Get lost in Golden Gai
Every time I have visited Tokyo I make sure to get lost in the area known as “Golden Gai”. Only a short stroll from Shinjuku station, Golden Gai is made up over around 200 shanty-style bars, clubs and eateries. Each bar is completely unique and often full to capacity (a whopping 5 people sometimes!) It is the perfect place rub shoulders with the locals and explore a different side of Tokyo. Keep an eye out for the signs on the front doors though, some bars don’t allow tourists in, so you have to respect that. My personal favourite bar is Albatross (laneway number 2 about 12 bars in) the best vibe, and the best cocktails!
Dinner and a movie?
Ever had that urge to watch the movie Kill Bill but you had to go out for dinner instead? Well, you are in luck! Gonpachi found in the suburb of Ginza, is more popularly known as the Kill-Bill restaurant. I was told director Quentin Tarantino had dinner here one night and got so inspired by the interior of the restaurant that he based the set of one of his famous “Kill Bill” fight scenes on the place. The atmosphere was great and the meal was pretty good. The real bonus was that there were no assassins running around with swords! A cool little spot I’d recommend to anyone heading to Tokyo.
People dodge in Shibuya
People told me Tokyo was a busy place…I didn’t quite realise how busy it was until I decided to cross the road in Shibuya. Saying that visiting a road crossing is a must do sounds a little silly now I say it out loud, but you have to see it to believe it. Rumoured to be the busiest intersection in the world, Shibuya crossing sees hundreds of people going in every single direction all at once. Apparently, at peak times there are over 3000 people trying to cross the road! My advice would be just keep walking, don’t be that guy who stops in the middle to take a photo. There is a great little café (ok its Starbucks), where you can watch over the madness and snap some pics from a safe distance.
Get up close with a sumo wrestler
When I went to Japan I was gutted to find out that there were no Sumo wrestling competitions on at the time of year, however a local informed me that there is still an opportunity to get up close to this famed Japanese athletes. In Ryogoku (not far from Asakusa) there are a number of sumo stables (training rooms) some of which are open for public viewing. You do have to get up early to see them in action and it doesn’t come cheap, but this is one of the most memorable experiences you will have in Japan. This is a completely different form of athlete, got me wondering how some of these boys would go on the footy field, surely they would dominate the scrums?!
Take a break from the madness
Tokyo is a city full of surprises. While it seems almost futuristic in parts, history and culture are still scattered throughout the city. One of my favourite places to visit is the Sensoji Temple located in Asakusa. Take photos of an iconic Kaminarimon gate and then stroll down “Nakamise Street”, the approach to the main hall of the temple where you can try plenty of traditional street snacks. It's quite refreshing to take a break from the hustle and bustle and find a little space to relax and recharge.