Tokyo just doesn’t do boring. It’s simply not in its DNA. From ancient temples and traditional sushi houses to neon-lit karaoke bars and futuristic firework displays, Tokyo is a city that doesn’t stand still — and it’ll get you moving to its unique rhythm of life from the moment you arrive.
But in a city ripe for exploring, where do you even begin?! Sure, you know the main sights, but what about Tokyo’s secret spots and under-the-radar events? To find out, we chatted with Taku Takabe of Japan Panoramic Tours, who has spent the last 30 years exploring all Tokyo has to offer.
So, Taku, what’s your favorite place in Tokyo that tourists don’t visit?
Taku: It’s a secret Japanese-style pub in Nishi Shinjuku called Sumiyoshi. Here, I can try all kinds of different sake while learning lots about them.
Where’s the best place to eat brunch in Tokyo?
Taku: I recommend a vegetarian restaurant called T’s. It’s easy to get to as it’s located at Ueno Station, and it’s very healthy!
What’s the most Instagram-worthy place in Tokyo?
Taku: It has to be Asakusa! There are vivid colors all around, and you’ll also find temples and shrines. There are all kinds of interesting buildings and monuments in this neighborhood.
What’s the most exciting event to happen in Tokyo this year
Taku: Tokyo hosts a number of firework festivals during July and August. They are really amazing!
What’s your favorite season in Tokyo?
Taku: Winter’s my favorite season. Tokyo does get very cold, but there are beautiful illuminations located across the city.
What’s the best activity to do on a rainy day?
Taku: I recommend visiting the Edo Fukagawa museum. It recreates what Tokyo looked like during the Edo period.
How long have you been a tour guide?
Taku: I’ve lived in Tokyo for the last 30 years, and I have been a tour guide here for three years. I organize tours of Tokyo, Mt Fuji, and Kyoto. I recommend our Tokyo tour for first-time visitors because it provides people with a great overview of the city.