2020 has been a wash, with Covid 19 hammering countries worldwide and impacting the travel and retail industry heavily, not withstanding restaurants and bars.

While we’re all waiting for the vaccine to be invented and released globally, why not plan for a trip to Japan in 2021 when the vaccine has hopefully been distributed?

Here, I have written 5 things do that people may be interested in doing while in Tokyo, spread out across different interests.

1 Okutama, Tokyo (Nature)

With its lush verdant nature, Okutama is not something that people immediately associate with Tokyo.

Located about 1.5 hours away by train, the Okutama natural area has forests, moutains and gorges, perfect for people who enjoy hiking. There is a visitor centre near the station and is definitely worth a stop to gather information before you embark on your adventure.

Access:

Taking the Chuo Line from Shinjuku station towards Tachikawa/ Hachioji station in the west. Change to Ome line at Tachikawa station. At Ome station, make the final change to Okutama station and alight at the terminal station.

2 Ghibli Museum (Anime)

The world famous Studio Ghibli originated from the Mitaka area, which is where the Ghibli Museum stands. Tickets are hard to get, so be sure to make an advanced booking by the 10th of each month (1 month in advance). Tickets are almost impossible to get on site.

Fans of Studio Ghibli will enjoy the homage to all the films inside the museum with their exquisite exhibits as well as enjoy a unique short animation that is only shown within the museum.

Access:

Take the Chuo Line from Shinjuku station westwards to Mitaka Station. Alight at Mitaka and follow the signs to the Ghibli Museum. It is about 15 mins walk through a nice park (this is also an enjoyable experience in itself.)

3. Golden Gai (Nightlife)

Tokyo is known for it’s vibrant nightlife. Most foreigners tend to flock to Roppongi area, and while it is rather tourist friendly, to get an even more authentic experience, Golden Gai, with it’s hole in the wall bar concept, may appeal to people who wish to experience drinking the local drinking culture.

When they talk about rubbing shoulders with the locals, they aren’t kidding. The bars here are mostly small and cramped, which one can say adds to the cosiness. Prices vary by bar and the drink you order.

If you are looking to have a nice chat with locals (likely in Japanese or in simple English), this might be a good place to go.

Access:

At Shinjuku station, head out from Exit E1. Walk straight for about 5 mins and you’ll see the neon lit alleys soon.

4 Menya Ittou 麵屋一燈 (Food)

Menya Ittou opened in 2010 and has been consistently ranked among Tokyo’s top 20 ramen experiences. They have 5 shops in the Koiwa area, all with different menus and unique dishes.

The original store in Higashi Shin Koiwa is supposedly still the best. The waiting line can be up to 2 hours, so better come prepared or come early. Patrons are sometimes issued with a numbered slip to show your place in the queue.

The quality is definitely there; the noodles are made in house from several varieties of flour, the soup is rich and savory, the roasted meat slices are delicious.

This ramen is definitely worth trying if you have the time and the patience.

Access:

Take a train to JR Shin Koiwa station on the east side of Tokyo. The original store is about 10-15 mins walk from the station.

Ittou | 麵屋一燈
Opening Hours: 11am-3pm, 6pm-10pm
Days Closed: None
1-4-17 Higashishinkoiwa Katsushika Tokyo
東京都 葛飾区 東新小岩 1-4-17

5 Kimono Experience (Culture)

Asakusa is culturally significant in Tokyo, with its ancient temple, Sensoji, as well as Nakamise Street, the long stretch of shops that lead to the main temple that has been maintained for more than a century.

While soaking in the ambience, why not rent a kimono to enhance the experience even further?

FujiHanami Kimono Rental offers a wide range of kimonos of all colors and patterns, there will be one to suit every taste. During the summer, go for the bright eye catching yukatas to keep cool while looking your best! During the cooler weather, go for kimonos that even include the most premium furisode kimonos with their luxurious embroidery and beautiful long sleeves.

Access:

Take the Ginza line to Asakusa station. Exit from the North exit and look for the Starbucks coffee in the area. Fujihanami Kimono Rental is on 3rd floor of the building next to Starbucks

So there you have it, 5 places to go and try different experiences while in Tokyo. What kind of activities do you think are interesting, do drop a comment if you have other places to share.

Thanks for reading, until next time.