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Travel Culture Tokyo Japan

Satisfy your Inner Otaku: How to See Tokyo in 24 Hours

While most of Japan is world-renowned for Zen gardens and temples, Tokyo is a bustling metropolis city. So whether you’re an avid anime fan and have always dreamed of visiting the capital, or you just want to do some sightseeing – here is your complete guide to 24 hours in Tokyo.

The beauty of most Asian cities like Seoul, Hong Kong, and Taipei lies in seeing them at night time when all the buildings light up like colourful mosaics. Tokyo is no exception. However, that doesn’t mean there is a shortage of activities in the daytime!

Looking for the perfect place to stay? Check out our list of favourite places at the bottom.

24 Hours Tokyo Japan

Yoyogi Park

Nestled in the heart of the famous Harajuku district, Yoyogi Park is one of the largest parks in Tokyo. This is a great place to gain some energy and start your day in Tokyo. This park features many square kilometres of trees, and it also has an area with a stadium, outdoor stage and other accommodations. There is also a cycling path.

The park also features the famous Meiji shrine. The entrance is marked by large torii gates. If you are lucky enough, you may see a traditional wedding take place here!

There are also many gardens in the park, which you can enter for a small fee (about 500¥). I went to the Meiji Jingu Inner Garden, which was frequented by the Meiji Emperor and Empress. The most popular part of the garden is Kiyomasa’s Well. If you go during a busy time, you may have to wait in line before being able to see the well.

Address: 2-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya, Tokyo 151-0052

Get There: Harajuku station, JR Line

Harry’s

While there are many animal-themed cafes in Tokyo, including an owl café, I recommend HARRY, a hedgehog café minutes away from Yoyogi Park beside Harajuku station. They also have a location in Minato. The café opens at noon, although it is recommended that you make a reservation because it can get quite busy! I got there just a few minutes after 12:00pm and it was already crowded.

Paying the entrance fee of 1,500¥ allows you to play with the hedgehogs for 30 minutes and includes one free drink from a coffee vending machine. Once paid, you are seated at a small table where you can hold and play with the hedgehogs.

Depending on how many people are with you, you may sit with others around the table. You also get garden gloves to hold them.  Once seated, this is where you hold and play with the hedgehogs. For a few extra hundred yen, you can also feed them.

(Harry’s cleverly gets its name from the Japanese name for hedgehog, harinezumi, which literally translates to spiky mouse. Adorable.)

Check out our video of Harry’s here.

If you want to take a hedgehog home, you can also buy them. The prices range from about 4,000¥ to 7,000¥ for one hedgehog.

Address: Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Jingumae1-13-21
Get There: Harajuku station, JR Line 

Kawaii Monster Café

By now you may have built up an appetite, so it’s time to head to the Kawaii Monster Cafe! Also located in Harajuku, it is a famous restaurant known for its Instagrammable-ness. When you get there, you are greeted by a hostess dressed in a kawaii outfit. There is an entrance fee of 500¥. After paying, you are ushered inside.

There are four themes inside the restaurant: Mushroom Disco, Milk Stand, BAR Experiment, and Mel-Tea room. Each theme has unique décor. Food prices are about 2,000¥, which includes a main dish, a dessert, and a drink. You can upgrade your drinks and desserts for a few extra hundred yen.

After leaving, you get a pink stamp card. The next time you visit, you avoid the seating fee.

Address: 4-31-10 Jingumae, 4F, YM Square Bldg, Shibuya 150-0001, Tokyo

Get There: Harajuku station, JR Line 

Akahibara

No visit to Tokyo would be complete without a trip to Akahibara – the district capital of all things anime and manga! Although Akahibara initially sold electronics – and still does – it is now more famous for its plethora of stores related to otaku culture. Akahibara is the more male-oriented district, so visit Ikebukuro if you want to go to its female counterpart in Tokyo.

Just by taking a stroll through the streets you can see many stores catering to all aspects of anime culture, ranging from cosplay to figurines, DVDs, manga, t-shirts, and other merchandise. Japan’s largest anime store, Animate, is open here as well. Featuring 8 floors, it is a must-see store in Akahibara. Each floor has its own specialty, so make sure you know what you want to get, or you may spend hours here!

