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Tokyo you have us.

Japan has always been a dream destination for us, and our recent trip to Tokyo exceeded all expectations. Here’s a rundown of what we did in Tokyo. We walked alot! Like 25,000 steps a day!

Copyright Joyrolla: Backstreets leading up to Ueno Park.

Toggle Hotel in Suidobashi

Our base for this trip was the Toggle Hotel (cost effective) in Suidobashi, a place that truly embodies creativity and fun. The rooms are designed in various vibrant colors, and we were lucky to stay in the green and pink room with a loft (not ideal if you are really tall). The hotel was immaculately clean, and its prime location made it easy to explore Tokyo, with several train stations within walking distance.

 

Copyright Joyrolla: The view from Starbucks viewing room over Shibuya Crossing.

Exploring Tokyo’s Best Neighborhoods

  • Daikanyama: This neighborhood captivated us with its stunning architecture and unique stores. Wandering through the streets and lanes, we were in design heaven with the beautifully designed houses and cute boutiques.

  • Kamimeguro: We strolled down from Daikanyama and enjoyed people-watching, browsing boutique shops, and relaxing in cafes. A highlight was lunch at Mark Matsuoka Grill, where the food was delicious and people watching was on point. I heard Omnibus Coffee was the best in Tokyo and after days of average coffees, it was needed. We were having Startbucks (weakest coffee ever, but they had almond milk), so to satisfied our craving for excellent coffee, reminiscent of our favourite Australian brews we headed to Omnibus. It didn't disappoint.

  • Nakameguro: Known for its picturesque river and cherry blossoms in May, Nakameguro is a charming area filled with cute cafes and shops. We loved exploring this serene part of Tokyo.

  • Harajuku: A paradise for vintage and second-hand shopping, Harajuku is where you should dive deep into the lanes to find the best stores. The eclectic mix of fashion here is incredible.

  • Akihabara: The ultimate destination for camera and tech enthusiasts, Akihabara offers everything from vintage cameras to the latest gadgets. Remember to take your passport for 10% off duty-free shopping.

  • Shibuya: Home to the world-famous Shibuya Crossing, this area is vibrant and bustling with energy. It’s a fantastic place for people-watching and shopping, and you can easily walk to Harajuku from here to experience the diverse fashion themes of Japan.

Copyright Joyrolla: Trees at Ueno Park temple area. 

 

Unique Experiences

  • Don Quijote: These multi-level stores stock everything imaginable, from snacks and sex toys to designer bags. It’s a must-visit for a unique shopping experience.

  • Stand-Only Bars and Food: We loved the concept of stand-only sushi bars, which help with the flow of people in small spaces and offer super fresh food.

  • Tokyo Station - Chiyoda: On a rainy day, we explored Tokyo Station and discovered KITTE MARUNOUCHI, a shopping center with boutique stores. We had a delightful lunch at Zojirushi “Gohan” restaurant, enjoying tasting plates and a view of Tokyo Station, all for great value.

  • Koto City - TeamLabs Tokyo: This immersive world is a must-visit. With mirrored floors and water installations, it’s an interactive experience like no other. Be sure to wear pants you can roll up and buy tickets online in advance.

  • Ueno Park: A beautiful park with a touch of heritage, Ueno Park delighted us with vintage stalls, a live talent contest, and delicious street food like a strawberry and grape stick.

  • Kitanomaru Garden +  Imperial Palace in Chiyoda - Beautiful park to calm the system down and take in a bit of heritage and history. We couldn'nt get to the inner palace but the grounds were nice.

Copyright Joyrolla: We became obsessed with the tiles in China and Japan. This was the station at Ueno Park.

 

Random Observations and Tips

  1. Tokyo surprisingly has a lot of Italian and Indian food.

  2. Coffee culture is growing.

  3. Adult gaming rooms called Pachinko are everywhere, featuring marble slot machines. 

  4. Tokyo uses a lot of plastic packaging, but there’s no litter on the streets.

  5. Cafes and restaurants often provide hooks or baskets for your bags, a small but appreciated touch.

  6. Some parts of Tokyo felt reminiscent of Melbourne or Sydney, but with unique Tokyo energy and randomness.

  7. You will notice"girly bars" and their dressed-up promoters in certain areas.

  8. Spas are gender-segregated and nude only, offering a unique, relaxing experience (once you get past the nude part).

Copyright Joyrolla: The cute little stand up only sushi shop in Taito - Ueno.

Photo credit: Joyrolla - Mark Matsuoka Grill

Photo credit: Joyrolla - Onibus Coffee - Kamimeguro - Meguro City.

Travel Tips

  1. Get a travel pass for easy train rides (passport required).

  2. Use the trains, it's easy once you know what you are doing.

  3. Many shops offer 10% off duty-free with a passport.

  4. Explore the back lanes to find hidden gems.

  5. Be prepared to walk a lot; we averaged 25,000 steps daily. I feel like you miss alot of the goodness if you catch trains everywhere. We didn't have our kids with us, so it would be a different story if the kids were walking with us. 

  6. Gluten-free and dairy-free options can be limited, so plan ahead for breakfast.

  7. Most places have phone charging docks for a quick battery boost.

  8. Family Marts are convenient and budget-friendly for all your needs from Wine to socks and all the yummy snacks.

Copyright Joyrolla: The beautiful area of Nakameguro, these would be full of blossoms in early May.

Copyright Joyrolla: Joyrolla Cart in Lilac rolling through Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo.

 

Tokyo is a city that blends tradition and modernity seamlessly. Our Joyrolla adventure was filled with amazing sights, delicious food, and unique experiences that we’ll remember forever. Whether you’re wandering through stylish neighbourhoods, indulging in local food, or discovering hidden gems, Tokyo has something truely inspirational for everyone.

Have fun exploring.

We will do an Architecture and neighbourhood blog as we have so many photos full of Inspiration.

The Happy Ones Walk.

 

 

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