Tokyo according our bucket list
Whether you dream of crossing the breadth of America in a beaten-up Hummer or trekking through the Andes to watch the sun rise over Machu Picchu, everyone has a bucket list that’s unique to them. Call me a nerd infatuated with organization, but there’s nothing more satisfying than breaking down journeys into bite-sized pieces, making a list and being able to tick things off, which probably explains why I have more than one bucket list. Sticking to just one is seemingly impossible as it begins to grow, and soon, the list of places I haven’t been to could fill a room. Every time we head to a new country, we create a mini bucket list. And sometimes, even a bucket list within a bucket list. It’s inception at its best. An insight into the mind of a traveller whose spreadsheet obsession borders on unhealthy, here’s one of our favourite bucket lists full of ecentric encounters from our time travelling in Japan.
The Cat Cafés of Tokyo
If you’ve always dreamed of sipping expensive coffee to the sounds of J-pop surrounded by overly needy felines with a penchant for being tickled, a cat café is the place for you. They say the best things in life are free but cat cafes cost money, so that’s not true. You can consider the drink you purchased at an inflated price just a small price to pay for unlimited access to an abundance of kitties cuter and in greater supply than anywhere you’ve ever been before. Petting cats for an hour or so and watching them roam around like the princes and princesses that they truly are serves as a welcome distraction from the realities of life and delivers a dose of home comforts to those who have been travelling for sustained periods of time and are inevitably pining for their beloved family pet. You’ll find cat cafes dotted all over Tokyo, but head to Shinjuku for the greatest choice.
A Themed Restaurant
From dining with the undead at vampire cafes to robot restaurants where smoke, lasers and eccentric dancing are all part of the entrees, Tokyo is brimming with themed restaurants. Just take your pick! You’re unlikely to find anything like what lies on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo anywhere else in the world, which makes booking into one of these extravagant experiences a must-try when in town. At the top of our bucket list was Zauo. Seemingly a normal fish restaurant from the outside, beyond the glass doors lies a weird and wonderful part-restaurant, part-aquarium, where guests are asked to fish for their dinner. What you eat depends entirely on what you’re able to catch, as upon arrival, you’ll be armed with a fishing rod and bait to allow you to get to work. Once you’ve caught your meal, you’ll be seated within an enormous wooden boat. If you’re not a pro, fear not, their staff are on hand to catch a dish for you, at a cost.
There are fewer sports more iconic of a nation than sumo wrestling in Japan. As the country’s national sport, many tourists look to attend a match when in Tokyo, but where there’s popularity, there always lies an opportunity to obtain an exclusive version of events, far away from the foreigners. Visiting a sumo stable to see how these friendly giants achieve legendary status as professional wrestlers is the ultimate insight into a fascinating tradition that’s well over a thousand years old. You’ll see the wrestlers training in close quarters and experience some of the customary rituals associated with the sport, such as salt purification. If that’s not enough, Palace Hotel Tokyo offer the opportunity for you to dine alongside the wrestlers, finally allowing you to find out exactly how they achieve such a physique!
Nakagin Capsule Tower
When in Tokyo, take a trip to the Nakagin Capsule Tower for a snoop around. One of the last remaining examples of post-war architecture in Japan, the building was a prime example of Japanese innovation as they looked to create spaces that were multifunctional and practical. The original posterchild of capsule architecture, each pod functions as both a living and work space totalling 2.3×3.8x 2.1m. Whilst they don’t compare to Tokyo’s lavish luxury hotels, the building’s external architecture is extraordinary and an intriguing adventure to be had.