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12 Must-Do Experiences in Tokyo

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From the restaurants and markets to the parks and museums, Tokyo has hundreds of things you must do. But what really sets Tokyo apart is the crazy cross between past and future and how this dichotomy gets expressed everywhere. Where else can you experience eating at a traditional 3-star Michelin sushi restaurant with Buddhist temples, ultra-modern architecture and statues of giant robots all within a stone’s throw of each other? In Tokyo, always expect to experience the unexpected.
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Japan, 〒160-0004 Tōkyō-to, Shinjuku-ku, 新宿区Yotsuya, 1 Chome−1−11 陽臨堂ビル 1F
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When I took my beautiful wife to Tokyo to celebrate her birthday in March, because we only had three days in town we had to very carefully curate our dining choices. While we did visit an old favourite, most of the restaurants we visited were new...
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Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Shibuya is a center of Japanese fashion, culture, color, noise, and light. Harajuku girls? They're in Shibuya. Manga? Find it in Shibuya. Biggest scramble crossing in the world? Sit at the Starbucks in Shibuya and marvel at the madness below. You...
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Japan, 〒163-8001 Tōkyō-to, Shinjuku-ku, Nishishinjuku, 2 Chome−8−1
View of Tokyo at dusk as seen from the 54th floor observation deck of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Nishi-shinjuku. Admission to the observatory is free and well worth it for a fantastic, sweeping view of the Tokyo skyline.
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Tokyo, Japan
Japan has the highest number of vending machines per capita. All across Japan you'll find machines selling all sorts of items—coffee in cans (hot or cold), sushi, umbrellas, alcohol, pornography, trinkets, noodles, books, eggs, and so much more....
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Japan, 〒135-0064 Tokyo, 江東区青海1丁目1−10
Everyone knows Japan is famous for certain things—sushi, geisha, Mt. Fuji, samurai and ninja, Godzilla, and of course giant robots. And in Tokyo, even the latter is real—at least, life-sized mockups of them are. A great place to see one is Odaiba,...
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2-1 Yoyogikamizonochō, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 151-0052, Japan
Last November my wife and I had an 11-hour layover at Narita Airport, and so we took the Narita Express and then the Yamanote line into Shibuya. After Shibuya, we walked to Yoyogi Park. It was a Sunday morning, and the dry cold air made us feel...
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4丁目-7-35 Shibakōen, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 105-0011, Japan
Here is one of the many wacky costumes that runners wear during the Tokyo Marathon. Held every year in February, it's hands-down the most entertaining race in the world.
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1 Chome-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka-shi, Tōkyō-to 181-0013, Japan
A great trip with the kids or adult fans of Miyazaki's films. We bought tickets at our local JTB office in NYC as it's necessary to reserve in advance. Only a 40 minute train ride from Shinjuku, the museum is located in Inokashira Park which is...
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Japan, 〒107-6290 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Akasaka, 9丁目7−6 東京ミッドタウン・ガーデン内
Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake created this experimental design museum, and star Japanese architect Tadao Ando constructed the building. The museum always has great installations by artists such as the industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa. —...
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6 Chome-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 106-0032, Japan
Kapital is a really cool clothing chain known for its denim. They have two shops in Roppongi Hills—Kapital Duffle and Kapital Legs. I always pick up tabi, these handmade split-toe socks. They are split between the big toe and other toes and are...
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Japan, 〒100-0006 Tōkyō-to, Chiyoda-ku, Yūrakuchō, 2 Chome−10−1
Koji, a volunteer for Tokyo Free Guide, knew only that I wanted to experience something in the city related to food. Instead of taking me to the Tsukiji fish market, he led me to a shopping mall in the Ginza neighborhood. We descended into the...
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Japan, 〒104-0045 Tōkyō-to, Chūō-ku, Tsukiji, 5 Chome−2−1
The Tsukiji Market is the world's largest seafood market, with more than 2,000 tons of seafood moving through it daily. There are two parts to the operation: the inner market, or jonai, accessible after 10 a.m., and the outer market, or jogai,...