Japan Travel "Must See" guide

Hello everyone,

Here is my Japan travel guide. It is currently very unorganized but it will be improved slowly and surely when I get time to edit and format. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions.

This is going to be updated in parts because formatting for the forums from my original document just takes a while.

Please keep in mind that this guide is written for a few of my friends planning on travelling this summer to the Olympics (a few of them are part of a Olympic team or associated with one of the Sports Federations) and a few others just before the Olympics around April or May. I may extend or make a new guide for the winter.

Some stuff are not really a “must see” but more like general tip that I usually give out. Please note the places/ideas I am listing are places that I have personally been to or passed by, or at least highly recommended by my family. There may be places that are also “must see” but I haven’t been to them so I can’t personally recommend them. You can look at those places online if you wish.

Currently this guide is written for the summer.
Regarding the summer/August, it is going to be VERY hot, and depending on where you are, also very humid. I would HIGHLY recommend going up north where it is cooler to avoid the heat. Also, in mid August this year, it is the Obon holidays. Things will be closed as people make their way back to their hometowns to visit family. Kind of like Japanese Thanksgiving. However, there are festivals and fireworks you can attend during Obon. Travel will be VERY busy during the days leading up to Obon and during the last day of Obon as this is one of the only few holidays that it is culturally acceptable to actually take a day off and travel.


If you are considering Rail Passes, do note what places you can reach with it and what places you want to go before making your rail pass selection. There are many alternative methods that may work out cheaper or easier.

As you may know, the main to intercity transportation method is air and via Shinkansen (bullet trains). If you are flying domestically on a temporary visitor visa, you can fly basically anywhere within Japan for $100 USD or less plus taxes. The major airlines will have a discounted fare program for visitors. Another alternative is to take one of the low cost air carriers, and if booked a week or two in advance, a flight could be around $60 or less. It is usually cheaper to fly between the major cities than to take the Shinkansen unless you have a “rail pass.”

Rail and ground transportation is more convenient like most of the world, it offers city centre to city centre transport and easy connections to local transportation like buses, subways, and local train service.

Rail passes come in different formats and packages, the most common being the Japan Rail Pass, which allows unlimited access to all railways operated by the companies in the JR Group, a group of independent, some privatized, all formally nationalized, railway companies. There are also other passes that most individual JR railway companies and third party private railways sell. Honestly, while train travel is one of the best and most convenient in the world, it is extremely convoluted when it comes to ticketing, transfers, and journey planning. I’ll explain in a moment why these rail passes are important with your trip planning in a moment, as not all places are covered by certain passes, or they require a combination of passes, adjusting activation date, etc. Also, most if not all of the rail passes either require you or offer a significant discount when you purchase outside of Japan. You can usually find these at your local Japanese travel agent or affiliated agency such as JTB, Nippon Travel Agency, KINTETSU INTERNATIONAL (affiliated with H.I.S.), and Tobu Top Tours (affiliated with IACE). See here for a list of agents.

The common rail passes are the JR Japan Rail Pass 7 days, and 14 days. These comes in ordinary and green class. There are also the JR East Pass, JR Tokyo Wide PASS, the JR-West Rail PASSes, and JR Central (aka JR Tokaido) tourist pass. Rail passes are only worth it if you are travelling between cities, or doing a multi day excursion from the large cities (Tokyo, Osaka, etc.) You may want to plan around that with pass validity dates if you want to save some money. Some places can be reached using JR Japan Rail Pass, some palaces can’t. The JR Japan Rail Pass 7 day is only worth it if you are travelling 3 legs between Tokyo and other major cities, or 2 legs (a return) with a lot of short regional excursions. The regional passes are great if you have set up a “base” at one of the major cities and want to do excursions/overnight trips to the surrounding area.

