Our last stop of the Japan trip was Tokyo! We spent a few days here and tried to cover as many areas as we could while fitting in a lot of shopping.
Tokyo was crazy busy with people, lights and noise. It was exactly what I imagined Japan to be like.
We visited Ueno Park towards the end of cherry blossom season so there weren’t many left around. It is a beautiful park to walk around and we even went to the lake and took a swan boat out!
Harajuku was my favourite area of Tokyo. The shopping and food were amazing – we spent most days in Harajuku walking along the streets shopping and eating.
Laforet was an amazing department store with really interesting styles. I also liked walking the streets around one of my favourite cafes, Bio Ojiyan. Other cafes and restaurants to visit in Harajuku are Cafe Na for green tea lattes, and Harajuku Gyoza for fantastic gyoza!
We visited Chiyoda for a spa treatment at Mandarin Oriental, which was phenomenal, and walked around the area. This was very different to Harajuku and Shibuya – I would say it is a good deal quieter.
Shibuya was another area we spent a fair amount of time in. I visited Shibuya 101 quickly but found it to be overhyped – Laforet was much more my style. It was still fantastic to walk around and there was so much going on – there are also quite a few nice bars to visit. Coins Bar is a fun foreigners bar and the club Womb is really fun for great music and dancing.
If you’re like me and struggle to find allergy-friendly food or are vegan, check out Little Bird Cafe. They make fantastic gluten free food and also have quite a few vegan options.
My final, overall tips for travelling in Japan would be to get the JR train pass if you’re travelling to different cities. We had to travel from Okayama to Tokyo on the Shinkansen and if we didn’t have the rail pass, we would have had to spend a few hundred dollars to get there. There are different areas you can cover for different periods of time so look up the one that suits your trip the best!
Another important thing to note is not to rely on people knowing English, especially if you’re travelling outside of Tokyo! Learn the basics: arigato (thank you) and sumimasen (excuse me). Also download google translate so you can use it offline. Something that saved us on this trip was using the camera on google translate to translate Japanese writing – it was an absolute lifesaver to read menus and signs, even though it wasn’t always 100% accurate!
Finally, if you can, get pocket wifi. It is portable wifi you can carry around and is super useful to find your way in Japan, which can be a bit difficult!
It’s an incredibly fun and busy country with so much tradition and advancement all in the same cities. Overall, it was a fantastic experience!