And family friendly things to do!
We visited Tokyo in February 2018. The weather: cold. It was about 40 degrees Fahrenheit every day. Coming from Guam we were chilled to the bone. Fujikawaguchiko was even colder, in the 20’s and snowy. We spent about 10 days in Tokyo and took a bus to Fujikawaguchiko for one weekend to see Mt. Fuji. Our trip to Japan is our favorite trip to date. We got lost in the streets just wandering, eating and sight seeing the day away.
We stayed at the military hotel at Hiro-o station. We spent a lot of time exploring and eating around there in the evenings when we were wrapping up the day’s adventures. One of our favorite spots around Hiro-o station was a soft serve ice cream place called Melting in the Mouth. The soft-serve ice cream in Japan is a must! It is creamier and richer than American soft-serve but it’s not too sweet. They also have coffee, milkshakes and hot dogs. Another spot to check out at Hiro-o station is Luke’s Lobster where we had an awesome lobster grilled cheese sandwich. Lastly, if you get a curry craving go to Hiro-o Curry. It is a tiny restaurant no more than 6 feet wide and you might miss it but look for the writing on the wall. Then you are in the right place!
The best zoo we’ve ever been to was one we stumbled upon at Ueno station (Ueno Zoo). There was a new baby panda here too, Xiang Xiang, but we didn’t get to see him because the line was too long. This was one of our favorite activities in Tokyo because we could easily spend all day there and the entrance fee was only 600 yen per adult (That’s only $6)!
After the zoo we wandered to a neighboring market and stopped in for some Korean food. There’s tons of shops, streat eateries, and cafes to choose from in Ameyoko market. We also tried hot fresh Takoyaki here. It’s a popular Japanese street food made of minced octopus and dough all fried up!
Don’t forget the snacks! Every day we stopped into at least one konbini store (Japanese convenient stores) to get our hands on new snacks that we’ve never tried before. The three major konbini stores in Japan are Family Mart, Lawson and 7-Eleven. Almost all of these have something called the “American Dog” in the hot food section. It is basically the best corn dog I have ever tasted and I could eat one every day. It is not your basic state fair corn dog. There is such a huge variety of snacks it’s hard to say what you should pick up. We followed this simple rule: if it looks good, eat it. We actually filled up an entire back pack of snacks to take home. Among our favorites are Cheeza (what a cheez-it wishes it could be), mushroom chocolates, and muji chocolate covered strawberries.
We visited Takeshita St at Harajuku station twice! It’s a colorful fun place with lots of shopping and desserts! Some of of our favorite desserts were cream puffs from Beard Papa and the crepe stations. My husband got the chicken curry crepe from Marion crepes and it was delicious.
You can easily get to the Meiji Shrine from harajuku station you just exit the station and go straight into the forest and through the arch.
We took the bus to Fujikawaguchiko to see views of Mt. Fuji for a weekend. It’s about an hour and a half away from Shinjuku station. We stayed in a storage container unit for a unique experience, took a cable car up to the view point and explored the quaint little town.
When we got back to Tokyo we discovered okonomiyaki, a type of Japanese comfort food made of shredded cabbage and eggs. The place we went to was Sakura Tei in Harajuku Station. You grill it up yourself at the table and it’s quite popular with young people after a night out at the bars. We were there at lunch time though 😉 If you are looking for a unique dining experience I recommend it!
You can’t go to Japan without having amazing ramen. In Tokyo Station there is a thing called Ramen Street. It is located inside the subway and has any ramen you could ever want! The names of the restaurants and the menus are not in English so we just picked a place and ordered using pictures. It was not a hard choice because we always love our ramen spicy.
Our last day in Japan was spent in Odaiba, a manmade island you can get to on the subway. There is a nice long walking trail that will take you along the island’s edge. Here you can enjoy the pretty views of the city. Odaiba even has it’s own feaux statue of liberty. We had some conveyer belt sushi and enjoyed the sunset before heading back to our hotel.