Hi I’m Orlagh, an Irish wife and mum living the dream this year in Tokyo for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
We are living here for my husband, Jim’s job. I’m pretty much on a grown up gap year with our 4 year old boy Jack. 2019 is one big adventure & we are loving every day.
I plan to share some of our highlights and top 5 tips for places to see, visit, eat & drink in Tokyo, with and without children.
I am @Orles on Instagram where I share my daily life in Japan and if you have any questions please feel free to ask!
Ok, so there are so many things to see and do in Tokyo but if I was limited by time these are the top 5 places I would make sure not to miss out on.
1. Shibuya Crossing
The world’s busiest pedestrian crossing is definitely a must visit for everyone coming to Tokyo. Estimated to be approx. 3,000 people crossing this intersection when at its peak daily traffic. To experience the intersection at its best I would recommend that you try out a few different viewing spots.
My first recommendation is to get stuck in and cross the road from a few different angles so that you can experience the crowds and get some photos/videos in the midst of the crossing before you move to some of the elevated viewing points.
Starbucks on the corner is a great place to have a coffee break and is probably one of the most popular places to take some great pictures/videos overlooking the crossing. Another opportunity to get some of the best pictures is from the top of the Magnet building where you can pay 500 yen (€4.20 euro) to take photos from the roof terrace. One of the really cool things that they offer up here is to they have a camera set up where you can take as many selfies as you want in 100 seconds for 1,000 yen ( €8.40 euro).
2 Chome-2-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0043
2. Tokyo Tower
Next up I would recommend a trip to Tokyo Tower. It is one of the stand out iconic buildings in the city and one that Jack, our 4 year old, points out every time he even catches a glimpse of it. He loves to tell everyone that he has been up to the top of it too!
Taller than the Eiffel Tower it stands at 333metres. There are two observation decks at 150m and 250m. It is open from 9am-10pm every day but I think that the best time to visit is just before dusk so that you experience it during day-light and after dark to see the sparkling night lights of Tokyo.
It costs 2800 yen (€24) to visit including access to the top deck. Children under 4 are free. I think it is definitely worth paying to go up to the top deck.
4 Chome-2-8 Shibakoen, Minato City, Tokyo 105-0011
3. Team Lab Borderless
I know I have this down as number 3 but I consider Teamlab to be my favourite tourist attraction in Tokyo. It’s so good I have been twice. I will most likely go again once our visitors arrive over for the Rugby World cup.
It is a 10,000 metre squared space credited to be the first ever digital art museum in the world. I would describe it as Instagram heaven. Definitely not your typical museum but it is everything I thought Japan would be before coming to live here. My poor photography skills don’t do the place any justice at all. It is a fully interactive immersive digital exhibition where you can roam around and discover endless rooms of creative genius. Hard to choose as I believe everything about this place is wow, but my top highlights are the Athletic Forest and the Forest of Lamps.
I would recommend that you give yourself at least 2-3 hours here and eat before you arrive as food isn’t available inside and it is not possible to re-enter once you leave. Book your tickets online in advance to avoid disappointment as tickets often sell out especially at the weekends and with big events on the horizon like the Rugby World cup and the Olympics. Even with tickets you will have to queue to get in so I would also recommend to grab a coffee to pass your time while waiting to get in – The queue moves quickly though! I’m starting to believe that in Japan they love a queue. Tickets are 3,200 yen for adults ( €27), children over 4-14 are 1,000 yen ( €8.50) and children under 4 are free.
MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM: teamLab Borderless
Odaiba Palette Town 2F, 1-3-8 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo, Japan
4. Takeshita Street
In the middle of Harajuku is one of the funnest streets in Tokyo. Every time I walk down this street I see and experience something I haven’t seen the time before. It is famous for its clothing stores and for its trend setting culture amongst the youth. It is also a food haven for Instagram where you can get everything from rainbow cheese toasties to any type of sweet or savoury crepe you can imagine.
One piece of advice while walking down this street is to always be camera ready as there are plenty of weird and wonderful things to photograph.
Another piece of advice would be to do a food tour in this area. No one knows the area better than Foodie Adventures Japan. They will bring you to places off the beaten track and you will have a camera roll of photos that you will be proud of. https://foodiejapan.com/
1 Chome-17 Jingumae, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0001
5. Happo-en Gardens
My last recommendation is one of the hidden gems of my time in Tokyo so far. I was walking past this place for the best part of 6 months before I realised what beauty was behind the gates. Happo-en hosts some of the most beautiful Japanese gardens as well as the opportunity to take part in a traditional tea ceremony. You can also have lunch or coffees and croissants in the main building. It provides tranquillity in the middle of a bustling city and is more than worth visiting if you have a spare hour.
With its beautiful backdrop, it is a very popular destination for Japanese weddings. So if you come here for a visit you are most likely to see one of the many weddings held here.
1 Chome-1-1 Shirokanedai, Minato City, Tokyo 108-0071