You’ve eaten the sushi, seen the shrines, and bought the anime merch. But before your flight back from Tokyo, make sure you check these experiences off your list – or you’ll be filled with regret once that plane takes off!
1. Belt Your Heart Out at a Solo Karaoke Booth
Singing your favorite tunes completely alone might sound sad, but having the freedom to choose every song and sing as loudly as you want without judgement is euphoric. Splurge on a solo booth at a high-end karaoke spot like 1kara for a professional setup that will make you feel like a star.
2. Drive an Iconic Japanese Sports Car on Mount Fuji Touge Roads
Live your Fast and Furious dreams by renting a Nissan GT-R, Toyota Supra, or other JDM icon from Fun2Drive. Hit the windy “touge” roads around Mount Fuji for a once-in-a-lifetime driving experience before gears and gasoline get swapped for departures and duty-free.
3. Train Like a Real Shinobi Ninja Warrior at an Asakusa Dojo
Take your ninja fantasies to the next level with a 90-minute premium training session at a genuine Tokyo dojo (training hall). Master stealth steps, handmade ninja tools, shuriken throwing and sword skills while suited up in traditional Shinobi garb. You’ll gain profound insight into the physical, mental and philosophical facets of the ninja lifestyle – talk about a trip highlight!
4. Shop for Streetwear and Music at Nakano Broadway
Nakano Broadway is like a less touristy Akihabara focused on youth fashion and subcultures. Sift through racks vintage threads or J-pop idol group merch before stopping for dessert – this shopping complex has it all.
5. Eat Your Weight in Tokyo’s Famous Sweets
Tokyo’s dessert game is strong, with everything from over-the-top pancake stacks to artisanal gelato. Don’t make the mistake of prioritizing savory foods only to miss out on world-class sweets – set aside a day just for sugar-fueled bliss.
6. Get the Full Onsen Experience at a Local Sento Bathhouse
Sentos, or public bathhouses, are a quintessential Japanese experience that many visitors miss out on. Watch some tutorial videos to familiarize yourself with onsen etiquette, then soak in steamy mineral water bliss alongside locals.
7. Spend a Day Getting Lost in the City’s Lesser-Known Areas
Tokyo rewards those who wander off the beaten path. Instead of big landmarks, dedicate a day to meandering side streets and neighborhoods. You’ll stumble upon mom-and-pop shops and eateries popular with locals but virtually unknown to tourists.
8. Play Real-Life VR Zombie Slayer
Ditch the maid cafes and head to Joypolis arcade’s Zero Latency booth, where you don a VR headset and roam a huge arena blasting zombies. At just ¥2500 for admission and the game, it’s a steal for the most futuristic fun you can have in Tokyo.
9. Make Friends with Salarymen Over Late-Night Izakaya Binges
Izakayas – Japan’s version of pubs – are places to unwind after work over booze and snacks. Late at night is when you’ll find world-weary salarymen letting loose. Chat them up to exchange cultural insights – and maybe some amusingly bad English. You can join a 3 hour tour with a local tour guide.
10. Battle Sumo Wrestlers and Chow Down on Chanko Nabe
Don’t leave Tokyo without experiencing the epic world of sumo wrestling firsthand. Catch an exhibition match with real life rikishi (wrestlers), learn about traditions and training regimens, then challenge a retired wrestler yourself! Worked up an appetite? Dig into chanko nabe, the protein-packed stew sumo champs eat daily to pack on pounds. Getting schooled by a 400 lb beast before stuffing your face with hot pot is a Japan bucket list must.
11. Visit the Edo-Tokyo Museum
Don’t leave without getting the full picture of Tokyo’s transformation from small fishing village to modern megalopolis at this massive museum dedicated to the city’s history. With replicas of historic buildings, theaters, and more, it’s an interactive education.
12. See Sensoji Temple at Night
Trade crowds for tranquility by visiting Asakusa’s iconic Sensoji Temple once the sun sets. The illuminated compound takes on an entirely different character, perfect for soaking in the spiritual atmosphere.
13. Taste Test Tokyo’s Affordable Michelin Ramen
Ramen doesn’t get better than Michelin-starred joints like Nakiryu and Tsuta – and it doesn’t have to blow your budget either. Be prepared to wait in line, but bowls of life-changing noodles for under ¥2000 are worth it.
14. Challenge Yourself at a Ninja Warrior Gym
Live out your Ninja Warrior or Sasuke fantasies at one of Tokyo’s many obstacle course gyms. Traverse warped walls, rope climbs, and monkey bars admist a neon-lit, club-like atmosphere for a workout you’ll never forget.
15. Experience Nature’s Beauty at a Hidden Early Morning Sakura Spot
Don’t just see the cherry blossoms – enjoy them in peace. Escape the crowds by visiting Meguro River or other sakura hotspots at dawn. Have a private hanami (flower viewing) moment before the hordes arrive.
16. I regret not canceling my flight and staying longer
However long you scheduled for your Tokyo trip, it won’t feel like enough. As your departure date looms, you’ll be plagued with the bittersweet realization that you’ve barely scratched the surface of this endlessly fascinating metropolis. Start planning your return as soon as you land!