9 Cool and Unusual Things to Do in Tokyo
Katie & Graham
09th December 2018
A week in Tokyo is the perfect amount of time to explore this fascinating city, there is so much to do so we have put together this list of our favourite cool and unusual things we did and a couple of attractions that may be worth missing out so you can make the most of your time. Hope it helps with your planning!
1. Maricar, Akihabara
This was one of the best things we did in Tokyo even though it was raining when we decided to do it. Basically you get to dress up in Mario fancy dress (or some random superhero’s) and drive around the streets of Tokyo in a go-kart. It is as much fun as it sounds and you are actually out there on the roads with all the other traffic! It’s a great way to see the sights as well so we would recommend doing it on your first or second day because we saw loads of things when we were driving around that we went back to later in the week.
We did it during the day but you can also do it at night which looked amazing, it really is so much fun. We chose to do it from the shop in Akihabara but there are a couple of other shops with the same company in Shibuya and Shinagawa. It costs about £62 per person for two hours. Click here to book through their website.
2. Dog heart cafe, Shibuya
If you have already booked to go to Tokyo, no doubt you will have heard of the dog cafes, cat cafes, rabbit cafes, there is one to cater for your favourite animal, whatever it is! If you haven’t heard of these, they are not really cafes, just a place where you pay by the hour to sit and play with dogs.
We are dog lovers and were very excited when we found this one that was full of toy poodles! They also have a gorgeous golden retriever and two beagles. We would definitely recommend Dog Heart Cafe – it costs about 1000 yen per person for half an hour with the dogs and you can also pay to take them out for walks, all prices on their website. Don’t miss it!
We found this place by chance when we were looking through photos of Tokyo on instagram and only booked it last minute but it was one of the best things we did! We are not a big fan of museums or art galleries but this is completely different. It’s best described as a series of interactive light shows but you need to see it for yourself.
They create new projects regularly and there are multiple locations across Japan where you can find these temporary exhibitions but there is always a couple in Tokyo. Go to their website here to find the latest events and be sure to book in advance. It’s slightly on the expensive side (about £40 per person) but so worth the money, you will have a ball.
4. Sega building no.3
Akihabara is Tokyo’s electric town and the home of all things manga, anime and gaming. It is a great place to just walk around but if you want to get involved yourself head to one of the Sega buildings to enjoy the arcade games on offer. You can play Mariokart, shooting games and Japanese “anime” photo booths but our favourite was the virtual reality floor.
You have to head for Sega building no.3 for the virtual reality (there are 4 sega buildings). They have a first person shooter in which you walk around their VR world and it is so realistic, at £10 each it was a bargain.
5. Shibuya crossing (and how to get a free Birdseye view)
Worth going to in the day and the night, the Shibuya crossing is the best place to see Tokyo’s chaotic but mesmerising foot traffic in all its glory.
Spend some time crossing the road a few times yourself and then make your way to the rooftop of “Mag’s Park” for some spectacular views of the crossing. Entrance is through the cafe (you don’t have to buy a drink) and out the door on the other side, make your way up the steps and there will be some turn styles, go through and enjoy the view. When we went it was free but we have heard on occasion there is a 500 yen fee per person.
6. Karaoke Bar (Karaoke Kan)
No visit to Japan would be complete without visiting one of the famous Karaoke bars. Pretty simply you rent a room with a Karaoke machine in and get booze delivered while you sing to your hearts content.
There are loads of places to do this but we went to one of the many Karaoke Kan bars dotted across the city. Slightly pricey but loads of English and American songs and good gin and tonics. Go Monday to Thursday and before 5pm for cheaper prices.
7. Golden Gai, Shinjuku
This was the best night out we had in Tokyo but took us quite a while to find it using Google Maps! It is a small street lined with tiny bars with between four and six seats. We spent ages trying to find it as google maps directed us to the wrong place but if you type in “Bar Bardot” you will find it.
This is the bar we went to and it is great, even had a guy playing guitar and singing Spanish songs and the lady behind the bar is lovely. Drinks are about £5 each so pretty reasonable for Tokyo. Don’t forget to check the time of your last train, a taxi home will be mega expensive. Or save the worry and stay in Shinjuku!
8. Stay in a capsule hotel
We wouldn’t recommend staying in one of these for your whole trip but well worth a night or two in one of these for the experience. There aren’t many that offer double capsules but we found one called Tokyo Kiba which was really nice and reasonably priced. They are really cozy and comfortable and we really enjoyed staying here.
9. Origami Kaikan, Yushima
We were a little bit sceptical about this place (we thought it might be boring) but we decided to give it a go and it was really good fun. The museum is tiny and will only take you 5 minutes to look around but you can see how they make the paper and also take an origami class and it is very inexpensive.
You can either join the beginners class that they do every afternoon or book to join one of the proper classes. I would recommend the afternoon beginners lesson as it is in English and difficult enough! We were very proud of our cat and fish bowl! Click here for the link to their website, you will need to use google chrome though to translate it.
“Attractions” to avoid
There is so much to see in Tokyo that you feel like you won’t be able to fit it all in and you won’t be able to. There are a LOT of temples and shrines and you do not need to see them all. Most of them are pretty similar and all of them are full of tourists just after photo opportunities. We made the mistake of going to too many and ended up getting sick of them. The only one we enjoyed was Meji Jingu as it has beautiful forested grounds to walk around. The rest are very underwhelming.
The other place we wouldn’t recommend going, which is a common tourist spot is the Monster Cafe. It was rubbish to be honest. Just really expensive (and tasteless) food and drink and a long queue to get in. Do yourself a favour and give it a miss, it’s not worth the photos!