Drifting Through Tokyo

Secondary CNET and Japan enthusiast, Alex Greathead, guides us through his favourite places in Tokyo.

I have always been fascinated by Japan, the history, the culture, the food...and I am lucky enough to have visited the amazing country twice since working for Chatteris. My love for Japan is so strong that it could not be condensed into a single blog post, so here are my 4 top places to visit in Japan’s capital, Tokyo.

Before I start, I think it is important to mention a few tips for staying in Japan.
  1. Stay in a traditional Japanese hostel with tatami mat. It’s surprisingly comfy and much cheaper than a standard hostel
  2. Pick up some basic Japanese, the locals love it and it’s also polite
  3. Download MEETUP. It’s a very active app in Japan which lets you meet up with other travellers

Number 4: Shinjuku
There is a lot to do in Shinjuku. The Golden Gai area has a historical and unique charm with over 200 tiny bars packed into the space of a football field, be cautious if you are asthmatic though! A 2 minute walk from Golden Gai is Kabukicho, the nightlife capital of Tokyo (named after the historical Kabuki theatre). It boasts a wide variety of cafes, restaurants, shops (as well as clubs) and is definitely an enjoyable experience. Kabukicho is also home to the bizarre fanfare that is the Robot Café; the world famous wacky café that assaults your senses with bright lights, loud music, weird dancing and lots of robots. It comes with a hefty price tag though so book online to save a good chunk of cash! If the daze of neon lights is too much, you can always nip over to Hanazono shrine next door or there is also the Tokyo Metropolitan Building nearby, which has an amazing viewpoint from the top for free. This is a much better option than paying for Tokyo Tower, if you’re trying to save money.

View from Tokyo Metropolitan Building

Number 3: Shibuya
Shibuya in Tokyo is home to Hachiko Shrine, the tragic yet adorable true story of a loyal Shiba Inu who waited for his deceased owner to come back for over 9 years (a fantastic film which I’d highly recommend). It is also home to the busiest crossing in the world, featured in Resident Evil and Tokyo Drift. Grab a front row seat at Starbucks or go further afield for a wide selection of Karaoke bars, cafes, and local restaurants.

The world famous Shibuya crossing

Number 2. Harajuku

Harajuku is the centre of fashion and design and home to two of my favourite places.  
  1. Meiji Shrine, a beautiful forested shrine in the centre next to the emperor’s train
  2. Kiddy Land, the place to visit if you want to find a wide selection of all cartoon, childhood and anime things, from Pokémon to Star Wars to Studio Ghibli!

Meiji Shrine Forest

Number 1: Akihabara
Also known as electric avenue, Akihabara is home to dozens of electronic stores, hundreds of manga and animes stores and a multitude of themed cafes like Cat Cafés, Owl Café’s, and Maid Cafés. If you're not remotely into Anime and Manga, stay clear, but if you are, this place is like heaven. Once you have exhausted yourself, unwind an Ueno Park which is a beautiful nearby garden.

A street in Akihabara


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