APR 25,2010 - JUL 14,2010 (81 DAYS)
Some tips on how to enjoy your weekend in Tokyo - combining the traditional and modern Japanese culture.
Start your morning in the nearest Starbucks or Pancake house (I think there is one of each in every neighborhood). There is nothing like a pancake smiling at you first thing in the morning for a positive start to the day.
Take the Yamanote JR line to Harajuku station. On Sunday mornings the best place to be at is Harajuku district. This is the time that the “Harajuku Girls” gather around Harajuku Station and engage in Cosplay ("costume play"), dressed up in costumes such as anime characters, punk musicians or Gothic Lolitas.
Just beside the shrine you will also find Yoyogi Koen. Yoyogi Park is one of my favorite parks in Tokyo. On Sundays you will find there many teenagers and families coming for a relaxing picnic as well as great performances of very talented people - from musicians to hip-hop dancers to rockabilly gangs.
Just across the exit of the train station you will find the famous and trendy Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street), this is my favorite street in Tokyo! You can find here trendy shops, fashion boutiques, used clothes stores, Cosplay shops, cafes, fast food and many more.
This street is like Heaven for Tokyo's teenagers and many teenagers from across Japan travel here on the weekends to spend their allowances. Because of the street's popularity, it becomes extremely busy and crowded on the weekends. Interesting shops can also be found along some of the side streets. My favorite shops on this street are: Daiso Harajuku - 100 Yen Shop and Tutuanna-socks shop. If you are hungry try the amazing crapes that are sold in every corner.
Well it is time for some Sushi - my favorite running sushi place is at Shibuya- sushi in Japan is so cheap you can get a nice meal for about 5$ and the hot green tea is of course included…I heard the latest trend in Japan is the touch panel sushi restaurant - got to go there on my next visit!
This is a place in Shibuya (thanks to google street view..). go down the steps where the women wearing brown is standing and you are there!
Time for something relaxing - Onsen. An Onsen is a Japanese traditional public bathing which is believed to have relaxing and healing power. Traditionally men and women bathed together at the Onsen but nowadays it is usually same-sex bathing. If you are wondering - no cloth or bathing suits are allowed while in the Onsen – and as a Gaijin (non-Japanese) between many naked Japanese you can find this a very strange experience… also if you have tattoos you should cover them with bandages before entering because tattoos in Japan are seen as a sign of criminality and are associated with the Yakuza.
I discovered this great and cheap Onsen in Tokyo – you need to take a train from Shibuya station to Takaido station. Once you exit Takaido station take a left and keep going strait just before a big supermarket you will find an entrance to the NAF wellness club where the Onsen is located (http://www.nafsport.com/utsukushi/access). If you never been to an Onsen you have to come here. This Onsen has several different baths, indoor and outdoor with waters of different temperatures.
Our next stop is Karaoke. Karaoke-kan is a popular karaoke chain with locations all over Tokyo ( look for the blue sign with red writing over it). If you ever seen the movie “Lost in translation” you probably remember the scene were Bob and Charlotte go to Karaoke with their Japanese friends. Rooms 601&602 at the Shibuya branch was used for this scene.
Address: 30-8 Udagawachō Shibuya-ku
Another cool location from “Lost in translation” is the bar at the Park Hyatt Tokyo hotel in Shinjuku. Bob spends most of his nights in the New York Bar on the hotel's top floor. The bar offers an amazing view of Tokyo and great jazz music.
Be aware that the bar is very expensive, and that a 2,000 Yen cover fee applies after 8pm (7pm on Sundays).