TOP 7 UNIQUE EXPERIENCES IN TOKYO, JAPAN
beautiful, and wild, and weird and luxurious and old and new and everything in between
1. Mario Go Kart escapade
This is probably one of the coolest experiences you can have anywhere in the world period. If you’re a fan of Mario kart, video games, driving and just sightseeing in general, Tokyo’s Mario Go Cart Escapade should be on your to do list. Step 1 is coming into the shop and choosing your related-crazy outfit (will it be a Princess Peach dress or your old pal Yoshi? or your favorite anime character?). Step 2 is to get into your go-kart car and follow your guide who will show you around Tokyo and some of its best attractions like the Tokyo Tower, Rainbow Bridge, Roppongi and the Shibuya Crossing. Each go-kart is equipped with its own personal speaker to add wonder to your already wonderful experience. Step 3 is to get back to the shop with the biggest smile on your face because you’ve just spent 3 hours of incredible epicness. Obviously there are in-between steps like them checking your permit (check this link to see which permits are eligible) and passport, and getting a security briefing.
Price: around 70 $ (usd)
One of the companies offering this experience: MARICAR
2. Sumo wrestling training
I don’t know if they practice Sumo wrestling somewhere else than Japan, but this is as unique to the country as it gets. Probably one of the strangest sports I’ve seen, but the experience is wonderful. The first time I went to Japan, I was really intent on watching a Sumo fight, and for the life of me, I could not find a ticket, every single fight was sold out. So yes, watching a sumo fight is a unique and extremely cool experience in Tokyo, but due to the fact that it’s so hard to come by a ticket (unless you pre-order tickets and you already know when and for how long you’ll stay in Tokyo, but for someone like me who usually travels with almost 0 clear itineraries in mind, it’s not really feasible), I’ve decided that watching Sumo training is just as unique and cool (plus you’re closer to the fighters).
Price: between 70 and 90 $ per person
Link to experience: Magical Trip
3. Virtual reality dream
If you’re a fan of video games, Escape the Room games, sci-fi, or futuristic stuff in general, you should really consider going there. The biggest Virtual reality space has opened in Japan and its located in Shinjuku, Tokyo. You’ll get immersed in the universe of your choice (Evangelion, Dragon Ball, and Mario to name a few) and get to act out scenes and play games, there’s also zombie apocalypse and prehistorical world simulations, and the whole experience is very immersive and fun.
Price: Varies, but you can buy passes here
4. aerial view of the World’s Largest City
Helicopter trips aren’t cheap, and I’ve traveled to a lot of different cities and have never been tempted to take one (even in New York). But Tokyo is Tokyo, and it’s beautiful, and wild, and weird and luxurious and old and new and everything in between. So if there’s one city that is worth the cost, that’s gotta be it. Walking around Tokyo is my favorite way of exploring the city, but you can’t fully grasp how vast, bustling and simply fantastic this city is until you’re up in the sky looking at it in all directions with Mount Fuji in the distance. Also Tokyo is the biggest city in the world so there’s that.
price: 200 $ per person, but there are family plans.
One of the companies offering this experience: govoyagin
5. ramen and social anxiety
Nowhere else in the world has my palate been as satisfied as it did in Tokyo. But I won’t recommend any restaurants in particular because I think you should just stroll down the streets and explore, neither will I include ‘Eating’ as the number 5 item on this list because that’s ridiculously obvious. Instead, I will recommend this: go to any delicious ramen shop in Tokyo and order the ramen from a ticketing machine, choose your exact ingredients, broth and base and pay with no human interaction whatsoever (social anxiety victims and introverts rejoice). Go sit, and your ramen order will magically appear in front of you (someone will give it to you via the curtains in front of your seat, this is as magical as it gets). For more recommendations on food and dishes to try in Japan check out this post: Top food you need to try in Japan.
Look for restaurants like Ishiran ramen
Price: around 8$ in general
Kabuki (歌舞伎) is a traditional Japanese theatre art with highly stylized songs and mimed, using exaggerated gestures and boxy movement to convey emotions. The kanjis of the world mean respectively [Ka] sing (歌), [Bu] dance (舞), and [Ki] skill (伎). The performances are simply stunning and the experience is unique and magical. A show would usually run for over 4 hours, which is very different from what you might be used to, so even if you don’t like theatre, try too at least see one act (which usually runs for a little over 15 minutes) to see if you would enjoy it. Single act tickets can be bought directly before the act at Kabukiza theatre in Tokyo. Also, be sure ask for a translation device as the whole play is in Japanese.
One ticket act price: between 4$ (500 yen) and 27$ (3000 yen), can only be bought at Kabuzika theatre
Full performance ticket: vary a lot depending on the play: Kabukiweb
7.fresh vitality in an Onsen
Getting naked in front of strangers in a public bath or hot spring is a thing in Japan. Onsen is the Japanese word for hot spring, and soothing aching muscles, improving circulation and eczema are just a few of the many health benefits an Onsen can offer. The first 10 minutes of the experience might be awkward for first timers, but definitely well worth it after a full day of sightseeing and activities.
One onsen I recommend: Toshimaen Niwano
Prices: between 9 and 20$ depending on the onsen, the hour (after 6pm or before) and the day of the week ( weekdays or weekend)