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Let's Go To: Tokyo, Japan - Part I

Tokyo can be intimidating. Whether it's the cost or the amount of people, I completely understand and guess what? I was born and raised there! I may be biased but Tokyo really is one of the most exciting places you'll ever visit. The best transportation system, top notch customer service, the highest number of Michelin star restaurants in the world and the list goes on!

With all that said, I'm really excited to share my list of places I love, mostly because some of my recommendations include places that are not going to show up in any city guide - totally local approved! I'll be back with a Part II as well!


Shoto Park | Local Approved | - There are several beautiful parks in Tokyo but this one is special to me because I've been playing there since I was a little girl. It's not a big park but it's perfect for both kids and adults alike. The pond area has plentiful benches where I sat and read a book while basking in some serious fall foliage. It's somewhat in a residential area about 10 minutes away from Shibuya but if you're staying in that area and need some nature, I highly recommend.



Tokyo SkyTree - No, I'm not the first person to talk about visiting the Tokyo SkyTree but for emphasis...visit the SkyTree! It's currently the tallest tower in the world and despite the crowds, it's still worth it. I highly recommend paying the extra 500 yen or so to go up a few more floors; the view is absolutely remarkable. Another fun thing to do is visit the cafe and grab a window seat. The menu is a bit overpriced but what do you expect? The drinks and food are "sky" themed and 100% adorable! 



Swimmer Harajuku - Swimmer is possibly the cutest shop you'll ever visit. It's a small chain; I believe they have approximately 5 stores throughout Japan. They carry all sorts of lifestyle goods; dish-ware, beauty products, stationery but the cutest of them all - baked items. They have the most adorable macarons and mini cakes. If I'm correct, the Harajuku location is one of the only Swimmer shops that carry baked goods! Go grab them, they're Insta-worthy! :)  



Shoto Cafe | Local Approved | - This place is the ultimate local favorite. Their food is excellent but they're known for their "Butter Toast" which is the most heavenly, moist, fluffiest chiffon cake you'll ever eat in your life. It's hard to battle for "best food" in Tokyo as the city has an overabundance of delicious food but this cake is difficult to beat. Pair this with their latte and it makes for the perfect afternoon treat. 


L'Occitane Cafe - Yes, the L'Occitane that sell hand creams and beauty products! I don't know about your city but in the states, I've never heard of them having a cafe. This cafe is located right in the "Shibuya Scramble" crossing (Google: Tokyo crossing) and takes up 3 floors of a building. The 1st floor sells their typical products but the 2nd and 3rd floor serves lunch and dinner! The food is great but extremely pricey. The best part is the view of Shibuya, so I figure I'm paying for the real estate and experience as well. 



Big Buddha & Kamakura - About an hour away from Tokyo is Kamakura, a small-ish city with a lot to offer. Their main attraction is the Buddhist temple, Kotoku-in which is the home of the famous Great Buddha. The Buddha is is 13.35 meters (43.8 ft) tall and weighs a whopping 121 tons (267,000 lbs)! It's hard to imagine how large it is until you stand by it! The Great Buddha is completely hollow, making visitors able to walk inside of the bronze giant. The streets surrounding Kamakura is also an attraction in itself; a lot of gift shops and Japanese eateries. 



Uogashi Standing Sushi | Local Approved | - While the location of this sushi restaurant is in a very touristy area, "Center-Gai" in Shibuya, I have never seen a tourist eating there. My Mom discovered this small sushi bar and we've been hooked ever since. The interesting thing about this place is that it's standing room only - but it absolutely does not discount the quality of the sushi. The price is right and the quality is great; perfect for a busy day!


I hope you enjoyed part I of my favorite places here in Tokyo, Japan. Living here for 18 years means nothing - it's an ever changing, ever growing city that makes a local feel like a tourist at times. It's been so nice being home, spending time with family and old friends. I have two more weeks to go; can't wait to discover more!

I post a lot of fun places and delicious things on Instagram. If you aren't already, I would love for you to follow along! Click here!

Next stop: Kanazawa, Japan

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8 comments

  1. Hi Kana! This post is supremely awesome and very helpful! I can't wait to visit the country that I have been fascinated by for as long as I can remember and for sure I will be visiting each of these places you have recommended! Looking forward to your next post on Japan! :)

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    1. Hi Akshaya! I recognized you and it made my day! I'm so glad this was helpful for you! I'm excited for you to visit Japan, I just know you'll love it! I'll make sure my other posts (I have 2 more coming!) are helpful as well! Thank you so much for stopping by! xo

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  2. Hi Kana, thanks for sharing because this is probably the first time I'm reading a post highlighting the non-touristy spots in Japan :) I would love to go to Japan some day and I reckon autumn/fall season would be the best because I love the fall foliage. Cheers! #MondayEscapes

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    1. Hi Kat! Aww that's really nice of you to say thank you! If you love fall foliage, I definitely recommend autumn season - Kyoto is even more beautiful for foliage! Thank you for stopping by! xo

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  3. Hey Kana, this is an amazing post. I love insider's tips, and these ones are just the kind of things I look for in cities like Tokyo. That little park where you grew up is lovely, and I would love to go up the tower for a great view. And I must say, so far, here in Europe I also haven't seen any L'Occitane cafe!
    Also, you left me mouth watering with the "Butter Toast". Oh my, seriously, take me to Tokyo asap :D

    Thank you for joining #MondayEscapes!

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    1. Hi Allane! Thank you for stopping by and hosting as always! I'm glad you enjoyed my insider tips on seeing Tokyo! xo

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  4. I never knew Occitane had a restaurant either! The food there looks delicious. I've never visited Tokyo, so this is a fascinating post for me. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I know! I was shocked when I visited too - not only that but their food was actually good! :) Than you so much for stopping by, Nell! xo

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