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Japan Olympics 2020: What To Do In Tokyo And Where To Stay

japan olympics 2020

Japan Olympics 2020: What To Do In Tokyo And Where To Stay

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

For the second time, Japan will be hosting the Summer Olympics in 2020 from July 24 to August 9 in Tokyo. And for the Japan Olympics 2020, the organizers of the event say that the Tokyo Games will be “the most innovative ever organised, and will rest on three fundamental principles to transform the world: striving for your personal best; accepting one another; and passing on a legacy for the future”. They plan to use as many venues in Tokyo as possible.

The Tokyo 2020 Games will mark the fourth time Japan has held an Olympic event. The first time they held a summer event was in 1964, which was the very first time the Olympics were held in Asia. The other two were Winter Olympics that were held in Sapporo in 1972 and in Nagano in 1998.

The event in 1964 drastically changed the country by allowing Japan to re-enter the international community after World War 2.

Additionally, it was a time of high growth for Japan with the introduction of shinkansen bullet trains.

This time Japan will reveal its recovery from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which shocked and devastated the country.

Next year, the Japan Olympics 2020 will feature 339 events with 33 different sports. There will also be new events, some of which will include Madison Cycling, 3-on-3 Basketball, and Freestyle BMX.

If you want to see a detailed schedule of all the events, check out the Official Olympic Competition Schedule.

And if you are going to the Japan Olympics 2020 and are living outside of Japan, the best way to purchase tickets will be online when available or through Japan Travel Agencies, such as JTB.

Layout of This Article

For the rest of this article, I will be providing you with:

An Introduction on Japanese Culture

Japan Travel Tips

Things To Do in Tokyo

Where To Stay in Tokyo

This article is perfect for you if you are planning on going to the Japan Olympics 2020 and if you’ve never been to Japan before. So keep reading for tips and suggestions to help plan out your Tokyo trip for the Olympics!

Japanese Culture

Modern Japanese culture is important to understand if you want to enhance your trip to Tokyo. Once you understand the culture better, you’ll know exactly what to expect and how you can act, which the Japanese will appreciate a ton!

Japan has a fascinating and unique culture. Both the traditional and modern day culture have very interesting aspects, such as the people themselves, the food, fashion, geisha, architecture, anime, “kawaii (cute) culture”, and performing arts.

I won’t go into every single aspect for the sake of your time, but I will go over a few important ones so you have a better, overall understanding of Japanese culture.

Japanese People

When you visit Japan, Japanese people appear to be very homogeneous as a society, but there’s actually quite a few minority groups that the country actually consists of. Some of these minority groups include the Ryukyuans of Okinawa, Chinese, Koreans, and much more.

It is estimated that among Japan’s population of 126 million, 750,o00 are citizens with mixed heritage and 1.5 million are permanent foreign residents.

Modern day Japanese people are very conscious about their age and social status in all situations. Generally, younger people must pay respect with socializing with the elders. They are a very respectful society.

You will also notice when you go to Japan that they will bow a lot as a greeting, when saying goodbye, and when thanking you. Basically, they bow whenever an exchange is taking place. So be sure to at least nod your head when this occurs.

Another interesting aspect of Japanese people is how they live in harmony. They value harmony by being polite, by taking on their own responsibility, and contributing to the society. And because they value politeness, their opinions are usually expressed via facial expressions or body posture. Using verbal opinions is not really considered polite.

Overall, Japanese people value harmony, etiquette, punctuality, and structure. However, keep in mind that this does not reflect every single person in Japan.

Japanese Culture - Japanese People

Kawaii Culture

One thing that you’ll notice in Japan is how everything tends to be cute, which is “kawaii” in Japanese. Kawaii can also mean something that is very lovable. The term “kawaii” refers to blushing of one’s face when embarrassed. However overtime is took on the overall meaning of “cute”.

