Welcome to Day 4 of my Week In Tokyo series. If you want to go back to see Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3, see the links at the bottom of the post.
DAY 4 | TOKYO STATION + GINZA+ SHINJUKU
Imperial Palace | East Gardens
Start your morning with a nice walk at the palace gardens. This is one of the many beautiful green spaces in the city. It is possible to book a tour of the palace but this must be done in advance. Tours are offered in Japanese and in English through audio headsets. The inner palace gardens generally aren’t open to the public with the exception being December 23rd, the Emperor’s birthday. On this day, the Emperor and his wife will make a public appearance on the balcony. If you’re a runner, this is a great place to get in your morning run. The loop around the palace gardens is about 5K.
Hours: 9:00 – 17:00
Tokyo Station is the busiest station in Japan. However, even if you’re not heading out of the city, this is one of my favorite places to visit because it’s so easy to spend hours wandering all the hallways in the station. You can go shopping, find amazing omiyage (souvenirs) for your family, and some many foods to EAT. I also love the architecture on the Marunouchi side entrance which is modeled after the 1914 brick design. It’s beautiful when it’s all lit up at night. Note: On my last visit it was under construction.
Shop Hours: (Varies) Typically 10:00 – 20:00
Ramen Street | Tokyo Station
You can’t leave Japan without eating ramen. One of the most convenient and delicious places to find ramen is Ramen Street in the basement of Tokyo Station. Many blogs are going to tell you which place you HAVE to go to. But I say- just have fun! Depending on the day/time some places will have a long wait. So trust your gut (and nose) and go where ever you think looks the best. I haven’t been to a ramen shop I DIDN’T like on Ramen Street. Beginner’s tip: Orders are placed on the automated ticket vending machine before sitting down. Use the pictures to help you choose. Or do what I did and ask the person behind you in line for help. Then you give your ticket to the staff who will bring you your order.
Hours: 11:00 – 20:00 (Varies by store)
Illumination Street | Ginza
This recommendation is more seasonal. But I LOVE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS. And in my opinion, nobody does Christmas illuminations as well as Tokyo. So I had to include this on the list. The illumination usually begins in late November and continues through early January. You can view these lights from Marunouchi Naka-dori,Otemachi Naka-dori, and elsewhere.
Hours: 6:00 – 23:00
If your style of shopping is high-end, luxury brands, then Ginza is the place for you. Every international designer brand has a shop in this neighborhood, from Chanel to Gucci to Kate Spade to YSL. It’s also a great place to go if you’re jewelry shopping for that special ring (like we did over Christmas). If that’s not your style, Shibuya or Shinjuku might be the place for you.
Hours: 11:00 – 21:00 (varies by store)
Shinjuku is a neighborhood in Tokyo that can keep surprising you with new things to do, day or night. If you’re looking for a place to enjoy some sunshine while enjoying a beautiful garden, head over to Shinjuku Park. It’s very beautiful and you’ll often see couple’s taking wedding photos here. There’s a small entrance fee of about $2.
Hours: 09:00 – 16:00 (Closed on Mondays)
Robot Restaurant | Shinjuku
The Robot restaurant became very famous after being featured on an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. It’s become a tourist trap for foreign travelers ever since but you won’t see anything else like this in the world. With ticket prices around $80, it’s not the most budget friendly event, but if you can spare the expense, go and enjoy. You can save a bit by looking for coupons (in flyers or magazines around the city) or by buying tickets online. Insider tip: don’t order the bento meal they offer. It’s terrible. You can find something much better for half the price at your local convenience store.
Hours: 16:00 – 23:00 (4 shows per night)
Sitting atop Toho Cinemas in Shinjuku is a statue of Gozilla. If you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to look up and check it out.
Zoetrope | Whiskey Bar
After you’ve had your senses overloaded at the Robot Restuarant, cool things down by heading over to Zoetrope for a night cap. This whiskey bar is small and intimate with only 15 seats. There are silent movies or old Suntory commercials playing on the wall. There is a $6 fee to sit down and only whiskey on the menu. It’s a nice place to come with a date.
Hours: 19:00 – 04:00
If you liked this post and want to see more recommendations in Tokyo, check out the links below. Be sure to follow the blog if you’d like to receive guides for Days 5-7. Thanks for reading!