As a bilingual content creator on Instagram (@wadateni),I’ve been instagramming my way around Tokyo.
Since summer 2019, I’ve been incredibly fortunate enough to collaborate with a variety of business and services in Japan.
So far, it’s been an amazing opportunity to experience the magic of Japan’s capital. I feel just as delighted as I did when I was an exchange student 15 years ago!
This time around, I’ve got my Little Kaiju as my urban exploration buddy, which means there’s never a dull moment when we’re exploring our home city… especially as she’s almost a threenager!
The following list is a roundup of all the terrific (and tasty) Tokyo experiences I’ve had so far. It’s worth mentioning that this list will certainly be updated periodically, so please bookmark!
Asakusa/Oshiage (SkyTree District)
NINJA YASHIKI (NINJA CASTLE)
NINJA YASHIKI is where you need to go of you’re yearning to get a glimpse of Japan’s mysterious warrior, the ninja. Staff here are decked out in ninja attire and the restaurant itself is modeled after a feudal lord’s home (屋敷 | yashiki), complete with a full suit of samurai armor!
The menu features food and drink with poetic descriptions invoking nature and come with utensils shaped like ninja battle gear. Some dishes even have shuriken, throwing stars, stuck in the middle for dramatic effect.
But, the highlight of my visit was a chocolate dome that melted under a bright blue liquid flame of rum, revealing vanilla ice cream and rice crackers.
YETI SHAVED ICE
YETI SHAVED ICE takes Japan’s signature summer treat and makes it a classy experience.
For starters, the intimate cafe is decked in warm golden tones and modern light fixtures. It would be easy to mistake it for a lounge. The cafe itself sits on the corner of Tokyo Skytree Town, overlooking the river, nestled in the shadow of Tokyo Skytree.
Nestled inside each heaping bowl of Taiwanese-style shaved ice is a generous serving of the cafe’s original coconut milk pudding. And if you’re concerned about the environment impact of your dessert, the bowls and spoons are made of biodegradable materials.
TRIP PORT SWEETS & CAFE
TRIP PORT SWEETS & CAFE is located in Le Ponte, a building opposite the Takeshita Street exit of Harajuku Station.
3F is a cozy sports bar with comfortable seating, while 1F is a cafe where you can try the “ Twin Cup,” a creative way to sample the variety of drinks on the menu.
Go for the drinks, stay to lounge in the giant wicker chair swings!
JAPAN CROSS BRIDGE
JAPAN CROSS BRIDGE is a cross cultural initiative led by lovely twin sisters who are sushi chefs, calligraphers, and artisans.
For an unforgettable Tokyo experience, learn how to make sushi at their home studio. Little Kaiju and I made temari sushi together and it was wonderful (minus the baby tears!)
Their handcrafted jewelry reflects the natural beauty of Japan and you’ll want one of everything!
If you’re ever in the mood for gelato or a 1950s American diner experience, DONATELLO’S is where to go! This gelateria & diner is located right outside of the ticket gate of Daiba Station on the Yurikamome Line. There are nearly a dozen gelato flavors to choose from, but don’t worry if you can’t decide. You can pick two for the standard Decoration Cup!
MADAME TUSSAUD’S TOKYO
I had no idea what to expect when I entered MADAME TUSSAUD’S TOKYO, but it was certainly a surreal experience. Of course, there’s wax figures of western and Japanese musician celebrities, politicians and sports figures. But, what was surprising to me is that nearly all the exhibits are interactive, with props and clothing for photo ops. Plus, there’s even a bar lounge area (no drinks included, though) and a fashion runway room
ROLLY’S ROLL ICE CREAM KYOTO
ROLLY’S ROLL ICE CREAM KYOTO has a branch in Shibuya’s MODI department store, and that’s where I go to try this frozen treat that comes with a mesmerizing performance. The counter are low enough that you can see staff create immaculate ice cream curls that look too pretty to eat.
I opted for an eye catching matcha tower complete with a mini taiyaki and cocktail umbrella, but the black bamboo ice cream is definitely worth trying if you just wanna show off for the ‘gram! Whatever you choose, you can customize your roll creations with a variety of toppings like chocolate chips, colorful cereal, gummi bears and so on.
This one definitely attracts a crowd, especially on the weekends, so go early and have ice cream for brunch!
CHIKU CHIKU CAFE
I never knew how cute and cuddly hedgehogs could be until I visited CHIKU CHIKU CAFE! The hedgehogs live in glass dollhouses, so you can photograph them to your heart’s content. I think I had more fun arranging the furniture and waiting for the right moment to press the shutter button!
I’ve never been able to step inside an animal cafe without nearly getting an asthma attack. (Never mind the concerns that the animals may not be treated well.) But I’ll definitely be back at CHIKU CHIKU CAFE!
TEAMLAB PLANETS TOKYO
If there’s any Instagram-worthy place in Tokyo that’s worth your time and money, it would be atTEAMLAB PLANETS TOKYO.
Hands down, this has been one of my most favorite Tokyo adventures, (and there was a LOT of behind the scenes drama that nearly ruined my day!)
Every single room is just perfect for snapping away or just marveling at the wonders of human ingenuity. I mean, look how gorgeous The Infinite Crystal Universe is and I’m telling you, it’s even more beautiful in person!
Just a quick note- the Toyosu TeamLab exhibit has a water room. I made sure to bring a swimsuit, towel and spare clothes so Miss M could splash around and “chase” the fish.
Instagramming My Way Around Tokyo