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! :)
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.
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!
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