Restaurant/Food Recommendations Part 1

You can almost always find a food floor at the top of a mall or department store. A British style food hall can be found on the bottom or basement of most department stores along with a supermarket. All major train stations will have an area dedicated to restaurants and bentos, usually in the basement level. When in doubt you can always find dining at transportation hubs. Some train stations even have standing restaurants on the platforms!

What I recommend is usually on the cheaper end, what locals would choose. For the more fancy high end, it has its own Netflix show type stuff, I recommend doing some research on your own as I have limited experience to share.

Also there is no tipping in Japan, some may view it as disrespectful. Tax is 10% as of October 1st 2019. They took like 8 years to finally increase it. Also, some places the English menu is more expensive or have only limited selection. Sometimes it is even shadier and they put only the expensive things on the English menu.

$ Cheap! Like less than 10 dollars per person

$$ Mid range, 10-20 dollars per person

$$$ Upper mid range 20 - 30 dollars per person

$$$$ High range 30 - 80 dollars per person

$$$$$ Expensive 80 - 300 dollars per person

Does not include cuisines/restaurants not part of this Honshu must see area. Eg. Places I would recommend in Hokkaido are not included.

  • Okonomiyaki: a savoury pancake, mostly known for being a western Japan/kansai food
    • Momochan and Kurawanka. Miyajima $ to $$
    • There is this one shop on the top floor of LUCUA Osaka. I don’t recall the name but it is quite good. $$
    • Negiyaki Yamamoto: Osaka City 3 branches. Okonomiyaki but with a twist, they use green onions instead of a cabbage base. The one I went to is in the basement of Shin-Osaka station. $$
    • Tsuruhashi Fugetsu: Nationwide chain. Fairly wide variety of styles and plenty of random side things you can order. Your table will have a hot plate and you can cook the side dishes yourself. However, the server will help prepare the okonomiyaki itself, so don’t touch it! Or else you will get scolded!
  • Takoyaki: grilled octopus balls! A specialty of Kansai. You can find stalls that sell them everywhere in Kansai and you can never go wrong with them.
    • Kukuru: many branches in Osaka. Get their “surprise” flavor, you get large chunks of octopus. $
    • じゃんぼ總本店 (Jambo sohonten): nationwide chain. Your typical but good takoyaki stand. $
  • Kushiage/Kushikatsu: deep fried food on a stick! The perfect beer food. You dip your stick in the sauce you want, but NO DOUBLE DIPPING! The sauces are shared.
    • Kushiage Daruma: Main store in Shinsekai, branches all around the area. The home of the kushiage. Simple the best and the most famous. Seats 10 and english menu have the same prices as the regular one. I checked! $
    • Echigen: located just around the corner from Daruma. Their egg kushiage and chicken cutlet are a must try. Chicken cartilage and pork ribs are also recommended. $
    • Matsuba Sohonten: located in Shin Umeda Shokudogai. A dinky little store that is dimly lit, this is where the locals get their fix. Not sure if they have an foreign friendly menu. Definitely no credit cards accepted. $
      • Shin Umeda Shokudogai: Also check out the other stalls and restaurants in that building. It is the local hang out spot with tons of cheap eats (and drunk businessmen)
  • Udon: thick wheat flour noodle, served with a variety of toppings and choice of noodle soup. Sometimes available hot or cold, cold is perfect for a hot summer day.
    • marukame udon: nationwide chain. Choose your choice of soup/egg/base, then hot or cold and size. The chef will prepare your bowl, and you place it on your tray. Then select what you want to get with your udon, usually some sort of tempura or onigiri. Top with your choice of tempura flakes and green onions and pay at the end of the line. TODO: put in the ordering guide for udon. $
