After spontaneously booking flights to Japan (seeing a cheap Jetstar sale I couldn’t say no to) I never thought how much I would truly enjoy this country! With only traveling to two places (Hakuba & Tokyo) in Japan I was impressed with the amount of unusual things to do. I love Japan so much that I am ironically making sushi for lunch as I write this post haha! Anyway here is my guide for the 10 top best experiences I had and recommend in this beautiful country!
Take a day off from your busy schedule, you won’t regret it! We paid around $100 AUD to ride around for about an hour but man was it fun and so worth it! We booked this through the hotel we were staying at, and the company Hakuba Lion Adventure picked us up from our hotel and took us to Hakuba 47 (a ski area) where the track was. Would highly recommend! It’s not really a budget traveller activity but if you have the money to spent it’s sooo much fun!
TIP: Organize through your hotel/accommodation when you arrive, a lot easier and hassle free.
SHIBUYA CROSSING, TOKYO
A MUST MUST MUST see if you’re in Tokyo! An easy place to get to on the train (just get off at Shibuya station taking the Hachikō Exit), we stood there in owe for a good 10 minutes just watching! Whether it’s the huge TV screens, flashing bright colours, hundreds of scrambling people or the shopping galore this place is truly something magical! And best of all its free!
TIP: Allow lots of time here, you’ll never want to leave!
TRY AND NAVIGATE JAPANS RAIL SYSTEM
It’s kinda like a fun game like Russian roulette… It’s definitely an adventure on its own! If you have time to kill (pun intended), hop on a train and see where it takes you! Then you can truly #nowgogetlost !
TIP: buy an unlimited day train pass! There will be an option on the payment screens when you go to purchase. Will save you heaps of money instead of buying single one-way tickets and they are only $10 a day! Cheap as chips.
TOKYO SKY TREE
Tokyo sky tree is the tallest observation tower in the world! Gives you an amazing birds eye view of Tokyo’s concrete jungle and admission tickets are only about $21 AUD. Take the train to Oshiage and the sky tree is in walking distance. You can get on another line called the ‘Tobu SKYTREE line’ but that is a privately owned line meaning your all day unlimited pass won’t work on it, and you’ll have to pay for another ticket (just another way for them to make more money!)
TIP: take the train to Oshiage station it’s the exact same place the ‘Tobu SKYTREE line’ takes you, just cheaper! That’s what we want!
EAT AT A TRADITIONAL JAPANESE RESTURANT
You know those ones where you have to take your shoes off, sit on the floor and order something from a menu you can’t read? Yep one of those! It is still a fun way to experience how locals traditionally eat even if you do end up with all this strange looking food on the table. We just found a place off the street, no booking just walked in and it was all good. A must to do!
TIP: Google ‘how to stay chicken in Japanese or vegetables etc. before you go. Self explanatory…. If you’re willing to take the chance, be prepared for some real ‘shits and gigs’
TAKE A DAY TRIP TO SEE THE SNOW MONKEYS
Again we booked this through our hotel, Hakuba Gondola Hotel. We set out on a day trip to ‘Jigokudani Wild Money Hotsprings’, which was around $110AUD but very value for money! It included the bus ride there, traditional lunch, entry into the park, stop at a temple and the bus back. To me, there’s something amazing about seeing animals in their natural habitat and this was nothing short of that! A very cool experience, would recommend for anyone and everyone!
TIP: Take a backpack with everything you need! Hand wipes, snacks, heaps of water and all that good stuff. It’s a really long day and man did I wish I was more prepared!
SHOP TILL YOU DROP!
There are heaps of huge shopping centers in Japan, which sell almost everything weird and wonderful you can imagine! We had a look at ‘Electric Town’ aka Akihabara which is a shopping district for video games, computer goods, arcades and pretty much anything electrical like phone shops etc. (just get off the train at Akihabara station) could definitely waste a day there! We also explored to Odaiba, which is an artificial island in Tokyo Bay. Lots of cool things to do here like see the Toyota car exhibition, go on a 115 meter Ferris wheel, see a concert at Zepp (Tokyo’s largest performance hall/nightclub), Fuji television studios, museums, a replica of the statue of libery, Diver City Plaza (with zara, H&M etc.) and heaps more!
TIP: Odaiba is a privately owned island so you do have to pay for a ticket to go on the Yurikamome line (if you buy an unlimited day train pass it will not work on this line)
Again heaps of temples to discover with loads of history, best way to find out cool ones is to ask locals/hotel staff members. They usually can help you with transportation as well. We went to Matsumoto Castle on our way from Hakuba to Tokyo as well as Zenkoji temple, Hosonosuwa shrine and a couple of other ones we randomly found. Beautiful structures with strong cultural meanings. We also found many by just walking around where we were staying and exploring different streets that looked interesting.
TIP: Bow to show respect to the gods of the shrine before entering.
HAVE A LAUGH AT A WERID THEMED RESTURANTS
You’ve come to the right place! Japan, home of the weirdest things you will ever see! We went to a robot and a prison hospital themed restaurants in Tokyo. All were as outrageously crazy as each other!
– The robot restaurant was in Shinjuku (address- B2F Shinjuku Robot Bldg, 1-7-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo) get off the train at Shinjuku station. Was about $52AUD each (pretty pricey), which included the show and a small cold meal called a Bento Box. Show goes for around 3 hours and if you’re a light minded person wanting a laugh go along and have some fun. Wouldn’t recommend if you’re wanting an awarding winning show with an amazing dinner because I’ll be honest, it certainty wasn’t that. But it was weirdly entertaining and funny (YouTube it if your curious) I’ll leave it at that.
– The prison hospital restaurant called Alcatraz ER was definitely the coolest place we ate at and I would recommend it 100%! You are the patient and the waitresses are dressed as creepy nurses who lock you in a cell! All meals and cocktails are presented in a hospital like way with syringes and test tubes. They even black out the lights in the middle of your meal and pretend like someone is escaping. This place has coolest atmosphere and the staff mess around with you for a bit of fun. We all loved this place!!!
Why not have a bit of fun with some crazy themed restaurants, after all you are in Japan!
TIP: Have some sort of an idea of where to go when you get off the train or at least allow heaps of time to get there. We just winged it every time buy asking people on the street, who were actually really nice and extremely helpful 95% of the time but you may not be so lucky… Or just allow some extra time to #nowgogetlost
Skiing in Japan was sick! I went to Hakuba and stayed at the Hakuba Gondola Hotel, which was just across the road from the main Gondola at Happo-one ski area. There are 11 different mountains you can ski at from the one ticket and there are also free shuttle busses that take you to whatever mountain you choose (ask for the timetable at your hotel). The more days you ski the cheaper it is, but I got a 5 day lift pass and it was about $260 AUD equaling about $52 a day, which I think is decent considering Australian ski passes are usually over $100 a day! Heaps of great runs and cafes to get food through out the day and the quality of the snow was nothing short of amazing!
TIP: Stay close to a lift/gondola! Nothing worse than having to carry all your gear for a long time, especially at the end of the day when all you want to do is have a hot shower and take off those uncomfortable boots!
NEXT – VISITING THE HOTTEST PLACE ON EARTH – DEATH VALLEY, USA
Have you been to Japan? Tell me below what your favorite things to do were!