8 hidden gems in Tokyo to add to your next Japan itinerary

Akihabara and DisneySea are not on this list.

Russell Ang | November 15, 2022, 03:56 PM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates: https://t.me/mothershipsg

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

Photo via TARO SHIBUYA on Google Maps

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. 

Photo via おなかの虫 on Google Maps

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

Photo via JR Pass

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.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by SHIBUYA SKY / 渋谷スカイ (@shibuya_sky)

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

3. Jiyugaoka


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.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Yu_me🌹🖤 (@y_m.vivi_)

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by 渡部 靖子 (@bmw318i5857)

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

4. Yomiuriland

Photo via Yomiuriland

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

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by よみうりランド【公式】 (@yomiuriland)

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

Opening hours:

  • 10am - 8:30pm, Mondays to Saturdays
  • 9am - 8:30pm, Sundays

Nearest Station: Keiō-Yomiuri-land Station 

5. Maison Able Café Ron Ron

Photo via 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.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by MAISON ABLE Cafe Ron Ron (@caferonron)

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

Photo via Hisa Shiba on Google Maps

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.

Photo via 吉田洋 on Google Maps

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

Photo via Walt on Google Maps

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.

Photo via ボンボン on Google Maps

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.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by 𝟮𝗗 𝗖𝗔𝗙𝗘 (@2dcafe_shinokubo)

This clever technique is applied to the tables, chairs, and walls to create a cool 2D optical effect.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by 𝟮𝗗 𝗖𝗔𝗙𝗘 (@2dcafe_shinokubo)

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

Congratulations! You have made it to the end of the article (whether by speed-scrolling or otherwise). This alone qualifies you to apply for the role of a Lifestyle & Entertainment writer at Mothership. Click here to find out more.

Top images via TARO SHIBUYA, Walt on Google Maps and DIGIJAPAN