Kawaii culture refers to humans or non-humans that are cute, shy, vulnerable, and childlike. A perfect example is the Hello Kitty character.

kawaii culture

This kawaii culture can be reflected upon fashion, food, personal appearance, entertainment, toys, or personal mannerisms. You will pick up on a lot of this once you have wandered around and explored Tokyo for a bit. You will even see cute characters on signs within the Tokyo subway trains.

kawaii culture food

So when in Tokyo, you’ll see various items, toys, people, and more that are considered kawaii. It’s a very unique aspect of Japan that you can’t find anywhere else in the world.

Japanese Food

Japanese food is one of the best parts about Japan! Their food includes local dishes, seasonal dishes, international cuisine, and classic, popular Japanese dishes.

From my experience in Japan, you can walk into any restaurant or food stall in Japan, and the food will be great. There are over 160,000 restaurants in Tokyo, so there’s a lot to try food from!

The most popular dishes in Japan are rice, sushi, sashimi, ramen, tempura, tofu, soba, sweets, tea, and some more.

Tokyo food is more specialized in nigiri sushi, ramen, tempura, soba, yakitori, monjayaki, and sweets like mochi. Be sure to try as much food as you can while you have the chance!

If you want to check out any themed restaurants in Tokyo, take a look at our list of the Coolest Restaurants in Tokyo!

Japanese food

Japan Travel Tips

Now that you have an idea of modern day Japanese culture, we can go over the most useful tips that will help you prepare for you the Japan Olympics 2020.

Tip #1: Use Google Maps

Use Google Maps to navigate around Tokyo. This is by far one the best app for navigating. It will give you walking routes, bus routes, train routes, and more.

The best part about using this app is that it will give you real time data on when the Tokyo trains are arriving and departing. And it will give you information on how much the tickets are for the train rides.

In Tokyo, the main way you will get around is by subway train, so these features of Google Maps is very convenient.

Tip #2: Pack Lightly

Make sure you pack lightly for your trip to Tokyo. You do not want to be lugging around a huge suitcase across the city and the subway trains when transporting to and from your hotel. You will feel like you are totally in the way, especially on the trains during rush hours.

The great thing about hotels in Tokyo is that they usually hold your luggage for you before check-in time.

Plus they usually have washing machines and dryers to clean your clothes. So it would be smart to pack lightly and wash and re-wear your clothes.

Tip #3: Carry Cash

In Japan, you need to always have cash on you. Most places do not even accept credit cards, so it is essential to have cash. Go to the local 7-11s to withdraw some money every few days.

Withdrawing cash is also one of the cheapest ways to receive Japanese yen while avoiding the poor currency exchange rates you would receive at a bank or airport.

Tip #4: Use Google Translate App

The Google Translate App allows you translate Japanese words the traditional way. With the app, you can also take images of Japanese words or phrases and it will translate it to English.

While Tokyo is generally a very English-friendly city, this feature was very beneficial for quite a few situations we ran into, such as:

  • Reading a menu
  • Directions
  • Signs
  • Instructions

Please also take note that only some Japanese people can speak English in Tokyo. There are others who cannot speak it at all.

That is why I highly recommend that you take a look at our list of Japanese Words You Should Know When Visiting Japan. Knowing or having these words on hand will be very beneficial to do simple things like ask where a toilet is. Or if you just want to say hello or thank you the right way.

Plus the Japanese LOVE it when you try and speak their language!

Tip #5: Plan Your Trip Ahead, but Not Too Much

While Tokyo is a dream place to visit, be sure to not plan your activities too much.

I do recommend that you figure out attractions you want to do most, but just be sure you do not over plan. The reason I say this is because you do not want to be traveling from place to place so quickly without fully taking in your experience at the current moment.

Take the time to appreciate and fully take in the amazing experiences you are having in Tokyo. Especially at Japan Olympics 2020.

The small memories are always the ones that are most loved, such as walking down the Tokyo streets super early in the morning.

Things To Do in Tokyo

Now lets take a look at some of the top things to do in Tokyo for your first time there. These activities are meant to give you experiences in different aspects of Tokyo, such as parks, traditional temples, and fun entertainment.

Entertainment/Shopping/Exploring

Takeshita Street

Walk down Takeshita Street to experience all the shops featuring fashion boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.

