Cherry blossom season is upon us again and is scheduled to hit Tokyo sometime in late March. This is arguably one of the best, and most beautiful times of year to visit Japan, and it’s probably nearly impossible to imagine springtime in Japan without these famous pink blossoms! But you won’t be only looking at cherry blossoms during your trip to Tokyo, will you? Here’s 6 other things to do and see when you hit Japan’s vibrant and exciting capital.
You can’t visit Tokyo without spending a couple hours with one of Japan’s cutest and most iconic fictional characters: Totoro! The Ghibli Museum is dedicated to Hayao Miyazaki’s brainchild, Studio Ghibli, and is a definite must-see. If you don’t know anything about Studio Ghibli and haven’t seen any of the films, don’t worry, I guarantee you’ll walk away a fan after visiting Ghibli Museum! You can’t just stroll in and get tickets though, these have to be booked in advance if you want a chance at visiting this whimsical wonderland. Read about my experience at the Ghibli Museum so you know what to expect!
Akihabara is located in central Tokyo, and the area has become famous for the huge amount of electronic shops. Anime fans can go crazy here as there are loads of stores selling everything from manga, to anime figurines, to costumes so you can dress up as your favorite characters. Akihabara is also a treat for the eyes; it’s truly an example of what a futuristic city looks like with so many lights, adverts, and locals with funky hair and cool outfits. If you’re looking for a guide to Akihabara, head over The True Japan to get a more in-depth guide to this amazing Tokyo neighborhood!
3. Catch a baseball game
Spring season means it’s also time for baseball and this sport is absolutely huge in Japan! If you’re not a big sports fan, don’t worry you’ll still have a blast taking in a baseball game in Tokyo (this was one of my best experiences in Japan and I never watch baseball). You can buy tickets for the games at most convenience stores (although you may have to ask the clerk for help as some machines don’t have English options), and you’re also allowed to bring your own beer and snacks into the stadium so you don’t have to pay over-the-top prices inside!
4. Try some QQ (and other snacks)
I first got turned on to QQ donuts while living in Taiwan, so I was pretty excited to discover that these sweet treats are also pretty big in Japan. It’s hard to explain exactly what is so special about a QQ donut, so you’ll just have to eat it and find out for yourself. They’re nothing like the regular old donuts you find back home, so don’t leave Japan without eating at least one. There’s also about 10,000 other amazing things to eat in Japan, so leave your inhibitions behind and come prepared to test your palate!
The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace form part of what used to be an Edo Castle. There’s free entry into these gardens and they’re definitely worth a look. During cherry blossom season they are particularly popular, so expect crowds, but this doesn’t diminish at all the natural beauty of the gardens. They also make for a perfect picnic spot, so be sure to pack some food and drink and partake of a scenic lunch on one of the East Gardens expansive lawns.
Sensō-ji Temple is a popular gathering place, both for locals and tourists. As one of Tokyo’s most iconic sites, it definitely is a must-see. You’re sure to get a taste of the local culture here. It’s not uncommon to see Japanese men and women dressed in traditional clothing and on their way to the temple. There’s also a bustling market around Sensō-ji where you can buy funky knick-knacks, or try some local treats!
What are some of your favorite places to visit in Tokyo? Share a few below in the comments section.