1. Watch a sumo tournament
If you’re in Tokyo during tournament time in January, May or September, grab a ticket to the Ryogkoku Kokugikan for a real Tokyo treat. Watch the highly-ritualistic and stunning spectacle of huge sumo wrestlers staring each other down. Whoever pushes his opponent out of the ring wins. Not tournament season? Get your fix at the nearby Sumo Museum.
For a real Tokyo treat, catch a wrestling bout during Sumo season. Photo Credit: Flickr
2. Rise early for delectable sushi at Tsukiji Market
Out and about before the sun rises? Catch the world’s largest and busiest fish market and one of Tokyo’s most popular tourist attractions. The amazingly frenetic live tuna auctions start at 5am, but arrive early because standing space is first-come, first-served. If you can’t make the auction, stay for breakfast – the nearby restaurants offer some of the world’s freshest and tastiest sushi at extraordinarily reasonable prices.
Address: 5 Chome-2-1 Tsukiji
How to get there: walk from Tsukiji Shijo Station
Wake up early and get down to Tsukiji for the freshest sushi. Photo Credit: Flickr
3. Snap photos of the Harajuku cosplayers
Especially on the weekends, it’s impossible to miss the flamboyantly costumed crowds of Harajuku. See teenage fashion culture at its most extreme, as hundreds gather on the Jingu Bridge dressed as anime superheros, gothic lolitas, or popular visual-kei bands. They’re always ready with a pose, so snap away!
How to get there: walk from Harajuku station
Check out the edgy cosplay designs on Jingu Bridge. Photo Credit: Flickr
4. Be enchanted by the Ghibli Museum
Release your inner child in this whimsically designed ode to the magical worlds of Hayao Miyazaki’s animated movies. Full of delightful exhibitions and famous characters (including the cat bus from Totoro and the life-sized robot from Castle in the Sky), the museum also serves up great education on the history of animation.
Website: Ghibli Museum
Budding designers and anime freaks will love a day out at the Ghibli Museum. Photo Credit: Flickr
5. Get entertained at Yoyogi Park
From rockabillies with leather jackets and Elvis-hair, to hip-hop dancers, classical horn ensembles and punk rock bands, this city park attracts all sorts of amateur talent on the weekends. Bring a bento, have a picnic, and take your pick of the free entertainment.
How to get there: walk from Harajuku station
Go talent spotting with a picnic at Yoyogi Park. Photo Credit: Flickr
6. Explore the grounds of the Meiji Shrine
Enter through the majestic 12-meter torii gates into this oasis of tranquility. Nestled deep within a vast landscape of thousand-year-old Cypress trees, Tokyo’s most famous Shinto shrine is wonderfully peaceful. If you’re lucky, you might witness a traditional kimono-clad wedding procession.
Website: Meiji Shrine
Get a glimpse of traditional Japan at the Meiji Shrine. Photo Credit: Flickr
7. Barhop in the Golden Gai
Enter a time-warp into some of Tokyo’s most celebrated watering holes. The narrow alleys of the Golden Gai in Shinjuku are filled with tiny, interesting bars, each with its own unique personality. While some bars only welcome regulars, newer establishments display English signs and menus for foreigners. Drop in for drinks, camaraderie, and the colourful charm of Tokyo’s coolest bar neighbourhood.
Address: 1 Chome Kabukicho
How to get there: walk from Shinjuku station
Party up a storm in the weird and wonderful bars in the Golden Gai. Photo Credit: Flickr
8. Experience sensory overload at Akihabara
Akihabara is also known as Electric Town, the epicenter of pop culture, and mecca of die-hard anime and manga fans. Geek out at the multitude of electronics stores selling everything from motherboards to mobile phones, browse the bargain bins of games and toys, and experience the quirky service at the maid cafes.
How to get there: Akihabara station
Unleash the gadget geek in you in Akihabara. Photo Credit: Wikipedia
9. People-watch at Shibuya Crossing
When the lights turn red at this iconic six-way intersection outside Shibuya Station, traffic comes to a complete standstill, and pedestrians surge from all sides in a scramble of organised chaos. Nothing screams Tokyo like Shibuya Crossing – its sheer energy, gigantic video screens, blazing neon lights and of course, the incredible human tide.
How to get there: walk from Shibuya station
Get pulled along by the tide of life at the energetic and bewildering Shibuya Crossing. Photo Credit: Flickr
10. Stuck at the airport? Visit Narita town
If you have a long transit at Narita Airport, it is well-worth taking the 10-minute train ride out to Narita town. A charming and quaint microcosm of Japan, Narita is great for a slow-paced exploration of old wooden shops, small and authentic restaurants, a public bath, and a thousand-year old temple.
How to get there: take the Kasei Line from the airport to Narita, which departs every 20 minutes and takes 10 minutes (SGD3/JPY250)
You can still get a feel for authentic Japan on your airport layover with a trip to nearby Narita. Photo Credit: Flickr
f you are in Japan during the rugby tournaments and need some hep on navigating in the country, Skyscanner has prepared for you travel guides for Japan, Tokyo, Hokkaido / Sapporo and Kyoto and everything you need to know on the Japan Rail (JR) Pass.