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4 Best Things to Do in Tokyo

21 Feb

Have you ever wondered what locals do when visiting a new place? My hometown is Tokyo, and I’m often asked that question. Today I’ll share with you the four best things to do in Tokyo.

1. Harmonica yokocho(ハーモニカ横丁)

Kichijouji (吉祥寺) is my home, and Harmonica Yokocho lies at the heart of it. It was originally built as a black market called yamiichi(闇市) after WWII when there was a shortage of food supply. Today about 100 restaurants, bars, and stores line up in small alleys. It’s popular among locals and tourists alike.

My favorite place in Harmonica Yokocho is a Chinese restaurant called Minmin. They have the best gyoza (餃子) in the city!

Harmonica Yokocho

Minmin (みんみん)

2. Tocho: The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (東京都庁)

Sometimes I feel the urge to see the city from above. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is a perfect place to do that. It’s in Shinjuku, the city center, and easy to get there from the station. You can go to the observation deck and see great views of Tokyo for free.

Views from the observation deck

3. Hiking in Mount Mitake (御岳山)

You may be surprised to learn that there are many mountains in Tokyo. After being in a crowded and busy city, it’s nice to get away and do some hiking.  A few weeks ago I went to Mount Mitake that is less than 2 hours from the city center. While hiking the mountain, I saw a Musasabi (ムササビ), a Japanese giant flying squirrel! It’s rare to see them, especially because they’re nocturnal animals.

View from the top of Mt. Mitake


4. Onsen in Ome City (青梅市)

Take a Chuo Line from the city center and you’ll arrive in Ome in about an hour and a half. You’ll find an onsen, an old Japanese style home, and museums. As I strolled down the Tamagawa river, I happened to see an old house built at the end of Edo period. A man was tending the fire and showing the house to visitors. He explained the history of the house and how people used to live. After that I went to an onsen and saw a beautiful sunset.

Sunset in Ome, Tokyo


Sakura in Hirosaki City

5 Jul

hirosaki-6-640x360Hirosaki is a city in western Aomori Prefecture known for its beautiful castle and cherry blossoms. The city holds a Sakura Matsuri (Cherry Blossom Festival) every year from April 23 to May 5. Read more

Japan’s Most Beautiful Armor Rests in Aomori

7 Jan

Kushihiki Hachiman-gu

Kushihiki Hachiman-gu is a historical shrine in Hachinohe, Aomori, dating back to 1166. Because of its long history, the shrine owns many treasures, including two sets of armor designated as National Important Cultural Properties. I was surprised to learn that some of the country’s most beautiful samurai armor could be found in a small city in Aomori. Read more

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