5 Healthy Days in Tokyo9 min read
If you love bento boxes, fresh sashimi, sumo wrestling and karaoke, it’s time to head to Tokyo, Japan to experience these sensations in the land where they originated.
Beyond the busy streets and the ever-glowing neon ads lies a beautiful metropolis where history merges with modern culture. From gorgeous cherry blossoms in the springtime to the awe-inspiring Buddhist shrines to the fast-fashion 5th avenue-like shopping district, Tokyo is a must-visit destination.
Of course, the hustle and bustle isn’t always healthy – but as we continue our series of healthy itineraries for world class destinations, here’s an alternative plan for your stay in Tokyo.
You’ll definitely want to purchase a Japan Rail Pass ahead of time, and you should note that cash is better than U.S. credit cards, so be sure to bring plenty of that as well. Or, stop by a post office to use the ATM machines. Also, try learning some Japanese before you get on that flight to Tokyo — while the younger folks are more eloquent in English than their elders, knowing some basic phrases will make it easier for you as you travel through the Land of the Rising Sun.
With that said, here is your itinerary for five healthy days in Tokyo:
- Breakfast: If you prefer a lighter breakfast, you’ll want to stick with some neutral areas, such as restaurants and cafes located in hotels, since native breakfasts tend to be heavier. Unless you’re having sushi for breakfast, if so stop on over at Sushi Dai in the Tsukiji Market and indulge in some delicious breakfast sushi, which is common in Tokyo!
- Must-See Attraction: The Tsukiji Market is Japan’s famous fish market, and once you go you’ll understand why. This is the place where vendors sell all kinds of fresh fish, fruit, and vegetables (think large farmer’s market). And if you go on the right day, you might be able to watch the infamous tuna auction, which is a must-see.
- Workout: Visit Hibiya Koen Park located in Marunouchi, Tokyo’s business district, and go for a jog. If you’re traveling from afar, jogging and getting some sun is a great way to overcome jet lag and adjust to a new time zone.
- Lunch: More sushi! (You’ll be enjoying a sushi-centric diet this week) – try the fresh sushi at Sushi Mizutani. Try to order brown rice instead of white (if available) at any sushi restaurant you visit, and try to avoid anything that’s cooked tempura-style; tempura = fried.
- Mind/Body Balance: Time to quickly refresh your body physically and mentally after the stress of traveling! Visit the Mandara Spa and treat yourself and your travel partner to a relaxing massage.
- Dinner: Enjoy traditional Japanese cuisine, featuring fresh seafood and succulent beefsteaks, at Kojyu. Don’t forget to try the sake – just take it easy!
- Breakfast: For Day 2, we’re going to be traveling an hour away from the heart of Tokyo to beautiful city of Hakone. To kick off the day, enjoy a lovely breakfast at Ginza Renoir.
- Workout: Once you’ve eaten, head over to the Hakone Glass no Mori, which is a Venetian glass museum. While you’re there, stroll around the beautiful canals and admire the glass sculptures. You will want to find your way back into the glass house to look at the modern and vintage creations.
- Lunch: Enjoy lunch at the Terrazza Café located on the grounds.
- Mind/Body Balance: If you’ve never been in a hot spring pool before, here’s your chance. Visit Tenzan and enjoy a natural wonder in a traditional style Japanese building.
- Must-See Attraction: Make your way over to Lake Ashinoko and take in the glorious view of Mount Fuji.
- Dinner: Make your way back to Tokyo, and enjoy dinner at another Michelin rated Japanese restaurant, Kanda. Here you’ll enjoy special menus designed for the season, so you’ll be feasting on the best food whatever time of the year you visit.
- Breakfast: The Kyu Furukawa Gardens contains some of the most spectacular sights in Tokyo, so enjoy all it has to offer. Grab tea and breakfast at the teahouse located in the Gardens.
- Workout: If you’ve always had a secret dream of being a ninja, you’re going to love this work out. Head over to the Tabata Train station and meet up with a tour guide that will take you to a 90-minute ninja training class. Be sure to sign up in advance!
- Lunch: Hop on the rail and visit Ueno Park, which is most famous for the tremendous cherry blossoms that bloom in the spring. Stop by Yayoiken for delicious grilled cuisine.
- Mind/Body Balance: Even though it might be crowded, the Garden’s cherry blossom trees are one of those beautiful sights you see once in a lifetime.
- Must-See Attraction: There are many attractions to visit in Ueno Park, and history/art buffs will love the Tokyo National Museum, which is the oldest of its kind in Japan. Here you can view artwork and archaeological objects from all over Asia, but mostly Japan.
- Dinner: Ueno Seiyoken is a French restaurant that’s also located on the Ueno Park grounds. Change up cuisine at one of the first Western restaurants in Japan.
- Breakfast: Visit the Peninsula Boutique and Café at the Peninsula Tokyo Hotel for a quick breakfast. You might even be able to purchase some souvenirs afterwards.
- Workout: Head back over to the Ueno Park (where you were yesterday), but this time you’ll be stopping by the oldest zoo in Japan. This is particularly great if you have kids traveling with you, or if you just want to see some of zoo’s 2,600 animals, including giant pandas!
- Lunch: Grab lunch at a popular restaurant among locals, Katsukichi.
- Mind/Body Balance: Visit one of Japan’s most famous and colorful Buddhist temples, the Sensoji Temple. There’s also a great shopping area to pick up some souvenirs that reflect traditional Japan, such as folding fans and yukata kimonos.
- Must-see attraction: Twenty minutes away you’ll find two must-see attractions today. First, attend a sumo wrestling match at Ryogoku Kokugikan. Second, explore Tokyo’s history at the Edo-Tokyo Museum.
- Dinner: Dine on Japanese food at Hamadaya and you just might catch a traditional geisha performance.
- Breakfast: The Brooklyn Parlor may not open until 11:30 a.m., but it’ll be worth the late breakfast- trust us!
- Workout: Find a grassy spot in Japan’s national garden, Shinjuku Gyoen, and do a four-minute Tabata workout. Created by the Japanese scientist, Izumi Tabata, this is a great high-intensity workout that only requires a short amount of time!
- Lunch: Head over to Lovers Rock Cafe for lunch and an afternoon coffee pick-me-up.
- Mind/Body Balance: Built in honor of a previous Emperor and his wife, the Meiji Jingu Shrine is an area often visited by those seeking a little rest and relaxation. Situated in a forest that covers about 175 acres, you can look out for native fauna or view illustrations of the Emperor at the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery.
- Must-see attraction: The Imperial Palace is the main home of the current Emperor of Japan, and is a necessary stop on any traveler’s tour. Filled with gardens, a music hall, a teahouse, and more, the Palace grounds are a sight to see.
- Dinner: Sit back and relax as you dine on some Kobe beef or fresh seafood and vegetables of Japan at the Ekki Bar and Grill, located at the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi.