Looking for something beyond the usual tourist traps on your next visit to Japan?
Fret not, as we’ve found eight hidden gems in Tokyo to check out.
The link to the compiled list on Google Maps is available here.
1. Shiro-Hige Cream Puff Factory
This one is for the Ghibli fans.
Tucked away in a quiet residential street in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward, this two-storey cafe is known for its adorable Totoro-shaped cream puffs.
From ¥420 (S$4), you can choose from an assortment of flavours, some of which are limited and seasonal.
Here is what you can get:
- Custard & fresh cream (all seasons)
- Chocolate cream (all seasons)
- Caramel banana cream (January to March)
- Strawberry cream (January to June)
- Matcha cream (April-June)
- Peach cream (July-September)
- Mango cream (July-September)
- Mushroom & cream cheese (October-December)
- Chestnut & chestnut cream (October to December)
Fun fact: According to SoraNews24, the cafe is run by the sister-in-law of Miyazaki Hayao, the co-founder of Studio Ghibli.
Address: Tokyo-to, Setagaya-ku, Daita 5-3-1
Opening hours: 10:30 am - 7pm, daily except Tuesdays
Nearest station: Setagaya-Daita Station
2. Shibuya Sky Observatory
If you want to have a bird’s eye view of central Tokyo, consider paying a visit to Shibuya Sky Observatory.
Towering above the bustling Shibuya Crossing, this is Japan’s highest rooftop observatory deck at 229 metres above ground.
Take a sky pod to the 46th floor and access the 360-degree Sky Gallery, which features a series of interactive experiences from a time river to a data scape.
If you're feeling peckish, there is also an abundance of restaurants and shops located in the retail space of the building to check out.
Although it’s not as well known as Tokyo Tower, the sheer amount of things to do here makes it worth the visit.
To purchase tickets for Shibuya Sky, click here.
Address: Tokyo-to, Setagaya-ku, Daita 5-3-1
Opening Hours: 10am - 10:30pm, daily
Nearest Station: Shibuya Station
Often referred to as Tokyo’s Little Europe, this up-and-coming residential neighbourhood in the Meguro District is a hub for all things trendy.
Here, you’ll find fashion boutiques, interior shops, and stylish cafes scattered along its streets.
Hidden among the neighbourhood's narrow alleys is La Vita, a popular photo spot.
The cozy piazza will make you feel like you’ve been transported to a miniature version of Venice.
Be sure to snap some pictures with Italian-themed features such as the gondola and Venetian bridge.
Address: Tokyo-to, Meguro-ku, Jiyugaoka 2-8-3
Opening Hours: 8:30am - 8pm, daily
Nearest Station: Jiyugaoka Station
While many amusement park enthusiasts come to Tokyo with a visit to DisneySea at the top of their to-do list, there’s actually a lesser-known one that's well worth visiting.
Located 30 minutes away from Shinjuku, Yomiuriland is the city’s largest amusement park with over 43 attractions and seasonal activities.
Here are some of its main attractions:
- Bandit, a roller coaster that reaches a 68 mph (110 km/h) speed;
- Looping Starship, a pendulum ride crafted as an open-air spacecraft that swings until it makes a full spin
- Bungee Jump, a classical bungee jump from a height of 22 metres
We highly recommend visiting during winter as you’ll be able to catch its pretty illumination display at night.
To purchase tickets for Yomiuriland, click here.
Address: Tokyo-to, Inagi City, Yanokuchi 4015-1
- 10am - 8:30pm, Mondays to Saturdays
- 9am - 8:30pm, Sundays
Nearest Station: Keiō-Yomiuri-land Station
5. Maison Able Café Ron Ron
Do you have a sweet tooth?
Then Café Ron Ron is the place to satisfy your guilty pleasure.
Located in Tokyo’s pop culture center, Harajuku, this all-you-can-eat café puts its desserts on a conveyor belt.
During your 40 minutes of dining time, you can feast on all kinds of bite sized-desserts from crepes to macarons.
There’s even a small selection of savoury options if the sugar rush becomes too much to handle.
To up the cute factor, there are miniature edible cats and paw prints on a selection of its plates.
Address: 6 Chome-7-15 Jingumae, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0001
Opening Hours: 11am - 6pm, daily
Nearest Station: Meiji-jingumae ‘Harajuku’ Station
6. Hamarikyu Gardens
If you’re looking for a therapeutic stroll surrounded by nature, check out Hamarikyu Gardens.
Situated alongside Tokyo Bay, the garden features seawater ponds which have water levels that change with the tides.
It was originally built as a feudal lord's Tokyo residence and duck hunting grounds during the Edo Period (1603-1867) before it was opened to the public in 1946.
Apart from the gardens, you can also pay a visit to the traditional teahouse nearby.
This is where you can relax while sipping on a delicious bowl of matcha.
Address: 1-1 Hamarikyuteien, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0046, Japan
Opening Hours: 9am - 5pm, daily
Nearest Station: Shiodome Station
7. Gotoku-Ji Temple
Need a dose of good luck?
Good news, as there’s a whole shrine dedicated to Maneki Neko in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward.
For the uninitiated, Maneki Nekos are Japanese fortune cats and is often regarded as a symbol of good luck, prosperity, and success.
You'll be able to find thousands of these scattered around Gotoku-Ji temple.
This is also where people return their Maneki Neko after it has helped their wishes come true.
For ¥800 (S$7.82), you can write your wish on a wooden plaque and hang it at the shrine.
You can also get adorable Maneki Neko souvenirs of various sizes at the temple's office.
Address: 2-24-7 Gotokuji, Setagaya, Tokyo 154-0021
Opening Hours: 8am - 4:30pm, daily
Nearest Station: Miyanosaka Station
8. 2D Café Shin-Okubo
This mind-bending café in Shin Okubo will make you feel like you're in a panel of a manga comic.
Upon entering, you'll notice furniture carefully hand-drawn in black sketch outlines against a white backdrop.
This clever technique is applied to the tables, chairs, and walls to create a cool 2D optical effect.
Prices for the food and drinks there range from ¥600 to ¥1500 (S$5.87 to S$14.68).
We recommend popping by if you're around Shinjuku as it's a short walk away.
Address: Japan, 〒169-0073 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Hyakunincho, 1 Chome−7−5 座ビル 1
Opening Hours: 11am - 10:30pm, daily
Nearest Station: Shin-Okubo Station
Top images via TARO SHIBUYA, Walt on Google Maps and DIGIJAPAN