Tokyo is a magical place. With neon neighborhoods like Shibuya, bustling business centers like Shinjuku, parks that are more like mini forests, tons of traditional and unique restaurants and cafes, and countless opportunities for day trips which include visiting Mt. Fuji, planning a trip to this iconic wonderland without missing too much can be daunting.
Well, VIZ Media has come out with the perfect solution for all your Tokyo visiting needs! Tokyo: Day by Day (On sale June 9th, 2020) does as its cover promises and offers “365 Things to See and Do” within Tokyo and even includes day trips to nearby places in Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa, and of course, Mt. Fuji. We got an early copy of Tokyo Day to Day from our friends at VIZ and, combined with our Tokyo experience, we’re here to give you a quick review of what it has to offer!
Any Day, Any Time, Anywhere (Near Tokyo, That Is)
Tokyo: Day by Day is set up like a calendar. It starts on January 1st and ends on December 31st and offers activities for each and every day of the year. This is especially convenient because there are a lot of holidays celebrated in Japan during which a) many businesses and tourist spots are closed—which can sometimes also affect public transportation—or b) there are special festivities or customs one can enjoy if one knows where to look. Having the book set up this way allows visitors to make sure they will have something to do no matter what day it may be!
The entirety of Japan is basically on break from December 29th to Januar 3rd for the winter break. But that doesn’t stop Tokyo: Day by Day from starting off strong with suggestions for shrines to visit, as is the New Year custom, as well as places to eat traditional New Year osechi. Likewise, the book covers holidays like Children’s Day, giving things to do to experience it, and less official ones like “Strawberry Day” and “Curry Day” (it’s a real thing!) and offers ways to celebrate even those! And with the abundance of parks in Tokyo, there is a beautiful place to visit even if everything is closed, and all the best parks are in the book!
If you have the time and budget to take a couple of day trips, Tokyo: Day by Day includes nearby activities and locations like the Odawara Oden Festival, Yokohama, Kameiwa Cave in Chiba,
Festivals, Flowers, and More!
We all know about the famous cherry blossoms in Japan so, of course, Tokyo: Day by Day offers the best places for hanami (flower viewing) between late March and early April; from scenic train rides to the moat around the Imperial Palace and Meguro River, you will not miss out on a good spot for flower viewing if you’re in Tokyo while the cherry blossoms are in bloom. But there are more than just cherry blossoms! There are also plum festivals before that in mid to late February and the book gives a few suggestions for how to enjoy the blossoms and the festivities as well.
Besides flowers, Japan is known for its beautiful shrines and Shinto and Buddhist traditions. These traditions bring with them… you guessed it, more festivals!! Tokyo: Day by Day makes sure to include must-visit shrines both in Tokyo and in the vicinity as well as festivals, both from Shinto tradition and summer fireworks festivals! From the old-fashioned Asakusa Sanja Festival in the old heart of Tokyo to festivities in the nearby beach of Enoshima, there is music, dance, delicious food, tradition, and tons of fun!
OMG, the Food! (And drinks!)
When traveling, one must savor the local cuisine, and Toky Day by Day did not disappoint when it comes to food recommendations! You could easily eat at a different place for breakfast lunch and dinner for a week with the suggestions. But it’s not all local, traditional Japanese food; Japanese also enjoy some exotic and fusion cooking so the book also recommends hidden gems like Mexican, French, and Italian restaurants, just to name a few, as well as sandwiches you have to get in line for because they sell out, tea parfaits, unique crepes, and you can’t go home without eating a Totoro creampuff at Shirohige’s! (We’ve been there, it’s adorable and delicious!)
Most restaurants serve alcohol but Tokyo: Day by Day also makes sure to include unique or popular bars like the Penguin Bar which is like a cat cafe but with penguins you can see and may even get to feed if you’re there at the right time! From Okinawan specialties and upbeat bars to quiet hidden spots in Shinjuku and breweries you can tour (or not) before settling down for a drink, you’ll definitely find a place for a drink in here. Kanpai!
Shops & Other Interesting Places
Besides time, you can also spend your hard-earned yen with the guidance of Tokyo: Day by Day. Whether you go window shopping or decide to pick up omiyage (souvenirs) at every stop, this book gives options from Ameyoko to Ginza shopping streets, kawaii shopping in Harajuku and all sorts of specialty stores.
If you’re looking more for an experience than shopping, Tokyo: Day by Day has that too offering malls and scenic spots from Shinjuku’s Diet Building (free) to Book and Bed Tokyo, where you can curl up in a private bunk with some books (manga or what have you) and just chill. And during December, the lights come on and “Illuminations” cover the city. All the best viewing spots we’ve experienced are in Tokyo: Day by Day! If you’re there during this season, you have to check at least one of them out.
Finally, we can’t forget about museums and other fun but educational spots. There’s the Edo Museum, where you get to see a scale model of Tokyo when it was still, well, Edo and even walk on a replica of the Nihonbashi bridge, as well as other smaller quirky art museums, aquariums, and zoos!
And a trip to any part of Japan wouldn’t be complete without a visit to an onsen (hot spring) and there are definitely several recommendations there, including the massive Oedo Onsen Monogatari Odaiba, which features several baths, and a festival area where families and groups of friends alike share laughs, food, drink, and play games after a good soak.
Tokyo: Day by Day is perfect for first-time travelers to Tokyo or even people who have visited or lived there before. As we mentioned at the beginning, there’s too much to do, so even having lived there, we found places we’ve never heard of!
And though you can look at the dates you will be there to decide what to do, you don’t have to plan by the dates on the book, either. The index in the back has all the recommendations by area so if you’d rather plan that way, you can do that too! Do keep in mind, though, as the book caters to all tastes and lifestyles, some of the activities and, especially some restaurants, require reservations in advance and some can be quite pricey (like a $20+ lunch special). Luckily, Tokyo: Day by Day makes sure to include all this information in each page when needed as well as when certain places are open/closed.
- Something to do even on holidays and off days.
- You can plan by date or area.
- Something for everybody
- Insider tips.
- Useful information (prices, reservations, operation times).
- Easy to navigate
- Beautiful images.
- Some of the experiences may be too expensive for some people.
Tokyo: Day by Day has something to do for every budget, every itinerary, and every type of person. From shopping, eating and drinking, to learning, sightseeing, hiking, celebrating and more, you will not feel like you missed out on anything when you visit Tokyo with this book in your bag!
Have you been to Tokyo? Are you picking up a copy of Tokyo Day to Day? Even if it’s just for the virtual year-long trip you can take through its pages, we highly recommend it! Visit VIZ to order your copy!