Welcome to the hustle & the neon lights!
We stayed in the The Prince Sakura Autograph Collection Marriott Hotel for our stay in Tokyo. The rooms were spacious, the hotel itself was elegant and classy, and the location of the hotel was convenient as it was only a block or two away from the Shinagawa Station.The room was very large, had a comfortable king sized bed, excellent bathroom with shower and a jetted tub, and many amenities are provided such as: refrigerator, mini bar, fruit basket, and toiletries. Breakfast was free of charge with platinum status or ¥3500 per person otherwise. They provided eggs served to order, pastries, soups, fruit, salad bar, French toast, waffles, etc. They also had a Japanese style breakfast for those interested.
Because we arrived in Tokyo in the late afternoon we decided to take the train to Odaiba to visit Diver City Plaza. The environment of this mall was less “hustle and bustle” than other places in Tokyo and was nice for an evening stroll and had great shopping. Logan always loved watching Gundam when he was a kid and had many figurines growing up so naturally we had to visit the GIANT Gundam and the Gundam Cafe while visiting Odaiba.
Restaurant: Gyoza place in the 1F of Diver City – We wanted a light meal so we stopped by the food court in Diver City. There were plenty of options but we decided to try the gyoza stand. The food was better than you would expect for a food court, and the prices were very reasonable.
Snack: Tokyo Crepe Girls (1F of Diver City) – After our meal we wanted something sweet so we stopped by the Tokyo Crepe Girls. As per most crepe stands in Japan, they were fresh and quite delicious.
Meiji Jingu & Yoyogi Park: The walk through Yoyogi park was delightful on the cloudy day we decided to visit Meiji Jingu. We stopped at the welcome gate and the kind gentleman there gave us insect repellent and gave us directions through the park. When we reached Meiji shrine we loved the beautiful Torii and temple buildings. There was a wedding while we visited which was quite the cultural experience! However Meiji was not the most impressive temple we had visited in Japan and it was busy when we went.
Harajuku takeshita-dori: When visiting Harajuku we assumed we would see many cosplayers, as we were told that the best time to visit was Sunday. We were somewhat disappointed that we didn’t see anyone dressed up but we also arrived early in the day. If we had more time we definitely would have gone back to try to see this side of Japan’s culture again.
Restaurant: Smoke House | this was the only “Americanized” restaurant we visited while in Japan simply because it wasn’t as crowded as others and we were passing it on the street while walking towards Shibuya. For it being a BBQ restaurant the food was excellent and not overpriced.
Shibuya Pedestrian Scramble: This picturesque intersection of Shibuya has been featured in a lot of films in recent years, and is a popular area for shopping and dining. Honestly, we stopped and watched the spectacle for quite awhile, it’s amazing how synchronized everything was at this busy intersection.
Travel tip: While in Shibuya we bought a piece of small luggage at Don Quixote because we had bought so many souvenirs! If you are looking for some luggage this is the place to go. They also have other locations across Tokyo.
Robot Restaurant | The Robot Restaurant it is not technically a restaurant but more of a show. They do have snacks for sale but you must purchase meal tickets before the show otherwise you will not be able to eat there. We recommend eating before or after the show! While this is definitely a tourist trap, we really enjoyed it. The only thing we wish was that some of the songs were in Japanese rather than English (which the entire show was).
Restaurant: Kirchiran | Since we got out of the Robot Restaurant so late we decided to check out a soba noodle place called Kirchiran at the Shinagawa JR station. At many noodle shops in Japan you place your order on what looks like a vending machine and after paying it prints a ticket that you give to the chef. These restaurants are typically very fast paced and some do not offer seating in order to get customers in and out quickly.
Akihabara | the best place for anime, manga, and electronics. It’s also just fun to look around which we did so for quite a few hours! We recommend these stores: Animate and BOOK OFF (second hand).
Ueno | Ameyoko Shopping Street: while we did not visit the park in Ueno (we found out later that it was a recommended hot spot) we did visit the markets there. We would say that these were not our favorite places to shop as it was very crowded and overpriced, but we did find it interesting to see! We would suggest checking out the park nearby if you are in the area.
