Last updated on April 1st, 2022
Tokyo is a bustling, innovative, fascinating city that every traveller should visit at some point in their life. It can be challenging to describe what makes Japan amazing in words, but I will try.
If you were to ask me what my favourite country that I’ve travelled to so far is, every time my answer would be Japan. Hands down, Japan is my personal favourite country. From delicious food to a unique culture, Japan stands out the most, and it’s clear to see why.
While there are many reasons to visit Japan, here are my top 5 reasons to visit Tokyo:
Like hello, delicious food! Food is always a great reason to travel anywhere, and especially so for Japan.
Japanese food is well-known and loved around the world. Whether it’s sushi, tempura, teppanyaki, or udon, chances are you’ve at least heard of it or tried it and loved it.
The food in Tokyo is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted. Your inner foodie will be extremely pleased with a trip to Japan. Even without English menus, you know what dish to expect from pictures and food displays. No food on my trip disappointed me, and I ate a lot.
Ramen was out of this world delicious, I got mine from Ichiran. Shawarma was the best I’ve ever had anywhere, and sorry, I know shawarma isn’t from Japan, and I haven’t been to the middle east yet, but it was way better than the shawarma here in Canada. There was even the cutest panda-shaped dessert. Sushi, teppanyaki, and fried chicken, all yummy. And how about the endless flavours of kit-kats available!
Just talking about the food in Tokyo makes me hungry! I can’t speak highly enough about the food in Japan. So I apologize if I’m making you hungry also.
One big difference between North America and Japan is that sushi is expensive in Japan, and AYCE isn’t very popular, if at all. Those differences aside, it is still very worth trying sushi in Tokyo.
Tokyo Food Tips:
- Make sure you try street food on your visit. You will not want to miss out on tasting Japanese street food. Try the street food near Senso-ji Temple for items like fried chicken, octopus, and various desserts.
- Go for sushi in the fish market for very fresh fish. It is well worth the line-up.
- Make sure you try at least one item from a vending machine. Japan is known for its vending machines, which can carry some interesting items.
- Pick up kit-kats at the airport to bring home a variety of flavours to your friends, family, and of course, for yourself. Everyone will love them.
Japan’s culture is a mix of modern and traditional, with influences from Asia, Europe, and North America. A rich history built on tradition, combined with rapid advancements into the modern-day makes Japan unique and easily distinguishable from other countries.
With the official language being Japanese, be aware that not all locals speak much English. Make sure you learn basic phrases such as hello and thank-you, to assist you on your trip.
A few items that make for a fascinating cultural visit to Japan are food and pop culture.
In Japan, it is considered rude to eat and walk. You eat your food and drink your beverages at the vendor from which you purchased them. When buying street food, there is a designated eating spot, where you stand and eat, then return your garbage.
This was very different from the fast-paced North America experience I am used to where you are almost always eating on the go.
The slower pace was relaxing and ensured we were focused on eating, rather than rushing off to the next thing to do. It also felt like a genius way to entice people walking by to buy, by seeing others eating delicious food. On Takeshita street, when I spotted people eating giant cotton candy snacks, I had to try one.
Leaving your garbage with the vendor leads to less litter on the street, which adds to the cleanliness of Tokyo and is better for the environment.
Tip: Everything on Takeshita street is delicious. I couldn’t stop trying all the yummy treats while exploring the area. Just make sure you try the crepes.
Many of the hobbies we love and enjoy today were created in Japan. When you think of Japanese pop culture, you can’t help but think about video games like Mario and Pokemon, anime, manga, tv shows like Sailor Moon, and movies like Godzilla. And who can forget about the famous Hello Kitty!
In Tokyo, you will want to visit the neighbourhood of Harajuku and experience as much pop culture as you wish to, from toy stores to cute themed cafes. The toy store Kiddyland features 4-levels of character items such as Hello Kitty and Star Wars. I made sure to visit and see all the Hello Kitty items!
While there is no single large park, like Central Park in New York, the vast amount of smaller parks in a metropolis such as Tokyo is still something well worth seeing. Parks and gardens are scattered all over the city, so you never have to travel far to reach one and feel like you’ve escaped the busyness of city life and unwind.
The most popular parks to visit in Tokyo are Ueno Park, Shinjuku Gyoen National Gardens, and Yoyogi Park.
Whether it’s cherry blossoms in spring or fall colours in autumn, there is always something beautiful to see. My visit happened to be in January, so I was unable to enjoy the lovely spring or fall colours of Tokyo. Even in January, people were outside enjoying their local parks.
Activities in the park include: going for a picnic, cycling, playing baseball, enjoying summertime fireworks, and people-watching.
Attractions and Things to Do
There are endless options for things to do in Tokyo. From towers to shrines, from museums to shopping and plenty of karaoke, there is something for every type of traveller to experience. Just make sure you plan enough time to explore everything, with the massive size of Tokyo.
Highlight Attractions include Tokyo Skytree, Sensoji Temple, Tokyo Tower, Meiji Shrine, Takeshita Street, Tokyo National Museum, and The Imperial Palace. You will want to include these attractions on your Tokyo itinerary.
So there you have it, my top five reasons to visit Tokyo: the food, culture, nature, and attractions. Okay, so maybe that was only four reasons, but I feel like Japanese culture is so incredible that it should count twice. So call this a list of four reasons to visit Tokyo, but it feels like five to me, and that makes me happy.
If you haven’t been to Japan before, and even if you have, you will want to book yourself a flight to Tokyo, like right now. Since my trip, I’ve been dreaming of returning to Tokyo and exploring more of Japan, and I am sure you are now dreaming too.
Hope this information helped you with my top reasons to visit Japan.
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Have you visited Japan before? I’d love to hear all about your experience.
Not travelled to Japan yet? Let me know if you would go to Japan or not in the comments.