Start your stay in Japan’s capital with a hearty meal at Tonkatsu Yutaka, a no-frills establishment in Tokyo’s traditional Asakusa district. You’ll find it tucked away on a narrow alley just a few blocks away from Sensoji Temple’s expansive grounds. This post-war eatery supplies generous portions of tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlets) paired with fluffy, fragrant rice and a small mountain of shredded cabbage. The earthy miso soup and crunchy pickled daikon radish balance the flavors and serve as palate cleansers between bites.
View the City
Standing at a soaring 634 meters high, the Tokyo Skytree is the world’s tallest broadcasting tower; it’s a digital broadcasting transmitter, a multi-entertainment center, and a marvel of modern architecture. Beam up to the tower’s highest point on Floor 450 to get a view of the urban sprawl you’ll be exploring in the next few days. From there, you’ll see everything from the towering skyscrapers of Shibuya and Shinjuku to — if you’re lucky — Mount Fuji in the distance. Zip down to Floor 350 for some leisurely people-watching from Skytree Café.
Observe how Tokyoites go about their daily lives or take a stroll around the nearby neighborhood’s winding alleys. After checking out the event spaces, pop down to Floor 340 before heading down for a dizzying sight: stand on the glass floor section, and you’ll see the streets of Tokyo right under your feet.
Under the Stars
Located in Tokyo Solamachi, part of the same building complex as Tokyo Skytree, Planetarium Tenku is home to an optical experience that projects stars across the universe. It also hosts immersive events such as Live in the Dark concerts, where string quartets perform against a nighttime backdrop. There are also immersive virtual sightseeing tours of regions across Japan to inspire future travels and narrated screenings complete with aromas and 3D sound. Splurge on one of three premium crescent moon-shaped loveseats for a cozier experience.
Cruise the Sumida River
the Traditional Way
For a taste of traditional decadence, book a cruise on a yakatabune pleasure boat that meander along Tokyo’s main waterway, the Sumida River. Yakatabune boats are modern versions of the floating entertainment halls commandeered by wealthy merchants and feudal lords hundreds of years ago.
These days, these lantern-adorned boats retain their tatami mat flooring and low tables but pair authentic Japanese cuisine with views of high rises and steel structures. While there are daytime and evening departures, the glitter of Tokyo’s city lights reflecting on the water at night makes the experience more inviting.
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