Nakamise Shopping Street

Nakamise Street, which is right before the entrance to Senso-ji Temple mentioned below, is a street lined with many little shops. The shops mostly carry souvenirs and Japanese snacks.

Shinjuku

Make sure to take the time to explore the famous Shinjuku area. I highly recommend walking around at night and walking into the massive stores, restaurants, and bars.

Akihabara

Akihabara is an area strongly identified with anime/manga subculture and is very interesting to walk around and go into the shops.

Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Crossing is the large famous crossing that Tokyo is known for. Take a walk down it and see what it’s like!

Tokyo City View Observation Deck

This observation deck is one of the coolest ones to go to. They give you a 360 degree view of the city, which you take an elevator up to. I highly recommend going at night to see all the city lights.

things to do in tokyo - tokyo city view

Temples and Shrines

Meiji Jingu Shrine

Meiji Jingu Shrine is located in middle of a large forest. There are many torii gates and path for you to walk on and go exploring.

Senso-ji Temple

Senso-ji Temple is the oldest temple in Tokyo and is one of the most widely visited spiritual sites in the world. This place can get very busy so be sure to go as early as it opens.

things to do in tokyo - sensoji temple

Ueno Toshogu Shrine

Toshogu Shrine is a Shinto shrine resembling Shinto architecture. It was established in 1627 and is great shrine to see what the architecture during the Edo Period was like.

Parks and Gardens

Yoyogi Park

Yoyogi Park is one of Tokyo’s largest parks featuring wide, open lawns, forests, and ponds.

Shinjukju Gyoen National Garden

This large garden in Tokyo features many gardens and lawns. It is one of Tokyo’s most popular parks to visit.

things to do in tokyo - shinjuku gyoen

Rikugien Gardens

Rikugien Gardens is a very peaceful, pretty park to visit. The creator of the gardens wanted to build gardens like ones described in poems. The park also includes hills, trees, and lawns.

Where To Stay in Tokyo

There are so many hotel choices, which makes it hard to figure out where to stay in Tokyo. From personal experiences and reviews, I’ll give you hotel suggestions that are decently priced and convenient to stay at.

I suggest to stay at hotels that will be near the venues for the Olympics. Here is a page that will you show you the exact location of the 2020 venues.

Below is a list of hotels that will be close to the venues.

Citadines Shinjuku Tokyo

Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba

Richmond Hotel Premier Tokyo Oshiage

Hotel Niwa Tokyo

Comfort Hotel Tokyo Kiyosumi Shirakawa

APA Hotel Hanzomon

Ryokan Asakusa Shigetsu

Best Western Tokyo Nishikasai Grande

If you decide you do not like any of these hotels and you want to look for a different location or want different prices, you can search in the box below! Just type in “Tokyo” and click on the suggested option.

Booking.com

Just so that you’re aware, most of the hotels in Tokyo will have fairly small rooms. This is pretty common for Tokyo, unless maybe you stay at an expensive 5 star hotel.

Also hotel staff can usually speak some English, which is helpful. I would suggest using your hotel staff to also book any reservations you may want while in Tokyo.

With that being said, enjoy your amazing trip to Japan for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics!


I hope you enjoyed this article and can know what to expect for your Japan Olympics 2020 trip!

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Japan Olympics 2020 - What To Do In Tokyo And Where To Stay

 

Tokyo

Coolest Restaurants in Tokyo

coolest restaurants in tokyo

Coolest Restaurants in Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan’s busiest city, has over 160,000 restaurants! With that number, it can be hard to choose which restaurant to eat at for the night. Which is why I’ve narrowed down a list of the coolest restaurants in Tokyo!

With the list of restaurants below, you will be sure to have an unforgettable experience that you can only experience in Japan.

With the list below, I highly recommend making reservations in advance to these restaurants to be on the safe side. You can ask your hotel staff in Tokyo to make a reservation for you.

With that being said, lets get to the top coolest restaurants in Tokyo! By the way, the list is not in any particular order.

And if you are visiting Tokyo for the first time, please feel free to check out our other article about how to plan your Tokyo itinerary. It will take you through 8 steps to plan your itinerary just right for you!