Tokyo station (Tokyu Hands): On our way back to visit Odaiba we stopped at the Tokyo Station to visit the widely popular department store Tokyu Hands and other stores inside the station. It is similar to other department stores we have been to but has many items unique to Japan. We also got a taste of Taiyaki a sweet cake with red bean paste inside
We decided to go back to Odaiba for the evening because we loved the view of the Rainbow Bridge from here and decided to check out some of the stores we had not been able to previously. While there we visited the Venus Outlet and the Aqua City Mall.
Restaurant: Apollo Buffet | This was an excellent buffet in the mall that had many varying types of Japanese cuisine. It also had a nice view of the city and the Gundam Statue.
That morning we went to Roppongi to visit a few shopping centers and to view Tokyo Tower. While there we found a grocery store (something few and far between) called Precce on floor B1. Here is the address for fellow travelers. Japan, 〒107-0052 Tokyo, Minato, Akasaka, 9 Chome−9−7−4, Tokyo Midtown, 東京ミッドタウンガーデンサイド地下１階
While visiting Roppongi Heights we found out that they were hosting the Avengers premier that evening. Having just seen the movie, we decided to change our plans and go back to witness this once in a lifetime opportunity!
Asakusa | we originally planned to skip Asakusa due to the amount of shrines we had already been to, but while eating lunch at Precce, we spoke with a man from India that had recently relocated to Japan for his career. He said that anytime he had a business client in Tokyo he always recommended Asakusa for the ample amount of street markets and the beauty of the temple. After hearing this, we had to go and check it out, it did not disappoint!
Edo-Tokyo Museum | Hours: 9:30am-7pm | before going back for the Avengers premier, we decided to visit the Edo-Tokyo Museum based on the recommendation of a friend that had been living in Japan. We would highly recommend this as it was a very unique cultural experience that grasped what life was like in Japan over many centuries. You could easily spend three hours here and be intrigued by the fascinating cultural experiences.
Tokyo Tower | After going to the Avengers premier we decided to go to the Tokyo Tower, as we had heard it was beautiful at night. As you can see, it was rather breathtaking. We opted to not pay the money to go to the top as we felt it was more beautiful from the outside but you can go inside to the restaurants and souvenir stands free of charge.
On our last day in Tokyo we decided to visit the iconic Tokyo Disney Sea which is completely unique to Japan. The food, snacks, and beverages were surprisingly inexpensive and if you ever wanted Disney souvenirs this is the place for it (I bought Minnie Mouse ears for 1400¥ and they also had some for less). This park was geared more for teenagers and adults but they had a nice variety of rides for children as well. Something else we loved about Tokyo Disney Sea is the fact that you do not have to pay extra for a Fast Pass (a pass that gives you a time to return to the ride and skip the line). We recommend doing the fast pass for the top rides as you can only get one fast pass every hour.
Lunch: Yucatan Base Camp Grill| we had the smoked chicken, mexican rice, dessert, and a drink. It was okay, but we found other places in the park that were much more satisfying!
Snacks: By the Arabian area of the park we tried the soft serve and shaved ice with coconut milk. It was truly delicious! Another must try is the popcorn flavors. You can get a decent size basket for 310¥. We liked the white chocolate and the cheddar jalapeño.
Dinner: Sailing Day Buffet | 2880¥ | This was a more “expensive” meal but there was a great variety in the food choices and everything we had was very good!
Check out our photos of Tokyo Disney Sea below ↓
Some things to note about Tokyo:
-If you are planning to visit the Studio Ghibli Museum you must buy tickets at least a month in advance! We did not know this prior to our trip and to our disappointment were unable to visit.
-Tokyo is extremely spread out. Despite our planning we did feel like we were running around in circles a lot. We would suggest mapping out the places you would like to visit so that you aren’t wasting a lot of time on trains.
Being such a huge city we obviously didn’t get the chance to see everything. What would be your recommendations for dining and attractions for our followers or for our next trip to Tokyo?