8 Fun Things to Do in Japan For An Unforgettable Trip
Although rooted in traditional culture, Japan is on the cutting edge of fashion and technology. It is also a country that prides itself on being unique.
Both fascinating and wondrous, Japan is a place to see sights not anywhere else in the world. From maid cafés to six-level arcades designed for adults, here is list of eight fun things to do that will guarantee an unforgettable trip.
1. Choosy Cat Café
You won’t see any "no pets allowed" signs at this store, only cat aficionados and their furry friends. 500 yen will buy you half an hour at this cat cafe, which includes toys and catnip to entertain the various kitties. Coffee, tea, and pastries are available for sale, but outside drinks are also allowed, so feel free to bring your own personal beverage.
Ever wanted to catch your own dinner while enjoying the comfort of a restaurant? Then head on over to Zauo, a restaurant where customers not only order, but have the experience of fishing for their own food. For those who prefer a less hands-on approach, a ready to order menu is also available, offering items such as yaki soba, tempura, and broiled lobster. Children’s sushi-making classes are also available.
3. Golden Gai
Between Shinjuku City Office and Hanazono Shrine.
One of the 23 city wards of Tokyo, Shinjuku is home to the Golden Gai district, a stretch of six narrow alleys packed with den-like bars, authentic eateries, and tiny ramen stops. Themed drinking establishments are plentiful here, with décor ranging from the outlandish to Halloween inspired interiors such as the one at Zucca. Resembling an old Japanese shanty town, Golden Gai will make you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. Although fascinating to explore during any time of the day, the district comes alive around 9pm, with bars staying open until early morning. For those who wish to venture off the beaten path, Golden Gai is an unmissable experience.
4. Shinjuku Copa Bowl
Humax Pavilion Kabukicho 3/4F, 1-20-1 Kabukicho
With neon-colored drenched lanes and special effects such as black lights, Shinjuku Copa Bowl is a 24-hour spot for bowling fans. Fitting to its flashy atmosphere, the bowling balls are also vivid in color, featuring shades such as neon pink, orange, yellow, and bright green. The Fantasy Bowling area is a popular option, with planets painted on the walls and disco balls spinning overhead. Late night packages are offered for night owls.
5. Club Sega
1-10-9 Soto-kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Located in Tokyo’s Akihabara district, Club Sega has six floors of arcade games, including classics such as Street Fighter and Tekken. Known as one of the largest arcades in Tokyo, this mecca for video game fans is seriously addicting. The basement, which includes a tournament zone for professional gamers, has 45 gaming cabinets designed for competition. Claw machines abound on the first floor of this arcade, encouraging you to test your skill at retrieving soft toys. The second level has games that rely on speed and rhythm, such as Taiko no Tatsujin 13, the drum game featured in the film Lost In Translation. The third floor has a variety of games that focus on fighting, like Street Fighter IV and Sengoku Basara X. Japanese Gundam themed games can be found on the fourth floor, while the fifth has individual arcade cabinets with 100-inch jumbo screens. Games are reasonably priced at 100 yen each, and refreshments are available at vending machines.
Between Shinjuku and Shibuya on the Yamanote Line
The epicenter for fashion that ranges from the bizarre to the truly unique, Harajuku is known worldwide as a haven for fashionistas. Takeshita Street, a spot known to attract Japan’s teenage population, is filled with thrift shops, fashion boutiques, and cool, trendy stores. Double the length of Takeshita Street is a place called Omotesando. Geared towards the adult crowd, this tree-lined avenue is upscale, with clothes for fashion conscious individuals in their 30’s and 40’s. More than just a place for shopping enthusiasts, Harajuku also contains one of Tokyo’s major shrines, so be sure to check out Meiji Jinhu.
7. Robot Restaurant
1-7-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku
An absolute must see, Robot Restaurant is performance theater at its finest. With bizarre visuals and animatronics, it is a uniquely Japanese experience, both over the top and incredibly entertaining. Along with moving floats and crazy costumes, pyrotechnics and lasers are part of the show. Well worth the 7000 yen entrance charge, Robot Restaurant is a loud, colorful, and wonderfully frantic place.
Within Chiyoda District and bordered by Asakusa/Ueno Taito District
A district in the Shiyoda ward of Japan, Akihabara is a gathering spot for Otaku—a Japanese term used to describe the manga and anime fandom. Along with anime and manga merchandise, stores in this area also sell retro video games, figurines, card games, and unique collectibles. You may also want to check out a maid cafe, where waitresses dressed in frilly, Lolita-style clothing call you “master” and cater to your ever whim.
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