This is my first post on the website so fingerscrossed I've put this on the right thread.
At the end of May, I will be travelling to Japan. During the first week, I will be in Osaka, Nara and Kyoto. I pretty much have this part of the journey covered. It's the week in Tokyo that I am having a bit more trouble with. I'm hoping that people can give me suggestions. I'll give you as much information as I can to give you a better idea of what I am looking for.
The first week of my trip will fulfill my need for temples. Tokyo is more about satisfying my love of pop-culture kitsch.
We'll probably be staying in Ebisu for the first half of the week. During this time, the main goal is to drown in the glory of Harajuku on a Sunday. I've heard there a few second-hand/vintage clothing stores like "Chicago"; I was wondering if there were any others in the area, or nearby areas that anyone knows of.
Since we are staying in Ebisu, I was hoping for suggestions of a nice place to go for a drink in the evening. To give you an idea, I like places that are laid back, with a cool/interesting atmosphere that isn't snobby or crazy crowded. I've also heard that the neighbouring section of Dai..Dai..oh I forget the name. But another neighbourhood nearby is good as well. Suggestions?
We'll be taking in Shibuya too. Again, any lesser known cool sights to see? Or shopping on the cheap?
Ikebukuro and Shinjuku will also be on the list for the west end, but I am a bit more confident about my plans for those areas.
During the second half of the week, we'll be in the east end. I am interested in seeing the architecture in Odaiba. Are a lot of the buildings visible from the water if I were to take cruise along the river?
And finally, I've seen a few ads for themed bars/bistros like the Christian bar (Christon?) and Ninja Akasaka. Does anyone know of other places like this that are worth a look?
Any advice would be appreciated!
Ebisu has a good photo museum, an okanomiyaki restaurant in the Garden Tower called Chibo(!?), get a seat by the window(maado in Japanese) at the counter you can watch the chefs cook and there`s a nice view.
Theres is also a Canadian owned place called Good Honest Grub that has greatlunches and brunches on the weekend.
Architecture is good in Odaiba, Roppongi Hills, and especially in the Nishi-Shinjuku skyscraper districts(no crowds on the weekend or go during the week to feel the pace of the city`s business and government district).
For pop culture: Akihabara for high tech heaven and otaku culture, check out a "maid cafe".
Hachiko at nite in Shinjuku for youth culture and some wild styles.
Cafes and walking aimlessy in Daikaiyama and Omotesando.
Kanda and Jimbocho are laid back university areas lots of bookshops(a few in English), cafes, cheap places to eat and drink and some good places to shop.
Shimokitazawa has lots of good second hand clothing and music stores and small hole in the wall drinking places in unique spaces with cool local customers.
Red light distract sightseeing in Kabukicho. And check Japan`s ubiquitous love hotels for a real trip, they are all over but theres a good concentration in Dogenzaka.
And takeshita dori in Harajuku on the weekend(after you see the costume show near Mejijingumae exit in Harajuku stntion) for a crazy shopping trip.
Theres a few crazy theme bars, especially ER /Alcatraz and Ninja. I think Ninja is in Akasaka but not sure about the other one.
Good cheap shopping in Ueno street markets and things you can`t even hope to afford(but worth a look) are in Ginza. Nearby Ginza in Yuracho under the train tracks are good very local places to eat.
I could go on and on so if you have anymore q`s ask.
Thanks for the reply. I've spent the last few days looking up any of the references I wasn't familiar with. The maid cafe idea is on the right track, but I don't know how long I could stand being in one
I am sure I will have more questions as I go along. Just from looking up some of the smaller places you mentioned, I've been able to stumble across some new ideas on the internet.
You didn't say whether or not a person could see any of the interesting architecture in Odaiba while on a river cruise. Any idea?
On a totally seperate topic, I've been asked by my travel partner to find any places to visit regarding samurai. He was non-specific about WHAT exactly. I know that there are a few museums with things like samurai artifacts on display, but was wondering if there was some another type of heritage site or..castle..or..something that really focuses on the samurai history. It could be in the Osaka/Kyoto/Nara area...or a day trip from Tokyo as well. Suggestions?
You are going to fall in love with Harajuku!!!its amazing!!!!Check out my blog to see some pictures!!!!Head to Takeshita Street and you will just be overwhelmed by all the crazy stores!!!Theres hundreds!!!When you first enter the street there is a little shop on your left hand side, where all the staff are singing and shouting and you will see super quirky costume jewellery cascading out of the doors!This place is really cheap and you can get the quirkiest, cute little accessories there!!!You cant miss the place!!!!I absolutley loved Harajuku!!!!
Also in Tokyo for shopping head to La Foret and Isetan, really cool department stores!!!Theres loads of great little shops around the Shinjuku area!For temples in Tokyo you must check out Asakusa, so beautiful!
Nara is amazing, go and see the little wild deer!!!!
Last time I was in Tokyo we went to the weirdest, most wonderful "only in Japan" place for dinner/entertainment, on the recommendation of friends. The place is called Kagaya and is run by a loveable Japanese oddball known as Mark. You have to follow random frog and rabbit signs to find the place (we got lost and called mark who fetched us from the station)and once there he home-cooks whatever you fancy in his little kitchen and delivers it in a truly unique way!! I can't say any more or I'd ruin the surprise. I'm being rubbish and can't remember where it is, I think the rough guide mentions it though (or LP?)You can find links on google.
Take a few friends and an open mind!
(ps you have to book ahead, he can probably fit 10-15 max.)
Thank you to both Twinkle and tsubaki (Ali). I've made notes on both posts.
As an additional question (though I think I may post this in a new thread as well), is there a meeting place in Tokyo in a park where people go to practice their English? I've watched one too many LP shows in my life, and can't remember clearly if it was in Japan or not.