    • Oniyamma: gotanda station. This tiny stand is my favourite udon place. Standing only and they store/prep their noodles in the attic. Always a lineup but it goes quick. They fold out a little ladder from the ceiling to access it. Buy your ticket outside with the toppings you want and once a spot opens, stand there and hand your chef your tickets. Fast and delicious and a definitely unique experience. There is this Indian guy and he does amazing tempura when he is on shift. $
  • Ramen: yellow wheat noodles. You find these everywhere (even in Canada and the US). Every region has a style, I usually talk to some of the ramen chefs to find out about their local specialty.
    • Nakiryu: Otsuka station, Tokyo. Michelin Star ramen. See my comments above in the Tokyo section about it. Good for trying once or when the line is short. $$$
    • Yoshimuraya: Yokohama Japan. Again see my comments in the Yokohama section on it. The best for Yokohama style ramen. You buy your ticket outside, let the chef know what firmness of noodles you want. $
    • Ichiran: nationwide chain. A famous Fukuoka style tonkotsu ramen shop with a unique twist. You can eat at this restaurant with ZERO interaction. Buy your ticket at the machine. Fill out a form about your preferences and noodle firmness. Look at the light board for a seat/booth available. When you sit down, place your ticket and preference sheet down and the chefs will open the slot and take your order. After a short while they open the slot again and hand you your noodles. Done! Fill out your chopstick form if you want extra noodles. $ to $$
    • Ippudo: nationwide chain. Claims to be the most famous tonkotsu ramen. Also a Fukuoka style ramen. Better broth than Ichiran in my opinion. $$
    • Kadoya Shokudo: Nishi Ward, Osaka. One of the best in town. A local favourite. $$
    • 七福神 (shichifukujin): Kyoto. Although the broth isn’t the best, overall it is a solid place to get ramen. $$
    • Ramen Zundo Ya: nation wide, mainly in Kansai. Thin noodles with great broth. Large portions (relatively to other Japanese portions). $
  • Curry: Japanese style
    • Coco: nationwide chain. You can find coco almost everywhere, and English menu is readily available. Choose your type of curry and customize the amount of rice and spice. Pretty fun choose your own adventure type menu. $$
  • Gyudon: beef on top of a bowl of rice with sauce. Japanese fast food. The following three are the largest chains and available pretty much everywhere. Cheap eats, unless you splurge on ribs and a glass of beer or something, almost always less than $10. $
    • Sukiya: Has the best tasting beef. Order at the counter and they serve you your tray.
    • Yoshinoya: the most famous and second largest chain. Order at your seat or at the counter, depending on the layout. American beef and foreign rice.
    • Matsuya: Ticket machines with interactive pictures, coupons, etc. for ordering, available in English. The most foreign friendly and they use 100% all Japanese rice and vegetables. Seat yourself and a waiter will take your tickets and then serve your food once it is ready. Also serves other things like basic curry and breakfast. Their breakfast is a pretty good deal. $5 for a complete traditional Japanese breakfast of grilled salmon, rice, tofu, soup, side dish, seaweed and salad.
  • Katsu: deep fried cutlet
    • Tonkatsu Matsunoya: nationwide chain owned by Matsuya. Very good quality for the price. Go for the thick cuts and premium cuts. Also I like their mix set of pork and chicken and comes with a highball for $10. Jackey and I loved it. Unlimited rice and soup refills. $
    • gyukatsu motomura: Mainly in kansai, limited stores in Tokyo. Melt in your mouth deep fried beef cutlet. Each piece of cutlet should still be raw, you finish to your satisfaction on a hot stone plate. Comes with salad, side dishes and rice as a set. Each store is a bit different for some reason, but the one at LUCUA OSAKA has the best quality and you get to choose your 3 side dishes. The one at Ikebukuro doesn’t make you choose your side dishes but they have more friendly staff. There was this old lady and she loved us. $$$