 

1. Ninja Akasaka

Located in Chiyoda, Ninja Akasaka is one of the coolest restaurants in Tokyo. This place essentially simulates a ninja village, bringing back that Japanese old school feel.

As you enter, a ninja will kindly greet you and guide you down to the “village”, where you will be eating. The ninja staff will explain how everything works once you are seated at your table.

For groups that pay over 3000 yen, they will get to experience a ninja magic show right in front of their table.

The ninjas performing magic are actually quite good at their magic tricks, leaving visitors very surprised!

The whole ambiance of Ninja Akasaka is very pleasant and is nice for walking around.

If you like the idea of eating great food among ninjas in an old school ninja village, you will have a great, unforgettable experience here!

Tip: This place can be very hard to find for some visitors. When you are close to the entrance, look out for a place called Tokyu Plaza. To the left of that place is one small, black door, which is the entrance to Ninja Akasaka.

Maybe they made this black appearance on purpose to blend in like a ninja! What do you think?

Cuisine: Japanese, Sushi, Fusion

Website: Ninja Akasaka

Price Range: $$ -$$$$

Ninja Akasaka

2. Luxis Tokyo

Luxis Tokyo, located in Shibuya, is definitely a one of a kind restaurant and bar. The reason it made the list of coolest restaurants in Tokyo is because this place has its own impressive, 5 meter tall aquarium.

Visitors can come and enjoy a meal in front of marine life, including sharks and sea turtels!

(Although, just to be clear, the restaurant is not surrounded by the aquarium. It is only on ONE wall of the restaurant).

The name Luxis actually came from combining the two English words, “luxury” and “oasis”. And the ambiance of this place does not fail to make you feel like you are in a luxurious oasis!

Even the restrooms have their own fish tank. How cool is that?

The luxurious decor and dim lighting will truly give you an evening of relaxation and awe among the beautiful marine life. If you enjoy aquariums and classy environments with dim lighting and good Italian food, you will love Luxis Tokyo!

Word of Caution: The food proportions are on the small side, so best not to come here if you are very starving!

Cuisine: Italian

Price Range: $$-$$$

3. Alice Restaurant Tokyo

The Alice Restaurant Tokyo is an Alice in Wonderland-themed restaurant and cafe! There are actually quite a few of these restaurants in Tokyo since Alice in Wonderland is very popular among the locals and foreigners.

I will go over a few different Alice restaurants, each with a different Alice style, that you can pick and choose from.

Word of Caution: Visitors come to these Alice Restaurants for the ambiance and decor, not the food. So if you go, do not expect the food to be amazing. However, the food is still decent!

Alice in a Fantasy Book

Alice in a Fantasy Book, which is in Shinjuku, is a fantasy-themed Alice restaurant. The decor includes large chandeliers, Alice wallpaper, Alice items, and elegant chairs and tables.

The restaurant provides many Alice-themed food and drinks that can be fun to take pictures with!

If you like an elegant, magical atmosphere, you’ll love this restaurant!

Be sure to book your reservations in advance since this place only holds 100 people at a time. If you go, look out for the Odakyu HALC building. Walk down to the basement and this will be the location of the restaurant.

Cuisine: Cafe

Website: Alice in a Fantasy Book

Price Range: $$-$$$

Alice in a Labyrinth

Alice in a Labyrinth, located in Chuo, is a unique Alice restaurant where you are led down halls with the scripts from Alice in Wonderland placed on the walls.

As you walk inside you’ll notice the whole restaurant is decorated with Alice items, such as large playing cards on the ceilings and tables.

This purely Alice-themed restaurants even has the staff dressed as Alice herself or the Mad Hatter.

Some of the food and drinks here are Alice themed as well. Again, be sure to make reservations ahead of time so that there is no wait time.

Cuisine: Pub, Gastropub

Website: Alice in a Labyrinth 

Price Range: $$-$$$

Alice in an Old Castle

Located in southern Ikebukuro, this Alice in an Old Castle Restaurant is a gorgeous, elegant restaurant resembling an old castle.

