A Spontaneous Overnight Trip with Your Besties! Itineraries to Help You Enjoy Tokyo to the Fullest
Craving a spree to Japan with your besties, yet unable to take a weekday off? Worry not – it can be done over the weekend! Tokyo is an ideal overnight trip destination, with its convenient public transport system, many sightseeing spots, bustling shopping districts, and low crime rate. Moreover, with the availability of low-cost carriers in recent years, overnight trips have become more feasible than ever. Here are some tips to make your weekend getaway to Tokyo more enjoyable. Go reward and recharge yourself after a week of hard work!
May 22 2020 (Sep 09 2020)
※Article by commissioned writer
Start Your Amazing Holiday at Tsukiji Market!
Recharge Your Batteries With a Kaisen-Don Bowl at a Bargain Price
As you get off the red-eye flight to Tokyo and take the earliest train departing from the airport, we recommend first stopping by Tsukiji Outer Market for a kaisen-don (rice bowl dish with seafood), a local delicacy, for breakfast. The place is known for being home to many seafood restaurants, and fresh catches are delivered daily to its restaurants to be turned into delicious dishes. Given the freshness, wide selection, and reasonable price, the foods at Tsukiji Outer Market are indeed great value for money.
While Tsukiji Inner Market has moved to the new Toyosu Market in October 2018, the beloved outer market where more than 100 restaurants congregate remains the same, waiting for you to sample the yummy kaisen-don!
If your stomach is not yet sated, you may check out the numerous food stalls in the market, for instance the must-eat tamagoyaki (rolled omelet) from the famous "Tsukiji Yamacho". Although there is always a long queue in front of the stall, it is well worth the wait – just imagine the sight of the freshly prepared, golden tamagoyaki being handed to you and its taste as you take a bite!
Visit Tokyo Daijingu, the Powerful Shrine of Love and Relationships
After filling your belly, it is time to nourish your mind with spiritual energy. Tokyo Daijingu is revered as the most powerful shrine of love in Tokyo. No matter if you are single and looking for your Mr./Mrs. Right, already in love and hoping it will last, or simply wanting to improve your workplace relationships, this is the shrine to go to. It is also conveniently located – just take the Toei Oedo Line from Tsukiji Market to reach there directly.
During your visit, don't forget to draw a koimikuji (sacred lot of love) for a glimpse of your love fortune – it is said to be really accurate!
Wrap up your pilgrimage with an adorable omamori (Japanese amulet) like the lily-of-the-valley omamori. Carry it with you and it will surely bring good fortune!
Here Comes the Shopping Spree!
Shop at Tokyo's Trendiest District: Shibuya, Harajuku, Omotesando
Too much to do, too little time? Tokyo's trendiest area – the adjacent neighborhoods of Shibuya, Harajuku and Omotesando – might fulfill all of your desires at once. The area is packed with women's fashion brands, department stores, restaurants, souvenir shops, and more, which is perfect for a shopping and eating spree!
The boutiques centered on Takeshita Street, a popular check-in location in Harajuku, mainly target teenage girls and are inexpensive. Examples include WEGO, INGNI, KUTSUSHITAYA, and tutuanna. There are also famous cosmetics brands like 3CE and PAUL & JOE, drugstores, 100 yen shops like DAISO, souvenir shops like Calbee, and Japanese crepe stalls – you name it, it's there!
Right next door is Omotesando! It is lined with stylish international brands and toy shops like KIDDYLAND and LINE FRIENDS Flagship Store in Harajuku, as well as Japanese and European lifestyle stores like "niko and...", Søstrene Grene, and Flying Tiger Copenhagen. Try not to lose track of time while shopping here!
Have you ever come across Japanese models or street snaps in fashion magazines and thought to yourself, "I want to have the same hairstyle"? Now is your chance! More and more beauty salons in Tokyo have begun to serve foreigners, especially those in the tourist-filled Harajuku and Omotesando district. It might just be your perfect opportunity to have a makeover and experience the amazing service of Japanese beauty salons!
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at the Popular Conveyor-Belt Dessert Restaurant, "MAISON ABLE Cafe Ron Ron"
No sweet tooth could resist the temptation of desserts in Tokyo, and Harajuku, Omotesando, and Shibuya are practically a sweets paradise with numerous dessert shops! Having a hard time picking one? “MAISON ABLE Cafe Ron Ron”, the all-you-can-eat dessert restaurant, might be a good choice! Within 40 minutes, guests can revel in various sweets and drinks on the conveyor belt to their hearts' content. No wonder it is the talk of the town!
It is like dining at a conveyor belt sushi restaurant, except that all sushi are replaced by more than 30 kinds of delicate Japanese and Western desserts. Here you can taste sweets like Swiss rolls, chiffon cakes, muffins, macarons, wagashi (traditional Japanese confections), panna cotta, and crepes, as well as salty snacks like egg sandwiches and mini burgers if you have a sudden change of taste. They are not only delectable but also photogenic, ready to be uploaded to social media anytime. Forget about calories and dieting – eat till you drop with your girlfriends!
