed to perch on high nose bridges, rather than traditional nose pads?! I found some with extra-big ridges).

Visit a park

Just some sake barrels in the park, enroute to Meiji Shrine
Every city needs green spaces, and Tokyo does them well. Ueno Park brought to mind San Diego’s Balboa Park, crammed with attractions (a highlight were the turtles in a pond!) and at Meiji Shrine, we saw an elaborately dressed bride getting wedding photos taken.

See a sumo match

Sumo wrestlers - Tokyo 2015

As it turns out, we were in town for the very start of the autumn sumo tournament. I wasn’t sold on the idea of shelling out for sumo tickets (and didn’t want to gamble on queuing up on the morning of the match) but it turned out to be the highlight of our trip. The bouts are short so the pace doesn’t flag, the atmosphere surprisingly lively and the rituals fascinating. And we got to see one match that was clearly a bit of an upset! We also saw some of the wrestlers before and after, as people lined the pavement outside like a red carpet to watch them come and go. Whatย  a way to end our last full day.

10 thoughts on “5 things you really, truly must do in Tokyo

  • Reply Clarisse @ Reach Financial Independence September 30, 2015 at 20:45

    Wow, Tokyo is such a beautiful city! I want to try how to order food via a ramen machine, that’s really cool! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Michelle October 2, 2015 at 03:58

    I visited Tokyo many years ago but I was there for a program that I was in. I didn’t get to do a lot of the cool things you did. Sounds like you had an amazing time ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply sherry @ save. spend. splurge. October 2, 2015 at 09:23

    Ryokan. RYOKAN!! *salivate*

  • Reply The Asian Pear October 3, 2015 at 05:41

    Amazing. The Sumo wrestling photo looks awesome. I can see how it can be very traditional and ritualistic.

    Out of curiosity, was there anything else that was in a vending machine that you tried? I heard that you can get hot beverages and other foods too!

    • Reply eemusings October 4, 2015 at 18:54

      oh yeah, esp beverages of all kinds – they’re literally on every street corner and all through buildings. We mostly got juices, iced teas and fizzy drinks.

  • Reply Michelle October 3, 2015 at 17:53

    Shopping is really a must in Tokyo! It seems like you have tried all the possible forms of entertainment you can try there!

  • Reply Melanie @ Dear Debt October 5, 2015 at 17:20

    Sounds like a blast! I have so much wanderlust. Japan is at the top of my list!

  • Reply Daniel October 5, 2015 at 22:40

    Tokyo! When I went there, the first thing I wanted to do was to visit Tokyo Disneyland. Being there was really great! And, I love to visit the country again.

  • Reply May October 20, 2015 at 04:20

    Looks like a great trip. I have never been. Wonder how they are recovering from the tsunami. I know Tokyo wasn’t really impacted and it has been awhile — but did you notice anything or is everything business as usual?

    • Reply eemusings October 20, 2015 at 18:44

      In Tokyo? Nope. There was a quake while we were there though!

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