  • Sushi
  • Yakitori: skewered chicken (and other stuff) that is grilled. Delicious and fast, goes well with a highball or beer.
    • Yakitori Ichimatsu: Umeda, Osaka. Higher end yakitori experience.$$$
    • Yakitori no meimon Akiyoshi, Osaka: Your more typical yakitori place, English menu available. Tastes pretty good. $$
    • Torikizoku: Nation wide: see Izakaya below.
  • Teishoku: Traditional Japanese set meal. Usually a protein along with rice and side dishes and such.
    • Ootoya: nationwide chain. A family/group friendly, more casual place for a teishoku at reasonable prices. Great for tourists and groups! $$ to $$$
  • Soba: Buckwheat noodles you can order cold or hot. Dipped in soy sauce.
    • Kanda Matsuya: Tokyo, near Akihabara. Quaint and intimate, and what I think is the best soba in Tokyo. Really fresh and you go for cold noodles when it is hot. $$ to $$$
    • Komoro Soba: Chain, Tokyo. Not sure if nationwide. Cheap but still good quality. Very consistent across their chain stores. Order from the ticket machine, hand your ticket to the chef and ask for hot or cold. Wait by the pickup window and grab your food. $
    • Takama, Osaka near Tenjimbashisujirokuchome station. Michelin star. Affordable and their prices are not inflated. Tried their mori soba, it is pretty good. Their yakimiso soba is also highly rated and I liked their dashimaki egg omelettes. Well priced, reasonable but still long lines. $ to $$
  • Burgers
    • SEE PART 2 SOON.
  • Pancakes
    • A Happy Pancake
      • Desert style fluffy pancakes. Great if you are into sweet pastry, I would split a order of pancake between two people
  • Yakiniku: Grilled meats
    • Gyukaku: nation wide. Alright quality but foreign friendlier than most. All you can eat starts at $40 per person, or you can pick a course set. Season as you want and grill to your liking. Use a tablet to reorder more meat if you are doing all you can eat. Usually in table gas or electric grills. $$$ to $$$$
    • Rikimaru: Osaka chain. Good quality meat. All you can eat also starts at around $40, but this place is not foreign friendly and they often don’t get your orders in depending on the waiter. A convoluted time system, but it is pretty worth it. You have to order through a waitress/waiter and they put it on a tablet. Charcoal grills. $$$ to $$$$
    • Yakinikuya: More casual and friendly with charcoal grills. Slightly cheaper a la carte and their all you can eat starts at $38. $$$ to $$$$
  • Donuts
    • Mister Donut: try out all sorts of funky donuts. Must try the “Pon de Ring” Japanese style ring doughnuts. They have a pretty unique texture and tons of flavours to choose from.
  • Izakaya: Japanese Pub/casual dining. Chains are more foreign friendly and cheap and often have a picture based menu. More traditional/smaller Izakaya usually only have signs on the wall with Japanese script only.
    • Yamachan: Nation wide, primarily in Nagoya. Known for it’s wings! A staple of Nagoya. $$
    • Torikizoku: Nationwide chain. Specializes in yakitori. Everything on the menu is 280 yen!! Including drinks! Around $30 for all you can eat AND drink, reservations required. $$ to $$$
    • Uoshin: nation wide. Specializes in fish and seafood, a little more refined than Torikizoku. $$
    • Tsubohachi: mainly in Sapporo/Hokkaido, nationwide chain. My favourite chain reasonable quality and prices. I can’t stop eating their karage (deep fried chicken). 9 pieces for $6. They also have a set course that includes a bit of everything and unlimited drinks. Those courses are $35 to 50. $$ to $$$
    • Watami: nation wide. A little more refined and quiet, but still an Izakaya serving all sorts of food. $$$

