Tokyo, the world’s most populous metropolis, is constantly on the move. In this incredible town, the ancient oriental traditions share the space with the latest innovations in technology and the most bizarre trends. We asked our colleagues from the Kudan Institute of Japanese Language & Culture what you can do for less than ¥2000 (circa $20).
1. Tokyo National Museum
There are plenty of museums in Tokyo, but this one is the oldest, as it was established in 1872. It’s also the largest, containing a great collection of Japanese historical art and national treasures. The entrance fee is only ¥620.
If you prefer something more contemporary, you might like the Ghibli Museum (¥1000).
2. Dodge pedestrians at Shibuya crossing
Shibuya district is full of fashion and entertainment options, which makes it a very busy area. The crossing is one of the most crowded in the world and hundreds of people pass through it every day. Join the locals in this choreography or just watch them and take the chance to do some shopping.
3. Take a break at Mt. Takao
Tokyo is a city of superlatives. Continuing that trend, Mount Takao attracts the greatest number of climbers in the world. Within easy reach from Tokyo stations, this mountain is only 600 meters above the sea level, but it has a magnificent view of Mount Fuji. The cable cars are also the steepest in the world, jump in for only ¥930 for round trip!
4. Taste authentic ramen
When you think of Japanese food, sushi is probably the first thing that comes to your mind; however, many Japanese people cannot live without ramen, the famous noodle soup dish. There are more restaurants than you could visit in a lifetime and prices are very affordable.
5. Immerse yourself in tradition in Shitamachi
Shitamachi is the old part of Tokyo and it is divided in several areas: Yanaka, Nezu, Sendagi, Hongo, Ueno or Asakusa, among others. Stroll around this part of the city and see Buddhist temples, shops that have been there for more than 100 years, Japanese-style “Ryokan” inns or the prestigious University of Tokyo.
6. Back to the present in Akihabara
While Shitamachi represents the past, Akihabara means the present and the future of Japanese subculture. The city’s electronics centre is full of shops and arcades offering infinite choices: games, DVDs, plastic models, figures, cosplay and manga cafes. Otakus and die-hard anime fans will find their paradise here.
7. Cuddle and be cuddled by animals
Cat cafes are already a thing in other countries, but did you know that there are plenty of other animals’ cafes in Japan? Bunnies, owls, fishes, reptiles, even goats and penguins! You take your pick. For ¥1000 you can play with bunnies for 30 minutes.
8. Cycle around the Imperial Palace
On Sundays, from 10:00 to 15:00, you can borrow one out of 150 bikes free of charge and cycle around the astounding Imperial Palace. Relax, enjoy the view and get some exercise done!
9. Cross the Rainbow Bridge
The 918m-long Rainbow Bridge connects the artificial island of Odaiba to mainland Tokyo. The bridge owes its name to the lighting that it displays in some special occasions. If the weather is nice, you can sunbathe on the artificial beach of Odaiba under the glance of a replica of the Statue of Liberty.
10. Enjoy one of the multiple festivals
In Tokyo there is a festival almost every week: cherry blossom festivals, lantern festivals or parades with people in costumes carrying shrines. Don’t miss out on any of them and see the calendar here.
Have you already been to Tokyo? Leave your tips in the comments section.