Written by root. Posted in FEATURES


Published on March 06, 2019 with No Comments

As Royal Brunei returns to Tokyo this month, we celebrate with the city’s top unmissable experiences.


Tokyo is both sophisticated and modern with its staggering skyscrapers. Yet there remains traces of old Edo that is both mystical and beautiful. Just walk around to find streets crammed with wooden houses and traditional rickshaws running over cobblestones. This is what makes Tokyo such a thrilling city. From traditional tourist attractions to the latest trendy spots, Tokyo is able to connect the past and the future seamlessly. And if you are here for the first time, there are several unique experiences to have that will forever make Tokyo your unforgettable city.

The Tsukiji Fish Market was the largest fish market in the world. Handling more than 2,000 tons of seafood each day, Tsukiji-shijo (“market”) is a haven for fishermen, auctioneers and buyers for Tokyo’s best restaurants. Although the main historic wholesale market has moved to Toyosu in 2018, the outer markets that made Tsukiji what it was still remain. These are a combination of family-run eateries, specialists in kitchenware as well as food, fruits and vegetables. There are many places for you to graze on the best sashimis, see stalls that make delicious rice crackers and and there remains at least four traditional knive makers in the area. Or, visit Tsukiji Uogashi, a brand-new complex that opened in October 2018 and home to around 60 wholesalers selling seafood, fruits and vegetables. The outer market remains as busy as ever, especially over the weekends, and while the buzz of the former inner market is noticeably missing, the hodge-podge ambience of the outer markets still makes this a fantastic place to visit.

Shibuya best captures Tokyo in a nutshell. It is the frenetic and scrambling centre of modern Japanese culture. At the centre of it is the infamous Shibuya crossing, and nothing says “You’re in Tokyo!” better than this. Come here during peak hours and you will see why it is called the world’s busiest intersection – with upwards of 3,000 people crossing at a time! The streets of Shibuya are also where you can catch your first glimpse of what’s trending in fashion. The iconic building of Shibuya109, Shibuya Hikarie and Seibu are popular places to hunt for the latest trends. But there is also a quieter side to be experienced. Yoyogi Park is a sprawling 134-acre green oasis in Shibuya. You can catch daily amateur street performances, bike, picnic and observe how the locals chill. Although other parks have more cherry blossom trees, Yoyogi Park does have its fair share of the sakura, and can be crowded during the annual cherry blossom festival.

Harajuku is the home of cuteness, or “kawaii”. It is the best place to experience the city’s pop culture. Walk along the 350-metre Takeshita Street for an explosion of sound and colour. Tiny fashion shops jostle for space and shoppers’ attention with their displays of all things Lolita. It is also here where you will get the pulse on the latest teenage fashion craze and the next big thing. Hungry in Harajuku? No problem. There are plenty of funky restaurants and cafés, all equally cute in their bright and colouful design. Perhaps the food item most associated to the area is crepes, often filled with sweet cream, so don’t forget to dig into one.

The area known as Ueno is famous perhaps for its many cherry trees that burst into full bloom in March and April. The park is an expansive green space mere minutes by foot from Ueno Station. It is also home to the Tokyo Zoo where you can catch sight of the resident pandas and the pretty pink flamingos. Ueno also has the most number of museums in one area, including our favourite, the Tokyo National Museum for viewing of exceptional oriental artworks and antiquities including the ukiyo-e woodblock prints. Exit the park and walk towards Okachimachi Station and you will discover an area rich in culture and naturally vibrant: Ameyoko Street. This market bustles with street energy with stalls selling everything from snacks to sashimis and sportswear.

The allure of Akihabara is in its duty-free shopping. But make no mistake. This is not your regular shopping at the neighbourhood mall. Akihabara is all about megastores: multi-level retail outlets offering the best and latest in electronics and spare parts. Developed from its roots as a black market after World War II, Tokyo’s Electric Town is the place to go to hunt for mobile techs and accessories, cameras, computers and more. In recent years, it has also spawned other distinct subcultures such as manga, gaming, anime and figure collecting with dedicated shops sandwiched between the colossal electronics complexes to meet these individual obsessions. Come the weekends, the streets are crowded with committed cosplayers, adding a colourful layer to the atmosphere.

The spirit of Edo lives on in Asakusa more than any other parts of Tokyo. The neighbourhood lets visitors get a glimpse of the Edo period that reigned between 1603-1868, with many businesses continuing to carry on with the old traditions. At Asakusa’s most famous shopping street, Nakamise, dozens of stalls selling snacks and souvenirs line the 300-metre street that begins with the imposing Kaminarimon gate. Among the shops include Kurodaya, a Japanese washi paper producer since 1836 and Kururi, the producer of tenugui towel. Walk along the area to discover more gems such as the quaint confectioner Ameshin, the 200-year-old restaurant Komagata Dozeu with its traditional tatami floors, and Edo Soba Hosokawa that produces homegrown buckwheat noodles. Further afield is Kappabashi street, home to over 150 shops that cater to all kinds of kitchenware. Kamata Knife Shop has been around since 1923 and has more than 800 knive styles for you to choose from!


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