Bucket List Couples Trip: Tokyo
If you’re looking for a high-energy adventure in a place that you could explore for days, Tokyo should be first on your list. It’s full of unique attractions, kind people, and all types of beauty.
This summer my boyfriend and I took a trip to Tokyo with two other couples. On our trip, we also made it to the Philippines! But for now, let’s focus on Tokyo.
We saw so many things in Tokyo that the best way for me to sort out what we did is to take you day-by-day and tell you about the highlights. So let’s start with day one.
Wednesday, June 28th, 2017
Today was a day of traveling. Our 13 hours flight departed at 12:45PM and landed us into Tokyo at 3:35PM the following day (time change!).
Thursday, June 29th, 2017
Our Tokyo adventure officially begins! After landing in Tokyo, we managed to collect out bags, hop on the shuttle, and get to our hotel a little after 5:30PM. We stayed at the Hilton Tokyo and were immediately checked into our room. Our room had a beautiful view of a park and the city below us.
We had optimistic plans of meeting up with the other couple from Chicago who landed after us, but the jet lag got the best of all of us. We unpacked and headed to bed early so we could have a fresh start for the next day.
Friday, June 30th, 2017
By 5:15AM, we were awake and more than ready to start our day. After not yet being able to find breakfast or coffee, we waited until 6AM an opted for our hotel breakfast. Our hotel actually had a really nice spread laid out for us. As in typical hotel fashion, it was buffet-style, which was perfect for being able to try some traditional Japanese breakfast items while still having the comfort of “American-style” breakfast like at home.
After finishing breakfast and catching up with the other Chicago couple, we decided to head off to the Tokyo National Museum.
The museum was perfect for our first adventure in Tokyo. We walked around the museum, learned about the culture, and even got to make these adorable post cards with stamps on our way out. The museum located in Ueno Park and is surrounded by beautiful scenery. Ueno park has many other museums and attractions inside of it. We visited the Toshogu Shrine, the saw a pagoda, and wandered around the park for a bit.
Afterwards, we walked around the surrounding streets and found shops, arcades, and stopped for a quick bite for lunch. Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel to meet up with our New York couple.
Later on that evening, we ventured off to our first previously planned attraction: Robot Restaurant.
This restaurant was the most unusual place I had ever been, but it was a blast. We ironically didn’t end up eating here, we more came for the show. The show had so many lights, technology, music, and theatrics. There were dinosaurs, lasers, dancers, and even drums. It was truly unique. It’s something that you would only see in Tokyo. It’s a huge tourist attraction in Shinjuku and if you visit, you’ll see why. It’s very hard to explain, but something you have to do if you go to Tokyo.
Afterwards, we decided to explore the nightlife of Tokyo. We hit up a club/bar, then headed off to do some late-night karaoke.
Saturday, July 1st, 2017
If you’re ever in Tokyo, one of the things I highly recommend doing is going on a food tour. That’s exactly what we did today and it was incredible. Our tour group probably had about 10 people in it (with 6 of us, we were obviously the majority). It was so much fun. We met our tour guide outside of a tour and headed off to our first place. In total, I think we went to 5 places. Each place was so unique and just happened to be where a lot of the locals go.
Doing the food tour gave us an inside look into where to go and what to order. For example, there was this outdoor dessert stand that had taiyaki—which is a fish-shaped cake with red bean filling. Our tour guide taught us that on dates, the man gives the woman the tail, and the women gives the guy the head part. Just having our guide explain that little insider information was so fun and made us feel like we knew little secrets of Tokyo.
After eating way too much delicious food on the tour, we parted with our tour guide and headed up to a rooftop called “Ginza Six.” This was the most stunning rooftop I had ever been to. It was a massive garden with beautiful trees and plants. On the rooftop, we had a 360 view of the city. Since we went at night, we were able to see all of the bright lights of the city. Going to this rooftop is something I think everyone needs to do. It’s romantic and peaceful—and surprisingly not crowded (at least when we went). We could’ve stayed for hours.
Sunday, July 2nd, 2017
Sunday morning, we made our way to the most beautiful Bonsai museum and garden for a tea ceremony. When we got to the museum, we walked through the garden and was greeted by the woman who was to lead our ceremony. They dressed us all in traditional kimonos prior to the ceremony. Once we were all dressed and ready-to-go, we took some pictures and then began our ceremony. The ceremony was short and sweet; we learned about basic manners and customs during a tea ceremony. Afterwards, we walked around the museum and then headed off to our next activity: go-karting on the streets of Japan.
If you played Mario Kart growing up, you’ll absolutely have to do a MariCAR tour in Japan. Before you leave, make sure to get an International Driver’s License! You can get one at an AAA branch easily by just paying $20 and bringing in your current driver’s license; we got ours two days before we left.
Anyway, with the MariCAR tour, we rode in actual go-karts around the real streets of Japan. We had two guides with us in the event that we got split up by traffic (which did happen a couple times, but no big deal). What makes it even more unique is the fact that they give you costumes to pick from that you dress up in. You can be a Mario Kart character, Minion, superhero, etc. It was honestly one of the most fun parts of our time in Tokyo. It made us feel like we were living out a piece of our childhood.
Later that evening, since it was our last night together as a group of 6 (only 4 of us would be continuing on to the Philippines), we decided to have a nice dinner. We went to this place called Seryna. It was on the 52nd floor of the Shinjuku Sumitomo Building. Everyone seemed to really enjoy their meal at this restaurant—I had a vegetable dish that was great as well! The restaurant itself was very nice. It had gorgeous views and they were kind enough to give us our own private room as well.
Side note: They do cook some of the seafood while it is alive. I just want to mention that for those who can be squeamish like me (I was hilariously not ready for it).
But everything was incredible and it was a perfect way to end the Tokyo leg of our trip before departing for the Philippines early the next day.
That's all for now about our Tokyo vacation! If you’re looking to go to Tokyo, do keep this in mind for activity ideas and be sure to read my last blog, 8 Things to Know Before Visiting Tokyo, before you go! More pictures from this trip can be found on my Instagram: @tiffanymariegabriel.
Bucket List Couples Trip: the Philippines will be up Wednesday! If you have any questions, inquiries, or sponsorship offers, please contact me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org