Japan culture is easily one of my favorite and most fascinating cultures in the world to me (so far). Of course, when going to Japan, Tokyo is the main hub for visitors. Some people may think it’s too crowded, or too “touristy”, but there are still many things to do and see in Tokyo that can give you a peek into the unique culture of Japan. Here are just a few of my favorite things to do in Tokyo that made me feel like I was really experiencing the culture of Japan.
Watch a Tuna Auction
The tuna auction used to be held at the famous Tsukiji Fish Market but has moved in the past couple of years to Toyosu. Early in the morning, locals will bid for the freshest fish to be used in their restaurants and it’s quite the experience seeing all the fresh fish and all the local Japanese yelling. Make sure to get some sleep the night before because these auctions start at 5 am!
Have your fortune told at Senso-Ji Temple
Senso-Ji Temple in Asakusa is Tokyo’s oldest temple and many people travel from all over to pray there. Whether you’re religious or not, it’s amazing to watch the ritual that everyone does to pray, from washing of the hands, to ringing the bells. Surrounding the walkway up to Senso-Ji and inside are omikuji where you can have your fortune told. Just shake the bamboo or metal container until one of the sticks it contains falls out. From there, you match the number on the stick to one of the drawers and inside the drawer is your fortune! If you have a bad fortune, you leave it behind by tying it to the rods placed there.
Hang out in Ueno Park
Tokyo’s largest park has a lot of locals practicing their arts, such as dancing, riding bicycles, or just enjoying a picnic beneath the cherry blossom trees. If you’re in the city during the Sakura season (the blossoming of the cherry trees) try to find a spot and join the locals in a traditional picnic!
Visit a 7/11
Seriously, 7/11 in Japan is on another level! You can have some delicious meals at the 7/11s in Japan, pay your bills, or read some manga. For me though, the main attraction is the quick grab and go meals that are made there. So simple, yet so satisfying. Also check out all the delicious snacks that can be had because there are so many unique ones.
Learn the local cuisine
Japanese cuisine is probably my favorite kind. So much can be made out of the simplest ingredients. Luckily, in Tokyo there are cooking classes that you can take, but it’s not just any cooking class. These are cooking classes you can take in the comfort of a local’s home! There’s no better way to learn about local cooking than from a local. It’s like the AirBnb of cooking classes in Tokyo. You can learn anything from making bentos, ramen, and sushi! Click here to find a teacher and book a class!
Grab a drink at Golden Gai
There are a lot of tourists in Golden Gai, but if you walk around you can find some bar with mostly Japanese people and if you can find a seat, take it! The bars are small so they are only meant for a few people to enter. Spend some time talking to the bartenders, the locals and even singing some songs. Japanese people may be shy, but they love meeting people from other countries.
There are so many fun experiences because Japan itself is an experience, but these were my top most memorable cultural experiences. Whether you have a couple of days or a week in Tokyo, these are definitely some fun experiences that are easily accessible in Tokyo.
What are your favorite experiences in Tokyo?
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