Shopping Recommendations

General Tips


Must Sees


This means recommended, but depends on your interest and probably only if it is on your way****

This means recommended, worth considering

This is a “must see”


Honshu is split into 3 parts, the East, Central, and West. Each area has their respective JR railway company and their own major city. Honshu is the main island of Japan, where you will find all the large, known, cities. This makes most of it very touristy and sometimes crowded, but it is also the most convenient to travel around and explore.

Eastern Japan

The major city for eastern Honshu is Tokyo. The major surrounding suburbs include places like Yokohama and Chiba. Surrounding cities of interest (day trip-able) includes Mito, Nikko, Chichibu, Hakone, Kamakura, Mount Takao. Day trip-able also includes places like Mount Fuji and surrounding area, Izu Peninsula, etc, but they are technically central Japan so I will point out those places in a later segment.


Tokyo is the capital of Japan and the largest city, considered the “centre” of Japan. Lots of more modern things to see, while at the same time a great place to experience some of the big city culture. Food is a bit more limited, there isn’t a particular regional specialty cuisine, but you can easily explore all the regional specialties of Japan albeit at a higher price. Tokyo does offer the more famous and expensive food, lots of Michelin Star restaurants and expensive omakese edo-mae sushi places. Stuff like what you see on Netflix. If you are interested in those I don’t have too much to recommend as I am not too into stuff like that, but I did try a few Michelin star restaurants recently in Tokyo that I can give my review. There are not a lot of historical and cultural monuments due to Tokyo being firebombed during World War II so you will have to go to the surrounding cities to experience that.

Quick note: Tokyu and Tokyo are two things, one is a railway turned conglomerate/retail company, and the other is the name for a city

Places to see by neighbourhood:

Tokyo Station/Chiyoda/Chuo City

  • The Imperial Palace
    • Near Tokyo Station
    • Nice Japanese gardens with the Japanese architecture. Fairly modern and simple, not very flashy or touristy. Would pass unless you like visiting gardens and such. The locals love visiting though. Also a great place to do runs around the outer walls.
  • Jimbocho
    • Jimbocho Station
    • The place to find used books, antique Japanese media, and lots of retro movies posters and the like
  • Ginza
    • Ginza Station
    • Known for its department stores, boutiques and coffeehouses. Where you go for haute fashion and high end retailers and some of the top restaurants
    • Also famous for its traditional Japanese theatres, but I don’t really recommend you go if you don’t understand Japanese
  • Tsukiji Market****
    • Near Tsukiji Station and closer to Tsukijishijo station
    • Where the wholesale fish market for Tokyo used to be before they moved it for the Olympics. Note: They moved so there isn’t much interesting left.
    • Still tons of stalls and restaurants in the outer market
    • If you want to try Tuna sashimi, especially Otoro cuts, there is a place there that is reasonably priced named Maguroya Kurogin. Also do check out the place that sells Tamagoyaki (sweet egg omelette thing) for ¥100. Most places are overpriced.
  • Akihabara
    • Akihabara Station
    • The place for Japanese pop culture, where you find cartoons (anime,) comics (manga) figures toys and such
    • Originally the neighbourhood for buying electronics and components, but only a few PC parts stores remain. Almost all pop culture stores now
    • If you want more information on pop culture stuff/stores let me know, and I can direct you to a few experts, some on my curling team
    • Tons of arcade and claw machines, they are pretty awesome. I highly recommend going to at least an arcade somewhere in Japan
    • Bunch of themed cafes and Maid Cafes


  • Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
    • In Shinjuku near Shinjuku station, Shinkuku-sanchome subway station, and shinjuku-gyoenmae station
    • Former imperial gardens with 3 distinctive gardens. A French Formal, a British landscape, and a traditional Japanese garden. Great place to chill out in the summer and have a picnic (or day drink like the locals) and enjoy nature while still in the middle of urban Tokyo. Entry fee is required, but I think it is worth it.
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Buildings****
    • Tochomae Subway Station
    • Free observation floors that offer one of the best views in Tokyo
    • Nearby the Washington Hotel, the Park Hyatt, great if you are a fan of Lost in Translation
  • Kabukichō
    • Shinjuku station
    • The central hub for nightlife in Tokyo and the largest red-light district in Tokyo
    • Also has the Godzilla head/movie theatre
    • Great place to take pictures and people watch at night
    • Tons of red-light establishments and the famed Robot Restaurant
  • Golden Gai ****
    • In Kabukicho
    • Unique architecture of six narrow alleys, even if you don’t drink it is a pretty unique place to go see
    • Some alleys wide enough for only a single person
    • over 200 shanty style bars


