Harajuku in Tokyo, Japan.

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5 must-have moments in Tokyo

Published May 18th, 2016

Tokyo is simply one of the coolest places on earth. It feels like it’s a few cities rolled into one giant ball of amazing. I spent a week in this lively city last year and instantly decided I needed to move there. I didn’t spy any vending machines filled with underpants, but my friend and I did find a lot of fun activities to amuse ourselves. And with loads of low cost air carriers constantly offering extremely affordable airfares, there is really no reason to deny yourself the pleasure, especially with these five must-do experiences!

Ninja course

Who wouldn’t want to be a ninja? If your answer is “no one” then this is definitely for you. It was highly entertaining from the get-go, when we were met at the train station by an elderly bleached-blonde Japanese woman in a ninja outfit who leaned on a metal staff, until the end when a masked ninja told us to sense his approach while blindfolded so we could block his attack with a giant sword. And for once this wasn’t a euphemism. If you want to bring out your inner Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle then a ninja course is a must.

I Darts Tokyo

This happening bar in the entertainment district of Roppongi is a definite must-do. Before we stumbled on I Darts Tokyo, I always assumed darts was the sport of fat balding men in old man pubs, but my whole opinion was flipped 180 when we ventured into this vibrant bar. Pop music reverberated from the speakers as darts were thrown at neon lit electronic dart boards at lightning speed. Well, it seemed that way, but I had partaken in a few beverages beforehand so it might have only been at a casual pace. Regardless, it was fantastic fun. We only planned to pop in for a wee night cap, and ended up there until the early hours of the morning, hooked on our newfound dart addiction.


More inspo on the go:

Fun times comin' up: Where da party at in Asia?

Get aquainted: 5 things to do on your first day in Tokyo

Get outdoors: The best activities in and around Tokyo


Big Echo Karaoke

Karaoke is not so much a suggestion, but a requirement when visiting Japan. However, unlike karaoke in Australia, where you end up embarrassing yourself by singing Lady GaGa poorly in front of a bunch of strangers, in Japan you have your own booth so you can keep your bad singing among friends. Big Echo is a karaoke chain in Japan open 24 hours. The idea of 24-hour karaoke for most people might seem akin to the notion of watching a box set of Keeping Up With the Kardashians (painful and unnatural), and to be honest, I felt the same way with karaoke, but it was brilliant. Like the darts, it was strangely addictive. During our first foray into the world of karaoke (yes, there were plenty more) we only booked an hour session but ended up extending it by three. It was just so satisfying singing our lungs out to the 80s classics of Madonna and Prince. You can also order drinks and food to be delivered to your booth. After a few sakes, there's no turning back.

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Harajuku is home to epic fashions in Tokyo, Japan.
Harajuku = epic fashions.

Harajuku

Gwen Stefani definitely had it right when she wrote the lyrics: ‘Harajuku Girls you got the wicked style’. Not only is this the best spot to catch a glimpse of the Harajuku girls in their elaborate threads, but you can also get yourself some quirky fashion and a drool-worthy calorie-laden crepe on the main drag of Takeshita Street. I found myself a stylish heart-shaped backpack and one step closer to a heart attack at 30 after trying the strawberry ice cream crepe with all the frills. This is the perfect place to get those souvenirs you have completely forgotten about because you have been having too much fun to even think about your loved ones.

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City skyline of beautiful Tokyo at night.
Tokyo bedazzles.

Park Hyatt Tokyo

For a Lost in Translation moment, head to the iconic Park Hyatt Tokyo, stat. I would recommend visiting on your first night in town as it’s a great way to ease yourself into Japan. Whether you are a Bill Murray fan or not, you will certainly be impressed with the panoramic view of Tokyo from the 41st floor. The best part is, from 5pm to 9pm, the Peak Bar hosts the happy hour to beat all happy hours, with endless drinks and canapés for approximately $40AUD. I'm talking cocktails, bubbles, beer – whatever your heart desires. People say that Disneyland is the happiest place on earth but I disagree.

These must-dos are the tip of the iceberg when visiting Japan. I could go on all day about how amazing Japan is but it’s best you check it out for yourself. I promise you won’t be disappointed.


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Odette Des Forges

I am a travel nut that is always looking for the next big adventure, and the next cheap cocktail. Once the plane hits the landing strip on a return journey, I’ve already mapped out an upcoming trip in my mind. And in my mind it is miraculously free somehow, which helps as travel makes me chronically broke.