Tokyo can be super overwhelming for a first time traveler. It’s hard to choose something in a city so endless with opportunity. Should you go see a robot show or check out the Lolitas at Harajuku? While you may want to do a plethora of things, it’s no secret Tokyo is insanely expensive. As the 16th most expensive city in the world, your wallet money will go fast since cash is king. Let me help a fellow traveler out and tell you how to have the most fun in Tokyo without breaking the bank.
Tokyo’s famous man made island off Tokyo Bay is super cool. It boasts a magnitude of activities from a theme park, rainbow colored Ferris Wheel, Rainbow Bridge, the Fuji TV Building, shopping, dining, and my personal favorite, the life-size Gundam. Having seen Gundam Wing as a child and Gundam Seed as an early teen, it was like stepping into the world of my earlier years. Any Gundam fans out there? This is worth it. In front of the Gundam, there are performances and around the park as well. How many musicians can you spot?
See the bay where you can observe a replica of Lady Liberty and gaze at the Rainbow Bridge in the distance. I recommend touring Odaiba late evening to enjoy the lights at night.
The month of August is the hottest time of year on mainland Japan. The multitude of brick buildings in Tokyo absorb heat during the day and make it just as uncomfortable at night. Stay hydrated, my friends—you will soak through your clothes and the chances of heat exhaustion are high. I hid inside DiverCity Tokyo Plaza to escape the heat and found solace in the Godiva chocolate shop. The bottom floor has a large food court and selection.
How to get there: Getting to Odaiba is a treat itself as the JR Line takes you across the Rainbow Bridge and gives travelers a view of the island. Get off at Tokyo Teleport Station.
Asakusa Asahi Building
Travel to Asakusa where you can see the Asahi (sperm) Building and the Tokyo Sky Tree. Asahi is one of Japan’s leading manufacturers of drinks and alcoholic beverages. Wanna be a cheap ass and not pay an expensive amount and wait a long time to go up the Sky Tree? Go up to the 22nd floor of the Asahi (sperm) Building and enjoy an ice cold beer with a great view of the Tokyo Sky Tree.
How to get there: Get off at Asakusa Station and walk out of Exit 4. Follow the Sky Tree. You can’t miss it.
Adress: Asahi Sky Room, Japan, 〒130-0001 Tokyo, Sumida, Azumabashi, 1−23−1 アサヒビール吾妻橋ビル 22F
Cost: 700-1200 yen
Asakusa’s main tourist attraction is the famous Sensoji Temple—completed in 645, it is Japan’s oldest temple. When I arrived on temple grounds I was greeted by a long procession of souvenir shops on Nakamise Street. They have a variety of goods from yukata (the Japanese summer kimono) to geisha dolls and samurai sword umbrellas. The temple grounds were incredibly breath taking as not many tourists stray from the main temple. When, I think of old Japan, I think of these grounds as the symbol of Japanese culture. It’s also a great place to shop for souvenirs.
How to get there: Get off at Asakusa Station and walk out Exit 8. Turn right and walk down the street. Follow the signs to the temple.
Address: Sensō-ji, 2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo 111-0032, Japan
After my visit to Sensoji, I made my last stop at Tokyo Tower. If you enjoy history and culture like I do, the Tokyo Tower may not be the coolest, most modern place to be, but it has character and is well-known. As Tokyo is now the host of the 2020 Olympics, the tower is lit up with 2020 at night. The Tower has two observation decks, but the first deck was sufficient to enjoy the city view.
Bonus for all you Sailor Moon fans out there. You will feel a sense of nostalgia as you go up the tower. Seriously, watch the episode where Usagi and Mamoru are trapped inside the elevator of Tokyo Tower waiting meet their death by their evil nemesis, Zoycite. After you watch it, compare your experiences and feel like you’re in the anime. Thank me later.
How to get there: Walk out Akebanebashi Station, cross the street and turn right. You’ll come to a cross roads and make a left. Follow the bend up and once you see Tokyo Tower, keep following it.
Address: 4 Chome-2-8 Shibakoen, Minato, Tokyo 105-0011, Japan
Cost: 820 yen
A site also worth seeing is the Zojo-ji Temple in front of the tower. Whilst wandering I walked past and found many statues with colored hats or offerings in front of them. I think the statues were to represent children or the playful spirits of nature, but it felt Japanese and like I was stepping into a time warp of the past. It’s really awesome seeing the modern Tokyo Tower in the background from a traditional temple.
How to get there: From Tokyo Tower walk out of the store in the back. Walk toward the street and make a right. When you get to the intersection, cross the street and keep walking.
Address: Zōjō-ji, 4-7-35 Shibakoen, Minato, Tokyo 105-0011, Japan
Would you try out this itinerary? Have you been to these places I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comment box below!