  • Shibuya neighbourhood
    • Shibuya Station
    • Urban centre with tons of shopping and nightlife. Nighttime is where this place shines.
    • Shops such as Shibuya 109, Don Quijote, Tower Records, Uniqlo, Tokyu Hands, LOFT, etc (will be explained later)
    • Nonbei Yokocho, also known as Drunkard’s Alley. A small lantern lit alley with lots of Izakayas: Japanese Pubs. Even if you don’t plan to go drinking, taking a look at night gives you a great view and insight into typical Japanese nightlife. Do be careful as Izakaya often don’t have menus or written in Japanese, it may be difficult for a foreigner to partake. Also lots of customs that are unique, more on that later.
    • “Love hill,” a hilly area around Shibuya known for it’s love hotel (hourly rate hotels), and clubs. Love hotels are uniquely Japanese, often packed full of amenities (such as large TVs, Jacuzzi’s, food, karaoke machine, video games, bathrobes and slippers, laptops, internet, microwaves, saunas, etc), no front desk interaction (automated) or only via a privacy slot. Most feature private entrances, some with separate entrances for men and women for privacy reasons. Sometimes it is pretty cheap if you are travelling light and don’t have a large party and great for when you are desperate for a few hours of sleep but don’t want to pay for an actual hotel.
  • Shibuya Crossing
    • Shibuya station
    • The busiest scramble crossing, and probably one of the most recognizable places when you picture urban Tokyo
    • Also a statue of Hachiko, google it for the back story. Your flight over might have a movie on Hachiko
    • To get a good view of the crossing, I recommend the Starbucks or the overpass. To reach the overpass, head for the Keio Shibuya Station Central Ticket Gate from JR/Metro/Subway/Tokyu Shibuya Station.
  • Harajuku/Takeshita Street****
    • The centre of youth culture and street fashion
    • Also a central location of fast fashion and international name brands great place to shop and see everything in all types of unique Japanese fashion
    • I recommend going to Daiso if you want to buy some dollar store items
    • I do recommend going to Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku if you are interested in a mall, and at least the entrance/escalators are cool looking and unique. Also offers a rooftop plaza.
  • Meji Jingu/Yoyogi Koen park****
    • Right by Harajuku, Harajuku station, and Meiji-Jingumae (Harajuku) subway station.
    • The main Shinto shrine of Tokyo, lots of weddings happen here. Big impressive torii gates and basically the standard for Shinto shrines. To be honest, if you have seen a few Shinto shrines, you basically seen them all.
    • Also a large open park, during Sunday you can see the Rockabilly dancers rocking out. They look straight out of the 50s. Pretty cool.

Taito/Eastern Tokyo

  • Ueno Park
    • Near Ueno, Ueno Station
    • Largest park in Tokyo with a few museums and a zoo. The zoo is pretty underwhelming tbh but it is the most visited zoo in Japan with the most species
  • **Asakusa **
    • Go to Asakusa Station
    • A large historical religious neighbourhood. At the entrance to the main area there is an impressive Kaminarimon gate, with the Senso-ji Buddhist temple and the Asakusa Shrine.
    • The path leading up to Senso-ji from the gate has many street side stalls. Halfway through there is a cross street, and if you look up you notice some ninja statues. Very Japanese.
    • There is a Japanese pudding shop that I highly recommend in the area, Testarossa Cafe****. If you search on Google Maps it may show their main store a few blocks away, but there is a closer branch store. Search for 浅草シルクプリン 雷門店 or PQ6W+MF Tokyo, 東京都 Japan on Google Maps.
  • Kappabashi
    • Near Asakusa Station (Tsukuba Express) or walk from Tawaramachi Subway station.
    • Place famous for its kitchenware and knives stores in Tokyo. If you are shopping for some quality knives in Tokyo this is the place.
  • Skytree
    • Located at Oshiage Station (Multiple lines) and Skytree Station
    • It’s the world’s tallest tower!
    • Lots of boutiques and shops on the mall below, and a very high observation deck. Extremely touristy, great if you like views and tours and touristy things


