Top 5 Things to do in the Tokyo Area: stuff only the locals know about

So you’ve been living in Japan for a while. You’ve ‘checked-in’ to all the places on the tourist trail. Now you’re wondering what to do next. I’m not particularly tech-savvy so I do things the old-fashioned way. I ask around. Here’s what the locals recommended.

5. Kawasaki Daishi Temple

I’ve been here twice. Although admittedly, not for the temple itself. Nakamise Dori is where you’ll find me. The 200 metre long street from Kawasaki Daishi Station to the temple is lined on both sides by shops and stalls selling souvenirs. Daruma dolls. Kuzo-mochi. Tontoko-ame. You can even watch and hear the chefs making it. Chop. Chop. Chop. 

4. Tenen Hiking Course in Kamakura

If you’ve visited all those crowded temples and shrines and are bored bored bored of Kamakura then this is the hiking trail for you. You start at Kencho-ji Temple in Kita-Kamakura and finish the trail at Zuisen-ji Temple. There are plenty of beautiful picnic spots so be sure to pack that bento and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

3. Nihon Minkaen in Kawasaki City

The first time I went to this open-air museum, it was raining and I was cold. Even that didn’t take away from the experience. Nihon Minkaen is home to 25 preserved buildings from the Edo period that were relocated to Kawasaki from all over Japan. You can see traditional farmhouses, samurai homes, merchants houses, homes from fishing villages and even an old kabuki stage. I approve. 


2. Mongolian Food at Gala Restaurant in Yokohama Chinatown

I love lamb. I miss it. I really really do. It’s hard to get it in Japan. If you’re adventurous when it comes to food, this restaurant is a must. You get to eat your food in a restaurant that resembles a yurt. You can order the course set or get a la carte. The course set comes with the option of nomihodai, of course. You can finish (or begin) your night by dressing up in Mongolia’s traditional costume. LOVE it.

1. Mount Takao

Everyone talks about Fuji San, but what about Takao San? I’ve climbed this mountain twice. There are numerous trails. Some are crowded, some aren’t. Take route number 1 on the way up to see all the sights. Take whichever other route you want on the way down for some solitary time with Mother Nature. Life is short. BYOB – bring your own bento and enjoy. 

The view of Mt. Fuji from Mt. Takao. Image courtesy of Asteiner

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