Somehow, creating a Top 5 list for Tokyo was not too difficult. And yet, I’m still overwhelmed by the fact that we only have four full days in the Japanese capital! I better put my walking shoes on. It’s going to be a hectic one! Here are the five things I’m most looking forward to in Tokyo, Japan:
5. Harajuku (Takeshita Street) & Shibuya Crossing
First on my Top 5 List are two of the most iconic places in Japan. The first time I traveled to Japan was to Osaka and Kyoto, nothing like the hustle-bustle of Tokyo. I’m excited to finally witness real Harajuku fashion and experience the terrifying famous intersection!
There’s nothing I enjoy more than admiring architecture in a new country. I can literally stand in front of a monument for hours admiring every edge and curve. Roppongi is a small area of significance to tourists compared to all of Tokyo, but The National Art Center, Roppongi Hills and Louise Bourgeois’s Spider (Maman) are just the type of subjects I love to photograph. The Tokyo Tower is also not far from here; it’s always looked like a mini-Eiffel Tower to me. I can’t wait to see it lit-up!
Where do I even begin? Do I just list everything I want to eat? Majority of my Tokyo trip-planning consisted of me browsing Tokyo food-related hashtags on Instagram. Currently on my must-eat list are sashimi and sushi (obviously), ramen (duh), tonkatsu, wagyu beef (how much should/must we spend?!), takoyaki (I’ve eaten my fair share at Toronto night markets but I want some authentic balls in Japan!), taiyaki, a ridiculous beef rice bowl, and of course, tsukemen (although if it’s too cold, I might just opt for good ol’ ramen instead). Oh my god, and did I mention really fresh uni? I’m drooling all over my keyboard already.
2. Meiji Jingu
I had a tough time deciding between this and Sensō-ji. While the Buddhist temple in Asakusa is also a can’t-miss, I’m really excited to see Meiji Jingu because every photo I have seen is exactly my definition of tranquility. You enter through a giant wooden torii gate and completely surround yourself with over 100,000 trees, a forest donated by the public to build the park dedicated to the country’s former emperor. While we’re there, I want to make a wish on a ‘ema’ — a wishing tablet — and receive a ‘goshuin’ (Meiji Jingu Memorial Seal) and a stamp to bring home.
How is it that my #1 pick is something you have never heard of? Well… As I was doing research about events in Tokyo during our stay, I learned that Tori-no-Ichi takes place on the days of the rooster, or ‘tori’, every 12 days in November. There are two days of the rooster in 2016, and the first of this year happens to fall on the last day of our stay! The festival celebrating good fortune takes place in shrines across Japan. Vendors at the fair sells bamboo ‘kumade’ rakes (yes, actual rakes) so you can rake in wealth and good luck. You bet I’m going to bring one home with me. I can’t wait to pick one out and experience the ‘tejime’, a Japanese ceremonial hand-clapping!
Make sure you check out Darren’s Tokyo Top 5 Picks to see how our choices overlap. One thing’s for certain though: we like to eat!
We’ll post our top 5 picks for Hong Kong in two days. For now, time to rest up as we countdown the work week…