With the emphasis on the trendy, the cheap – or even free!

SHOPPING – OR JUST LOOKING

Animate flagship store

Animate stores stock anime merchandise, manga-related items, sweets etc.
The new flagship store in Ikebukuro is great for shopping – or of course it’s free to browse! They often have special events or promotions too.
Address: 1-20-7 East Ikebukuro, Tokyo (ie. east of Ikebukuro Station)
Open: 10:00 – 21:00 every day

Marui One

Fashion, from punk to retro. Mingle with the trendy Shinjuku crowd.
Address: 3-1-20 Shinjuku, Tokyo (east side of Shinjuku station)
Open: 11:00 – 21:00 every day

Don Quijote

Or “Donki”. Piled high with all kinds of goods, from washing machines to the weirdest items you never even thought of! There are several branches around Tokyo but the major ones are:
Address: 2-25-8 Dogenzaka (NW of Shibuya Station) a yellow building with the distinctive big blue penguin on the front is hard to miss!
Address: 1-16-5 Kabukicho (NE of Shinjuku Station) Shinjuku branch
Open: 24 hours every day

Daiso (100 Yen shop)

Japan’s 100-Yen shops are a legend. It’s amazing what you can find for 100 Yen (actually 100 + consumption tax = Yen 105). Daiso is a country-wide chain, and their branch in Harajuku is massive, on 4 floors, with a distinctive pink entrance.
Address: 1-19-24 Jingumae, Tokyo (top end of Takeshita Dori, very close to Harajuku Station)
Open: 10:00 – 21:00 every day

SIGHTSEEING

Golden Gai

This small corner (or square) of Shinjuku is unique, with a collection of low-rise buildings which have escaped the developers. The narrow picturesque streets and alleys come alive in the evening with tiny bars and restaurants frequented by locals and adventurous tourists.
Golden Gai is a short walk from the east exit of Shinjuku Station, between the Shinjuku City Office and the Hanazono Shrine. Take the main road Yasukuni Dori for 200m: just after the Mister Donut there is a walkway curving off to the left signed “Shinjuku Bunka Center”. After 50m the path opens out into Golden Gai.
Golden Gai is a short walk from the east exit of Shinjuku Station, between the Shinjuku City Office and the Hanazono Shrine.

Tsukiji Outer Market

The world’s largest and busiest fish market is an early morning affair: you can register to be included in the select 120 visitors to see the tuna auction from 4:30am. But if the main wholesale market smells too fishy for you, a less pungent alternative is Tsukiji’s outer market, a warren of narrow streets packed with stalls selling fresh seafood and other speciality items, such as real wasabi. You can buy bowls and sashimi knives there too. And right in the middle is the main branch of the Sushizanmai restaurant, serving superb sushi, open 24 hours.
Address: 5-2 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo (The outer market area is bordered by Harumi Street running east-west, and Shin-Ohashi Street, running north-south). Take the Oedo line to Tsukiji-Shijo Station (exit A1), or take the Hibiya line of the Tokyo Metro to Tsukiji Station.

Yoyogi Park

In crowded Tokyo, locals use Yoyogi Park in Shibuya-ku for all sorts of activities such as club meetings, practice sessions and even play rehearsals: stroll around the east side entrance on Sundays and you will see musicians, hip-hop dancers and rockabilly gangs complete with poodle skirts and Elvis-inspired outfits, who gather to dance to American pop music from the ’50s.
Yoyogi Park has a more relaxed, “park” atmosphere too – areas to the north and west, past the fountain pond and central field. There’s a cycle hire shop that rents out bikes, including tandems, for just a few hundred yen. (You should keep to the path, but it’s a long and very pleasant ride) and a snack hut selling ice cream and beer.
Address: Yoyogi Park, Shibuya, Tokyo
Open: dawn to dusk. Admission free.

Ueno Park

This has to be the best park in Tokyo, with the Toshogu Shrine, Tokyo National Museum, The National Museum of Western Art, Shinobazu Pond (a bird sanctuary), noodle stalls, bars and cafés. Many local families come at the weekend, and it’s a lovely place to stroll. One of the main places to see the cherry blossom in spring too.
Ueno Station is on the Yamanote Line, the Ginza Line (G16) and the Hibiya Line (H17).
Open: dawn to dusk. Admission free.

Ameyoko Wholesale Market

An interesting street market with stalls selling all kinds of things. Certainly worth a stroll. Stretches from JR Ueno station to Okachimachi.

Gundam Front Tokyo

At Gundam Front Tokyo, you can experience the world of Gundam, from 1979’s “Mobile Suit Gundam” onwards. This attraction featuring Gundam in full (1/1) scale, and draws Gundam fans from Japan, all across Asia, and beyond.
Tickets for the next month are available by web or phone from Ticketpia, as well as from 7-Eleven stores in person, beginning on the 1st of each month. Tickets are available at the gate, but visitors are recommended to reserve a date and timed entrance before arriving.
Address: 1-10 Aomi 1-chome, Koto-ku, Tokyo
Open: 10:00 – 21:00
Entrance: Yen 1,000, Yen 800 for Elementary/Middle School students.
gundamfront-tokyo.com