This restaurant also has various Alice-themed items, such as the magic mirror, the Queen’s crystal ball, and the mermaid cave.

There are many food and drinks resembling Alice in Wonderland, including many cocktails. If you like an old castle, fantasy ambiance, then this is the restaurant for you!

Cuisine: Italian, Pub, Gastropub

Website: Alice in an Old Castle

Price Range: $$-$$$

4. Kawaii Monster Cafe

Kawaii Monster Cafe, which is located in Harajuku, is a colorful, cute monster themed cafe. They provide a daytime cafe and a nighttime/dinner cafe.

The overall ambiance of this restaurant is very colorful, flashy, and loud, much like Harajuku itself. The theme is supposed to make you feel like monsters are growing and consuming everything.

Once you enter the restaurant, you have the choice of entering in 4 different dining sections:

Milk Stand

The Milk stand is more kawaii, or cute, themed than the other sections. It contains cute, adorable bunnies and unicorns drinking from the overhanging baby bottles.

Mushroom Disco

The Mushroom Disco section contains large, colorful fungi hanging over your psychedelic booth seating.

Bar Experiment

The Bar Experiment is a a section where you can drink crazy, multicolored cocktails among the surrounding glow of a jellyfish.

Mel-Tea Room

Lastly, the Mel-Tea Room provides tea, which you can sip among large pastel-colored macaroons.

The waitresses at Kawaii Monster Cafe are dressed as one of 5 different characters. There’s Candy who is very outgoing and dressed in Neon. Dolly is very prissy and proper, dressed in bows. Crazy is a very moody-looking alien. Baby is kind, sweet, and dressed like a kitten. And lastly there’s Nasty who is dressed as a sexy goth.

Come here if you want to experience an insanely unique, crazy rainbow, monster-themed restaurant!

Cuisine: Cafe

Website: Kawaii Monster Cafe

Price Range: $$$

kawaii monster cafe

5. Tapas Molecular Bar

Tapas Molecular Bar is a fine dining restaurant serving a 16 course tapas meal.

The food consists of Japanese and Western style fusion cuisine.

All 16 meals are made using molecular gastronomy, which means “science of cooking”. Each time you try a course, you’ll be surprised with delight from the new, innovative tastes and textures you will experience.

Making a reservation here is a must. This unique, culinary art restaurant serves only 8 people at a time for 2 hours. Dinner is only served twice a day: once at 6pm and then at 8:30pm. Lunch is only served on weekends and holidays starting at 1pm.

If you want to experience an amazing evening with unique, culinary art and delightful tastes then this is the place to go!

Cuisine: Fusion, Japanese

Website: Tapas Molecular Bar

Price Range: $$$$

tapas molecular bar

6. Catch Fish Restaurant – Zauo

This fish-catching restaurant in Shinjuku, called Zauo, is a unique place where you catch your own fish for dinner! What better way to try fresh seafood than this place?

Once you walk inside, you’ll notice the giant boat you get to eat your meal on surrounded by a moat of fish. Each time a fish is caught, you’ll hear a drum beating to congratulate someone on their catch!

There a few other rooms to eat which are not on the boat. But the best place of course to eat is on the boat since you’ll be able to catch your fish from your seat!

If you need assistance to fish, then there are staff nearby who are there to help!

Once you’ve caught your fish, you’ll get to choose how you want the fish to be prepared. After your dish arrives, don’t forget to take a photo!

Be sure to book this restaurant in advance. Fishing for you meal is only available for weekday dinners and certain times on the weekend.

Cuisine: Seafood, Japanese, Sushi

Website: Catch Fish Restaurant Zauo

Price Range: $$-$$$

catch fish restaurant

7. Robot Restaurant Tokyo

The Robot Restaurant Tokyo is a big entertainment restaurant with robots, shows, music, lasers, and food!

The shows typically last around 90 minutes each with a break in between.

The plot of the shows generally involves warrior princesses fighting off large robots. You can expect a lot of women dressed in bikinis dancing, drumming, and robot riding! And after the show you’ll get a chance to roam around and take some pictures with the performers.

