A Tokyo Weekend

in Travel

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For the busy workaholic or student, it’s difficult to find enough time to travel, especially when it comes to visiting a city as sprawling and daunting as Tokyo. It’s true that to really delve into the city’s culture you need much more than just a weekend, but for some that’s just not possible. We’ve rounded up a weekend itinerary to help you get the best out of a short trip to Japan’s sleepless capital.

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– Thursday Night –

FLY TO TOKYO (approx. 4 hours) – Check into hotel, get some rest!

Where to Stay

1 Ryokan Sawanoya A traditional Ryokan house- turned-hotel in quaint artisanal district Yanaka.
2 Asakusa Hotel & Capsule A safe, omnisex capsule hotel in calm downtown Tokyo district Shitamachi.
3 Andon Ryokan A contemporary, architecturally sophisticated Ryokan near the old red light district, Yoshiwara.
4 Ooedo-Onsen-Monogatari A surreal rural experience in central Tokyo, with hot springs, open air baths and in-room saunas.

– Friday –

5am Wake up early (really, really early) and dive into the city’s culture: head on over to the the Tsukiji Fish Market, where all the city’s sushi restaurants come to buy fish between 5am and 8am.
8am Head over to take a traditional Japanese bath, known as ‘onsen’, at Yume-No-Yu Onsen. Be sure to read up on onsen etiquette before going: no swimming; don’t let your towel touch the water, etc!
11am Grab some Japanese savoury pancakes, or ‘okinomiyaki’, for lunch, from KIJI Marunouchi, an eatery near the Imperial Palace with some of the best pancakes in Tokyo.
2pm Spend your afternoon on a pre-booked, free tour of the captivating Imperial Palace, for an in-depth couple of hours filling in on Japan’s rich history and imperial heritage.
6pm Head back to Shibuya for dinner. Try out the famous Alcatraz E.R, a mental-asylum-meets-corrupt-prison themed restaurant (not for the faint-hearted!)
9pm Spruce yourselves up, and head to Trump Room, an elusive, chandelier-adorned hideaway filled with the coolest young things of Tokyo, and/or The Room, a small basement watering hole bustling with creatives – where famous DJs often drop in for a drink or two. Or five.
12am If you’re already pumped up for a crazy night out, head over to club bar FAMILY, an underground club known for its heavy bass music and lively hip hop culture.

– Saturday –

7am Leave early to watch a morning sumo wrestling practise (known in Japanese as a ‘keiko’) at Arashio Sumo Stable (from 7:30am-10am).
10am Walk around Kyu Yasuda Garden, a gorgeous traditional Japanese garden near the sumo stable.
12pm Lunchtime: Make the journey back over towards the centre of the city for some ramen at famous historic spot, Golden Gai, a tiny, pre- war area of Tokyo consisting of six tiny alleys that hold hundreds of bars and restaurants.
2pm Once you’ve digested and had a good look around Golden Gai, hop on the metro for ten minutes to quirky fashion district Harajuku. Wander around with the fashion-crazy crowd there, and while you’re in the area, enjoy Japan’s animal café craze and visit the Tokyo Snake Center. We dare you.
6pm Hop on the Yamanote Line for 10 minutes to Shinjuku for dinner. Book a table at Zauo – a ‘fishing themed’ restaurant where you fish your own dinner from streams below your table. If you fancy more of a spectacle, the Kabukicho Robot Restaurant is Tokyo in a nutshell: guests enjoy stunning, high tech performances from robots and robotic dancers while they eat or enjoy a cocktail.
9pm Pop back to your hotel and shower, then take a taxi to provocative Paris-meets-Tokyo bar, Le Baron, for drinks and a dance.
12am Go crazy at one of Tokyo’s famous clubs. WOMB should probably be your first choice: it’s a four-floor club with a world-class sound system and some of the world’s best names in the underground scene spin behind the decks. Otherwise try giant basement club Vision, or Air, an elegantly decorated lair for late night party people.
3am Finish your night at Library Lounge THESE, a stylish late-night cocktail bar designed like – you guessed it – a library.
4am If you’re somehow still standing, taxi over to Odaiba Beach for a gorgeous view of the sunrise over Tokyo Bay.

– Sunday –

11am Treat yourself to a lie-in after a heavy night. You deserve it.
12pm Go for brunch at BEARD, a cute Brooklyn style eatery in the Meguro district, with outdoor seating perfect for people-watching.
2pm Experience the gorgeous views from the infamous Skytree, followed by a wander around the nearby Senso-ji temple.
5pm Metro for ten minutes over to Akihabara, one of the most interesting and buzzing cultural areas of the city. On Sundays, the roads are shut off so it’s completely pedestrian. Explore!
6pm Go for a themed dinner at one of the maid cafes, which are essentially cosplay bars, or grab some sushi from Sushikou, a delicious sushi chain restaurant.
9pm For your final night, jump into a taxi to one of Tokyo’s infamous live music venues. Catch a punk gig at Earthdom, an indie gig at Fever, or enjoy hardcore music and vegetarian small plates at oh- so-Tokyo hangout Bush Bash.

– Monday –

7am Leave early Monday morning, snooze on the plane, arrive in time for the work week to start again. There you have it: a completely packed, three-day taste of Tokyo! Now time to plan your next trip.