What not to do in Tokyo and what to do instead

Oct 18, 2019

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Thanks to Phil Hoffmann Travel.

1. Don’t, pay ¥2,500 JPY (AUD$35) just to visit the New York Bar in the Park Hyatt.

Instead, bring your unwind time a little earlier and get in before the sun goes down! The cover charge applies Monday through to Saturday from 8.00pm and Sunday from 7.00pm, so if you get there before the fee kicks in you can skip the cover charge. Plus, enjoy the added bonus of watching Tokyo light up before your eyes as you take in the unbeatable bird’s eye view of the city.

2. Don’t, go hunting for diverse Japanese subcultures in Harajuku, this once thriving area of creativity and outrageous eccentric fashion in the district of Shibuya, is no more. Now flooded with tourists this district is filling up with upmarket shops and losing its quirk and charm of oddity.

Instead, take a short train ride out of Shinjuku to Shimokitazawa, this boho happening suburb is overflowing with alternative Tokyo youth who were inspired to move further from the city to be able to afford their creative lifestyles. Scattered along its haphazard streets you will find vintage stores to get lost in, hole-in-the-wall eateries and trendy cafes with Tokyo’s best coffee pouring out of its taps! Shimokitazawa is also one of the few places in Tokyo to have an exciting amount of vegetarian and vegan eats. After a day on the streets head south as night falls and discover the whimsy of live music, hidden bars and tattoo parlours.

3. Don’t, party it up in Kabukicho and Roppongi, not saying that these better-known spots aren’t worth a wander through once on you visit to Tokyo. The baffling pachinko parlours, streets lined with neon signs, hostess bars and clubs are certainly an experience. But you will soon tire of the relentless hawkers and sleazy vibes.

Instead, discover a different side to Tokyo’s night life by visiting a less obvious venue and by less obvious I mean explore the world of hidden bars dotted all over the city! Find them behind a curtain, behind a door and down a shady looking alley. Try your hand at finding Wall a bar hidden, in the most unsuspecting of places. Wander the halls of the Minato district’s Aoyama Shopping Complex, in search of an unmarked handle-less utility door, next to the Costume National Store. Beyond this door you will find a large lounge, lush with a vertical garden wall and expansive bar. Goodluck on uncovering some more, if you need some extra guidance, hotels like the Conrad offer a nightlife “fixer” a guide to help you find the best hidden cocktail bars across town.

4. Don’t, go to Tokyo Disneyland, if you have seen one then you have seen them all.

Instead, get your thrill fix at Fuji-Q Highland, a local amusement park located in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi. Not only does the park have record breaking rollercoasters it also hosts incredible views of Mount Fuji! If you stay at the Highland Resort Hotel and Spa, you will get complimentary admission to the park and receive priority access before the rest of the public. This means you can buy a “free pass” and book all the rides you want for specific times, eliminating the need to wait in lines.

5. Don’t, visit Tokyo Skytree, it may be the highest point in the city, but it is also the biggest tourist letdown as voted in a recent survey. Being described as having massive line ups, a steep fee and an overcrowded observation deck.

Instead, check out the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observation Decks, it is not as tall as the Tokyo Skytree but when you’re that high up who can tell the difference? It may not have the height, but it has three things over the Skytree, its open late, the queues are short, and the entry is free. Enjoy the endless views of the city from where you can see them.

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