Though the shows are quite a performance, the food itself isn’t anything special. They provide some snacks and 3 dinner items. Your dinner options include a bento box of marinated beef, a Japanese bento box, or sushi. I would not come here if you are starving!

If you are looking for an evening of crazy, tacky entertainment, the Robot Restaurant is the place to go!

Keep in mind that there are only three performances a day, so you must get your tickets in advance. They sell out pretty quickly. I’ve linked their website below for your convenience!

Also, if you decide to experience the Robot Restaurant, be sure to physically obtain your tickets at an office located right across the street.

Cuisine: Japanese

Website: Robot Restaurant Tokyo

Price Range: $$$

robot restaurant tokyo

8. Good View Tokyo

Good View Tokyo is a spectacular restaurant located in Shinjuku. The best thing about this restaurant is that you get to enjoy your meal with an overlooking view of Tokyo city.

I personally recommend sitting at the bar to order food and drinks and watch the sunset over Tokyo. Plus the food here is very good and is set at a decent price.

The atmosphere is very relaxing and classy. And they dim the lights which is perfect for viewing the city at night.

The fact that you don’t have to pay for this Tokyo view is amazing. I would take advantage of this opportunity if you can. It is not required to have a reservation here, but if you are 100% sure you want to go here, then I would book a reservation just in case.

If you are looking for a special, classy night, then come here to relax, have some drinks, and enjoy the magnificent view of Tokyo!

Cuisine: Fusion, Bar

Website: Good View Tokyo

Price Range: $$-$$$

9. Ise Sueyoshi

Ise Sueyoshi is a private, fine dining restaurant that is located in Minato and serves only 8-10 people at a time. What’s special about this restaurant is purely the food itself!

The owner of this restaurant trained all around the world and came back to Japan to share his newly founded knowledge of food and cooking.

He collaborated with farmers in Japan and now produces some of the best meals you’ll ever have in Tokyo with the help of his wife. They carefully prepare your whole meal right in front of you, which can be a very cool experience to sit and watch.

The chef can speak English very well so you’ll be able to talk with him about how he prepares the dishes and such.

Come here if you want to have a special, intimate, fine dining experience with a fantastic chef to prepare your food.

Reservation at Ise Sueyoshi is a must, since they only seat very few people at a time. While making your reservations, you can even let the staff know of any allergies you have ahead of time, so that they are fully prepared for your arrival.

This place can be a little hard to find for some. Look for a small, lit up sign on a stone wall. Enter inside and go to the third floor.

Cuisine: Japanese, Seafood

Website: Ise Sueyoshi

Price Range: $$$$

To Sum It Up

I hope you enjoyed this list of coolest restaurants in Tokyo! The above list mainly consists of restaurants that provide a very unique experience while you enjoying your meal.

It seems to me that the themed restaurants, such as Alice Restaurant Tokyo and Robot Restaurant, tend to have a spectacular entertaining ambiance. But the food provided at the themed restaurants aren’t anything special.

I wouldn’t come to the themed restaurants expecting to have high quality tasting food. However that does not mean you will not enjoy your experience.

Coming to the themed restaurants are a one of kind, unique experience that you can really only have in Japan.

That being said, the less themed restaurants, such as Ise Sueyoshi and Tapas Molecular Bar, tend to have a lot better, unique tasting food.

To sum it all up, go to these restaurants for a pure entertainment experience:

  • Luxis Tokyo
  • Alice Restaurants
  • Kawaii Monster Cafe
  • Robot Restaurant Tokyo

Go to these restaurants for great tasting food:

  • Ninja Akasaka (great food AND entertaining!)
  • Tapas Molecular Bar
  • Zaou Catch Fish Restaurant
  • Good View Tokyo (not the highest quality food, but still pretty good)
  • Ise Sueyoshi

If you are going to Japan for the first time, feel free to check out this other article we have that goes over Japanese Words To Know When Visiting Japan. Even if you have gone before, this list can be quite useful! The Japanese love it when you try to connect with them and try to speak their language. 🙂


Thank you so much for reading!! I hope you found these Tokyo restaurants interesting.

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coolest restaurants in tokyo