  • Ikebukuro Neighbourhood
    • Ikebukuro stations, The Tobu, Seibu, and JR lines (there is an interesting tidbit about this below)
    • North west of the station is more red-light like areas, the east side is mainly nightlife and restaurants
    • Nearby is Sunshine City, a large office/mall complex with an aquarium and a large Pokemon store
    • More pop culture store here, mainly targeted to women or less mainstream and commercialized as Akihabara
  • Otsuka Station
    • 1 stop from Ikebukuro, a quiet neighbourhood with some nightlife and stores
    • Nakiryu is located in this area. Nakiryu is a Michelin Starred Ramen restaurant that is nationally famous. Expect to wait 1-2 hours. Specializes in “Sichuan style” “spicy” “Chinese Ramen.” While I think it is worth it to try if you get lucky and the line is only 45 minutes or so, I don’t get the hype. My friends made me go there and while I would recommend going once if you can, I don’t recommend going again. Expensive for a bowl of ramen, but cheap for Michelin. About $16 cad for a bowl with deluxe toppings. If you do go, I highly recommend their pork rice add on. Small shop with ticket machine payment, only seats 11.
      • As for “Sichuan style” “spicy” “Chinese Ramen”, I actually been to Sichuan and it is nothing like it apart from trying to use the star anise as it’s main spice. “Spicy” because I ordered the “ma la” spicy, which means numbing spice, and it was neither spicy or numbing. And “chinese ramen” because all Japanese ramen is considered Chinese food, but obviously not Chinese. It is like American Chinese food, you can’t find that in China.

Minato City/South Tokyo

  • Tokyo Tower ****
    • Onarimon, Akebanebashi, or Kamiyacho Subway Stations
    • 🗼🗼🗼🗼
    • Most iconic building in Tokyo
    • great views
  • Gotanda
    • Gotanda Station
    • Residential neighbourhood with a bunch of cheap business hotels, but close proximity with a LOT of affordable, authentic, local eats. Not worth going just for it, but if you are in the area it is great
    • I recommend Oniyamma Udon stand, offers a true Japanese experience. You are shoulder to shoulder with office workers, buying your food ticket on the sidewalk, and standing only. So small that they store their noodles in the attic with the chefs climbing a fold-able ladder to get to it. Get the chicken tempura udon
    • Lots of Soba, Chinese, Ramen, Donburi restaurants. Tons of great options for Japanese style fast food. Komoro Soba is what I ate at the most often. Cheap <$10 CAD, healthy and fast.
    • Has Tokyu Supermarket on location
  • Roppongi Hills
    • Roppongi Station
    • Tall office building with lots of high end shops in the area
    • also nearby lots of foreign friendly nightlife because of it’s proximity to the US embassy
    • The perfect spot for taking pictures of Tokyo Tower and it’s surrounding, also has what I consider the best movie theatre in Japan
  • Omotesando/Aoyama
    • Omotesando Station, Aoyama-Ichome Station, Gaiemmae station
    • Unique modern architecture
    • This neighbourhood is one of the most expensive in Japan
    • Again, tons of bougie, high end boutiques and brand shops
    • Also where you can find the Canadian Embassy

Koto City and the neighbouring Urayasu (Technically Chiba)

