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ASIA - JAPAN

EXPLORE BEYOND THE 2020 SUMMER GAMES IN TOKYO.

Avatar   By Beth Allison - House of Travel Content Creative


Tokyo, already Japan’s largest city by leaps, will greet supporters from more than 200 countries at the 2020 Summer Games. Here are 10 of our best ideas for what to do when you’re not taking in the sport.

1  |  Explore the Hospitality Houses.

Countries and sponsors open spaces with a fantastic range of experiences. Fans can find cultural exhibitions, speciality foods, “watch parties” and even athlete meet and greets. Some are private, but many are open to the public for a small entry price (you may need your passport too). These Houses are scattered throughout the Olympic Zones but well worth seeking out—especially for foodies and super fans!<

 

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

 

2  |  Take a break from the buzz.

Hit pause on the high energy of Olympic Village and head for a stroll in Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. A 144-acre park of native traditional gardens, it’s home to stunning landmarks like the famous Taiwan Pavilion, which sits next to a tranquil pond. Once an imperial garden, the park is now a beautifully maintained haven from the city’s frenetic energy.

 

Sushi

 

3  |  Get an aerial view on the Games.

At 634 meters, Tokyo Skytree is the world’s tallest tower. From its 360-degree observation decks, the city’s futuristic skyscrapers and fluorescent intersections span out like artwork. At Skytree’s base are hundreds of shops and restaurants: The adventurous should try the Asakusa restaurant Dojo lidaya, which specialises in dojo, a small fish that's eaten whole. For something more familiar, drop into nearby Asakusa Sushi Ken.

 

4  |  Stop by a VIP event.

Fan favourite events from past Olympics, these (often free) events are offered by sponsors to provide guests with drinks and nibbles, athlete sightings and more. These are usually announced just before the start of the Games, so make sure to look out for them when you stroll the Olympic Village and Zones.

 

Shibuya Crossing

 

5  |  Join the crowd at Shibuya Crossing.

Tokyo (even when it’s not hosting the Olympics) is the world’s most populated city and there’s nowhere better to spot that than iconic Shibuya Crossing. Go at dusk, when it’s busiest, and head to its Starbucks for a photo of the organised chaos from above.

 

Senso-Ji

 

6  |  Visit Senso-Ji.

The sights here are utterly iconic: The temple itself commands the end of a shopping street, while Japan’s second tallest pagoda stands aside. Locals pause near a large incense display and a Shinto shrine.

 

7  |  Take a Karaoke break.

If you haven’t already lost your voice cheering on the athletes, round up a group for some good (or bad-good) singing. Karaoke-kan — famous for its cameo in "Lost in Translation" — is your typical Tokyo karaoke bar and sits right in Shibuya. Don’t worry, it’s well stocked with cheap and boozy drinks to give you a bit of courage.

 

Kit Kat

 

8  |  Make a sweets run.

Cheering on the athletes can work up an appetite. Sweet tooths can sort that at Kit Kat Chocolatory and Café in Ginza, one of the city’s top shopping districts. Under the direction of one of the country’s top pâtissiers, this sweet spot offers rare flavours, inventive takes on the classic and even a chance to design your own flavour.

 

Nakameguro

 

9  |  Find a change of tempo in an artsy neighbourhood.

Most famous for its iconic cherry blossoms, Nakameguro is worth a visit anytime for its laid-back, creative collection of independent shops and cafés. It’s the perfect antidote to the high-energy Games.

 

10  |  Have a teachable moment.

Come away from the Games with an understanding of the host country’s incredible past when you carve out time for Edo Museum. This gem offers gorgeous exhibitions on literature, historic red light districts, traditional life, the ruling class and more. Plus, get panoramic views of the city from its upper floors. 

 


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ABOUT BETH ALLISON

Beth Allison is an American import from New Jersey and House of Travel’s in-house sentence writer. When she’s not thumbing a thesaurus, she’s probably dreaming of her next meal. Beth is a herbivore, coffee addict, tramper, bookworm, theatre lover and cat lady. Her favourite places are Strandhill, Ireland, and New York City. If you find a real bagel shop in New Zealand, please let her know.

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TIP SHEET


GETTING THERE

There are numerous airlines flying to Tokyo but Air New Zealand is the only direct flight from Auckland. Get there in 10h 50m.

HOW LONG TO STAY

We recommend a minimum 10 days to see all the major sights.

TRANSPORT

Ask your House of Travel consultant about a Japan Rail Pass. They’re comfortable, speedy and easy.

CURRENCY

Japanese Yen (JPY)

VISAS

New Zealanders can visit Japan for tourist purposes for up to 90 days.

CLIMATE & WEATHER

Temperate with four seasons. Southern Japan gets a milder winter and hotter summer than the north. Summer hits 30°C+ and winter can drop to zero.

EMERGENCY

Call 119 for fire and ambulance, 110 for Police and 118 for the Coast Guard.

WATER QUALITY

You can safely drink water from the tap anywhere in Japan.


More about Japan >



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