Shibuya, a Shopping and Entertainment Paradise for Youngsters
Shibuya is loved by both local youths and tourists as a haven of shopping and entertainment. It is full of department store complexes such as the iconic SHIBUYA109, PARCO (reopened in November 2019), Marui 0101, and the newest landmark Shibuya Hikarie, making it a breeze to browse through all the most popular fashion brands and niche clothing brands.
You can find flagship stores of international brands like UNIQLO from Japan, as well as Forever 21 and H&M from the west here.
And don’t forget to check out the Japanese cosmetics store AINZ&TULPE, which often collaborates with other brands to release limited-edition goods!
Calling all Disney fans! The Disney Store in Shibuya is a must-visit.
Looking for all kinds of lifestyle products, stationery, and makeups? Don Quijote, Tokyu Hands, and the 7-story flagship store of LOFT are your best bet.
Create Unique and Glamorous Photo Stickers With Your Besties!
Apart from using your own camera and smartphone, another method to capture memories during the trip is to visit a photo sticker booth. It is one of the favorite pastimes among young women and couples in Japan. Anyone can become as pretty or handsome as manga characters by making good use of special effects like beauty filters and cute add-ons. The printed photo stickers are the best souvenir for the journey with your best friends.
The photo sticker shop "moreru mignon" in Shibuya is wildly popular among Japanese girls, because other than the booths, there are also several zones under the theme of "a kingdom of desserts" where you can take nice photos and upload them to social media. As for the booths themselves, each has a different style so you definitely won’t get bored. Gather your besties and have fun creating Japanese-style photo stickers!
A Tipsy Evening With a Glamorous Night View of the Tokyo Tower
When the sun sets, it is time to take in the night view of Tokyo. There are a handful of widely known observation decks, but a better option is the “Sky Lounge Stellar Garden”, a bar on the 33rd floor of The Prince Park Tower Tokyo located next to the Tokyo Tower. There you may admire the views from a brand new angle.
What better way to spend the night than to have a few drinks and chat with your friends at a cosy, sky-high bar with the glimmering Tokyo Tower in the background?
Take a Coffee-Scented Stroll Through Kuramae and Discover Unique Souvenirs
After an exciting day in the lively city center, we suggest heading to the more serene "shitamachi" (working-class) area to balance things out. Located in the eastern part of Tokyo, Kuramae has been a craftsmen's hub since ancient times, and you can find quite a few interesting workshops hidden in the alleyways.
In recent years, due to the influx of craft cafés, the district has taken on an artistic air. If you have an appetite for coffee, stationery, or lifestyle goods, you are very likely to leave Kuramae with a bag full of spoils!
"DANDELION CHOCOLATE FACTORY & CAFE", a Craft Chocolate Café From San Francisco
Before returning home, why not have a leisurely brunch and collect your thoughts at a café that matches your tastes? Hailing from San Francisco, “DANDELION CHOCOLATE FACTORY & CAFÉ” is an acclaimed coffee shop in Kuramae specializing in bean-to-bar craft chocolate. From the sourcing of cocoa beans to the subsequent steps such as grinding and roasting, the entire process is carried out by their own workshop.
It is no easy feat to rise to fame as a chocolate maker in Kuramae, a neighborhood lined with dozens of craft cafés. It goes without saying that the delicacies offered by the store are of excellent quality and definitely worth a try. Consider bringing some back home as souvenirs for your family and friends!
"LEAVES COFFEE APARTMENT", a Lovely Café Just Around the Corner
“LEAVES COFFEE APARTMENT” is a small but unique coffee shop sitting at the corner of the road, consisting only of a takeaway counter without its own dine-in area (only a shared space with another shop). Yet, its popularity among the locals is not to be underestimated!
The coffee beans used in the shop come from renowned Norwegian café FUGLEN, and the barista skillfully prepares every coffee by hand in front of waiting customers. Opposite to the storefront is the beautiful Sumida River, and many would drop by to order a cup as they stroll along the river bank to admire the scenery, or walk over the bridge to appreciate the Tokyo Skytree.
Customize Your Own Notebook and Ink at Kakimori / inkstand by kakimori
Stationery store "Kakimori" and ink specialty store "inkstand by kakimori" are known for their craft stationery items. The former offers a great variety of Japanese-style stationery, including paper products, pens and ink.
Customized notebooks are their bestseller. Customers can pick from a wide range of sizes, paper types, cover patterns, binder rings, and binding methods to fully customize their one and only notebook.
On the other hand, the sister store "inkstand by kakimori" specializes in ink customization. Under the instruction of staff members, customers can take their favorite colors and mix them together to create a unique hue. Be it a souvenir for yourself or a present for a loved one, it would certainly be an eye-opening experience to pour your heart into creating personalized items!
Tokyo is an ever-changing city where you might discover something on every trip. If you have yet to visit any of the above recommendations, do give them a go on your next visit. Make the most out of your weekend getaway and fill it with wonderful memories!
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.