Address: 4-3-2 Sotokanda Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0021

Get There: Akahibara station, JK/JY/JB lines

Memory Lane

Shinjuku station is the heart of Tokyo. This famous intersection has been featured in many movies and pictures of Japan, and it is often the place that most people think of when they conjure images of Tokyo.

However, just a few minutes away from the glitz and glamour of Shinjuku station is a street known as Memory Lane. This is an old street tucked away near the station. Once you enter, you will see that it is filled with over 60 small restaurants cramped together, most of which can seat about ten or so people. With so many restaurants to choose from, you won’t go hungry!

Address: Nishishinjuku, 1 Chome−2, Tokyo
Get There: Shinjuku station, JA/JS/JY/JC/JB lines

Robot Show

After dining in Memory Lane, you should make your way to the Robot Restaurant. When you think of Tokyo, you probably think of neon lights, crazy outfits, and giant robots! The Robot Restaurant is where all of these things come true. Located in Shinjuku, it has been parodied and featured in dozens of TV shows and movies. Reportedly, the venue cost over $10 million dollars to build.

The restaurant features a live show composed of 4 mini-stories revolving around fighting robots. Although the show is about an hour and a half long, there are breaks in-between the four shows. During this time, you can buy simple drinks and snacks. You should buy your tickets online ahead of time, although reportedly Klook is where you can get the best deal.

Make sure you show up to the show before it starts!

Address:  1-7-7 Kabukicho Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Get There: Shinjuku station, JA/JS/JY/JC/JB lines

Bonus: Sailor Moon stores

If you grew up watching Sailor Moon, you’ll be happy to know there are not one – but two! – Sailor Moon stores in Tokyo located in the same mall. The first store features stationery and small toys. The other store sells high-end purses and expensive figurines costing hundreds of dollars.

Both of these stores are located in the Laforet Mall. If Sailor Moon is not to your liking, this mall is also where you can find many Lolita dresses, gothic outfits, and other clothing Harajuku is known for. Be sure to bring lots of cash as most stores have clothing that costs around 10,000¥.

Address:  1 Chome-11-6 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001

Get There: Harajuku station, JR Line 

Have a little more time?

Try:

A visit to the Studio Ghibli Museum, a celebration of Miyazaki’s beloved animations. You generally have to purchase a month before your trip but it’s so worth it!

Grab your Studio Ghibli Museum Tickets here.

Something that’s also very difficult to see outside Tokyo is a sumo wrestler match and really quite incredible.

Grab your Tournament Tickets here.

If you are lucky enough to have seen these attractions, you can say that your first 24 hours in Tokyo were well-spent. Although there are many other places to visit in Tokyo, these are great for first-timers, especially those of an otaku mentality.

Tokyo is the heart of all things otakus like us fell in love with growing up. For those who spent their youth dreaming of the day they would visit Tokyo at last, but were perhaps afraid that it wouldn’t live up to the hype, set aside your fears. It truly does. Tokyo is everything you ever wanted it to be, and if you follow this guide your first 24 hours there will be perfect.

Where to Stay:

Book and Bed is a great option: See our full review here. But essentially, you sleep on a bookshelf or in one of the bunks. They each have a privacy curtain. Theres loads of books to read, excellent facilities, and you can pick one of three convenient locations (Ikebukro, Shinjuku, Asakusa) for getting around.

Book Tea Bed: If you’re interested in a different book themed hostel (can’t have too many) then this one is also lovely and serves different locations. (Ginza, Azabu-Juban)

Keio Plaza Hotel: If you’re looking for somewhere a bit bigger and private then the Keio Plaza Hotel has lovely rooms, facilities, and they offer a free shuttle bus to Disneyland if you’re headed there. Transport in Tokyo is expensive so this is definitely a saving!

If you’re thinking of heading down to Osaka then try our favourite food and cycle tour.

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Kamilla Berdin
Kamilla Berdin

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