  • Toyosu Market
    • Shijo-Mae Station
    • Where the new wholesale market is
    • You can see fish auctions and where most of the famed fresh fish and sushi restaurants moved to from Tsukiji
  • Odaiba
    • Daiba Station (Yurikamome), Odaiba-Kaihinkoen, Tokyo Teleport Station (Rinkai Line),
    • Home of a few malls, including Diver City that has a large, almost life size, Gundam statue outside. Ferris wheels and roller coasters.
    • Replica of things like the Statue of Liberty on it’s waterfront. Also a sandy beach
    • The best view of Tokyo from the waterfront, especially walking across Rainbow Bridge during the evening
    • Fuji TV station, where you can visit some exhibits from your favourite Fuji TV shows (and my personal childhood cartoons)
    • Sometimes Cirque du Soleil is in town (although I am not sure for the Olympics)
    • Also a Toyota mega store with a test track you can drive around
  • Big Sight
    • Kokusai-tenjijo Station
    • Convention centre with unique architecture
  • LaLaport
    • Toyosu Station
    • Large shopping mall
  • DisneyLand/Disney Sea
    • Maihama Station
    • If you are into theme parks, also has Disney Sea, unique to Japan
    • Best Disneyland in the world


Only 40 minutes to an hour away from Tokyo by regular commuter trains, this city is the ideal quick getaway for the busy Tokyoites (and for visitors to Tokyo). This is the historical port of Tokyo area, being one of the first Japanese ports open to foreign countries after the years of seclusion. I recommend taking the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin/Tokyu Toyoko Line/Minatomirai Line (they are operated by 3 railway companies but offer thru service) to Yokohama, or the JR lines.

Places to see:


Designed to walk to these places in the following order, but it is a long walk so may choose to skip some or end early. This waterfront area is very popular for dates.

  • Minatomirai MARK IS Mall, Minato Mirai Tokyu Mall and Yokohama Landmark Tower
    • Start at Minatomirai Station
    • Large shopping malls with a variety of shops. Between the 3 malls there should be something for everyone
    • The office tower has an observation deck and on clear days offers a great view of Mt. Fuji. Decent fee for the tower, not as crowded as the ones in Tokyo
  • Nippon Maru
    • Museum park/ship. Popular date spot
  • Yokohama World Porters
    • Across the Kishamichi Promenade
    • Another mall, but this one has a large food court. Recommended online and by popular feedback from my friends that I bring to Japan that this is a great place to stop for lunch during your Yokohama day trip
  • Yokohama Cosmoworld
    • Small, affordable theme park with a Ferris wheel that lights up
    • You can come back during the night for the views on the Ferris wheel
  • Cup Noodle Museum
    • Make your own Cup Noodles!!! !!!
  • Red Brick Warehouses
    • Touristy souvenir/artisan shops. Still great for photos and on the second floor there is a benches for couples and a bell you can ring
  • Osanbashi Pier
    • Go for a romantic stroll or just go for some views.
  • Yamashita Park
    • Waterside park with foreign features and fountains.
    • A festival square and a few gardens, perfect for your date


  • Chinatown****
    • Motomachi-Chukagai Station
    • Largest Chinatown in Japan
    • Photo opportunity, especially at night
    • Try out some authentic and not so authentic Chinese street food
  • Ramen Museum
    • Shin-Yokohama station
    • Touristy, but a food court for many different Ramen restaurants
    • Themed decoration and museum pieces
  • Yoshimuraya /Pal Nerd Street
    • Walk from Yokohama station along Pal Nerd Street towards Okano Intersection/ Yoshimuraya Ramen
    • Food options all along the street. Also arcades
    • At the end of the street there is Yoshimuraya, the original ramen restaurant for Yokohama style ramen
    • One of the best ramen I had ever. Aim to get there right before normal dinner time, (eg. 4-5PM) as outside these times you can expect to wait 20 minutes to an hour. Luckily with ramen turnover is quick and preparation is also quick. Sit along the benches in your place in line and if you are in a group have each person buy their meal tickets from the machine while waiting in line. You must let the chef know what noodle hardness you want.
    • Where most business travellers and locals go if they want to have regional ramen in Yokohama, but it is getting more and more foreign touristy every time I go.