Tokyo, the exciting and enigmatic capital city of Japan. Past and present are seamlessly blended together, both physically and culturally. Of all the things to do in Tokyo, simply exploring and experiencing the city will yield the biggest impact. Take a step down any lane and you’ll find something, or many things, that will surprise you and make you question everything you thought you knew!
1. Have an exciting day out at Tokyo Racecourse
You might be wondering how exactly a racetrack fits into your list of things to see and do in Tokyo, but the Tokyo Racecourse is something quite different altogether. First opened in 1933, this historic destination has recently received the addition of the “Fuji View Grandstand” which boasts a view of Mount Fuji in the distance!
If you are lucky enough to visit Tokyo this November 24th, 2019, then you’ll have the chance to watch the “Japan Cup” G1 Big Race at the Tokyo Racecourse. If you make sure you are there between 9 am and 4 pm, you’ll get a special novelty gift for simply completing a short questionnaire. You can also take part in a stamp rally, which will include a 1000 Yen discount coupon for any of the food stalls.
As the racecourse is easily accessible from Shinjuku Station, it’s very easy to add it to your plan of what to do on your trip to Tokyo.
Moreover, you don’t have to worry about what the children are going to do to occupy themselves at the races, because Tokyo Racecourse is fully family-friendly! There is so much for kids to do, including; an adventure playground, horse riding, meeting horses, horse carriage rides, and more!
Don’t think that you’ll just be there to watch the horse races though, because there are a whole host of attractions to enjoy at the Tokyo Racecourse. Here just a few of our favourites:
The Fuji View Grandstand
With seating capacity for 19,000 excited spectators, it is the largest in Japan and also has a spectacular view of Mount Fuji as a backdrop!
This unique facility on the 5th floor of the Fuji View Grandstand is for women only – no men allowed! The idea is to provide a calm and quiet space where women can enjoy each others company and take some time out from the more chaotic scenes outside.
Japan is world-famous for its elegant garden style, so why would the racecourse be any different! Visit in the springtime if you want to see the cherry blossom and watch the Japanese carps swimming in the pond.
The Food Options
Every activity needs to be accompanied by great food, so we should be able to find it in one of the 100 restaurants, cafes and shops spread around Tokyo Racecourse! There are al kinds of food available, from traditional Japanese to Italian.
2. Experience the excitement of Toyosu Fish Market
Japan is renowned worldwide for its incredible sushi and Tokyo is no exception! The Toyosu Fish Market is where you can experience Tokyo’s daily tuna fish auction in all of its frenzied glory. Although the fish market is no longer located in its historic former home of Tsukiji, you can still visit the Tsukiji historic market to eat in one of the many eateries and food stalls.
3. Visit Sensō-ji temple in historic Asakusa neighbourhood
Step back in time to the Japan of old in the must-visit Tokyo Neighbourhood of Asakusa. Asakusa and its star attraction, the Sensō-ji temple, are completely unique within the whole city of Tokyo. This area has a truly classical Japanese feel and style, with the Nakamise shopping street leading you up the temple at the end of the street. Asakusa is also the perfect location from which to visit Japan’s oldest amusement park, Hanayashiki.
Suggested Tour: Tokyo Highlights Private Day Tour
4. Stroll around the old Yanaka Ginza Shitamachi
Tokyo’s Yanaka Ginza is one of the few places in the city where you can still experience what is left of the old Tokyo, outside of temples and museums. Formerly home to the lower-income residents of the city, shitmachi (or the low city) still retains its historic atmosphere. Nowadays, Yanaka Ginza Shitamachi is a popular shopping street, with the nearby Yuyake Dandan staircase having starred in a number of movies and television shows.
5. Visit Ryōgoku for a taste of Tokyo’s sumo culture
Sumo culture is synonymous with Japan and the centre of all things sumo in Tokyo are found in Ryogōku. At Ryogōku Kokugikan you can watch a real-life traditional sumo wrestling match, then enjoy lunch in the sumo restaurant, before finally learning all about sumo history at the sumo museum. You could easily spend a whole day on nothing else but sumo!
6. Take in the view from Tokyo Skytree
Did you know that Tokyo is home to the tallest tower in the world? Tokyo’s Skytower is an incredible 634 meters high and so obviously has the best views of the city! With no obstructions, it is even possible to see Mount Fuji in the distance on a clear day. At the base of the Skytree tower is Solamachi, or Skytree Town, with numerous places to dine and shop.
Suggested Tour: TOKYO SKYTREE® Admission Ticket
7. Explore the Tokyo Imperial Palace and gardens
Imperial Palace in Tokyo is home to the Japanese royal family, the longest-standing hereditary monarchy in world history. While the imperial East Palace garden is open to visitors all year, booking is required to tour the palace grounds. If you’re visiting during the spring cherry blossom, make sure you visit Chidori-ga-fuchi on the other side of the moat.
8. Feel the Tokyo hustle at Shibuya Crossing
Probably the most famous pedestrian crossing in the world after Beatles-famed Abbey Road is Shibuya Crossing. It is also the busiest in the world! One of the most popular attractions to visit in Tokyo is the nearby Hachikō Statue. It symbolizes the dog who never stopped waiting for his master outside the Shibuya station after his death.
9. Watch a traditional dance theatre at Kabuki-za
The rebuilt Kabuki-za theatre is the most prominent kabuki theatre in Tokyo and the surrounding region. The art of kabuki is a traditional form of theatre involving costumes, dancing and elaborate stage sets to tell stories. Enjoying a kabuki show is a truly enthralling experience and one unique to Japan.
10. Have dinner and drinks in “Piss Alley!”
In spite of its unfortunate nickname, Omoide Yokocho is actually Memory Lane! Regardless, this ancient narrow street is filled with eating and drinking spots that are popular with both locals and tourists. While you can find all kinds of food here, the dominant dish specialty is called Yakitori, or skewered meats.
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