Tokyo is an amazing city to visit and we tried to fit in as much as possible in our nine days there. These are our destination tips if you are there for Tokyo Marathon or other.
See the hustle and bustle of Shibuya – neon lights, game arcades, people and shops galore, and the Shibuya Crossing. This is a great place to wander around for a few hours.
Escape the busy streets of Tokyo at the Meiji Shrine, dedicated to Emperor Meiji, set in a forested area close to Harajaku/Yoyogi Park. It’s a lovely serene walk amongst the trees to the shrine.
Visit the Yanaka neighbourhood where you can see old-style Tokyo. It has a real ‘locals’ feel, old style shops and buildings, market stalls and is a bit more chilled than other parts of Tokyo.
There is also a cemetery here which is interesting to see with the unusual wooden grave marker sticks. From here, it’s a nice walk through some neighbourhoods to Ueno Park.
We really enjoyed our Sunday walk through Ueno Park. Here you can see the Tokyo locals relaxing with their families on the weekend. Within the park are museums, Ueno Zoo, food stalls, Shinobazu Pond (with amazing sounding birds in the trees around the pond) and food stalls.
Another place to escape Tokyo’s hustle and bustle, is to visit one of the beautiful Japanese gardens. We visited Rikugien, near Komagome metro station.
We headed out of Tokyo after the marathon to Hakone which is a popular holiday destination in close reach of Tokyo. Hakone is known for it’s mountains and hot springs.
We stayed in the main town Gora and spent our two days there using our Hakone Free Pass (free transport on buses, cable car, boat) to visit Lake Ashinoko and hop on-off at some of the cable car stops.
The highlights along this route were the boat trip across the lake with a stop at Moto Hakone and a walk through the gardens of the Hakone Detached Palace, and the views from the cable car (with views of Mt Fuji on a clear day).
If you prefer a day trip even closer to Tokyo, head to Yokohama. It’s a beautiful, smaller, modern city set on the Port of Yokohama. We visited an old friend there who took us up the Yokohama Landmark Tower for awesome views of the city, then treated us to okonomiyaki for dinner.