Last week we mentioned the main sights the Olympics and Paralympic athletes may have seen on their trip to Tokyo. While being pressed for time, they likely had the conventional tourist experience. However, if time is on your side, there are so many unique experiences in Tokyo that we felt they needed their own special mention.

 


Onsen

An Onsen is a naturally occurring hot spring, as Japan is mostly situated on active volcanic terrain. Because of the many volcanic hot springs, the use of an Onsen is tied to Japanese culture dating back centuries and is a practice still revered today. In Tokyo you have the option to simply take a spa day trip to an Onsen, or make a stay of it and actually book accommodation at a hotel built in the traditional Japanese style around the Onsen. A soak in the hot spring is said to do wonders for your health and body.

 


Capsule Hotels

What is a Capsule Hotel, you may ask? It is a Japanese innovation. While new to the rest of the world, this accommodation style was first introduced in 1979. Essentially, a Capsule or pod hotel is a small overnight space offered to travellers at rates far below that of a hotel room. The space or capsule can be as small as the bed itself, or in a slightly more upmarket setting, may include a toilet and tv. While it's common for each floor to share a main bathroom space, like most hotels, they range in price and luxury. Spend a little time outside of your usual travel comforts and enjoy this uniquely Japanese experience.


Japanese Cakes

While sweet treats may not be what comes to mind when dreaming of Japanese food, cakes are widely celebrated and enjoyed as part of the culture. The cakes are not as sweet as western confectionery, relying more on natural flavourings. What makes these cakes so popular is the painstaking way the bakers decorate each individual portion with care. The cakes can be so elaborate that it seems almost criminal to eat them. While in Tokyo, indulge in as many of these delights as you can find in stores scattered across the city. Just remember to take a photo first!


Tokyo Fashion District

There are 5 main fashion districts in Tokyo, catering to a range of ages and styles. The most famous, however, is the Harajuku district. Harajuku is at the heart of Tokyo and has a history so far-reaching that it has influenced many youth cultures. In fact, the Harajuku boys and girls sparked an entire genre of music, reaching western culture for a bubble in time. If you are a fashion enthusiast, or want to see a truly unique interaction of fashion and culture, spend a day walking through these districts and take home more than just some memories.


Chocolate Fountain

Chocolate fountains, otherwise referred to as chocolate fondue, are a popular treat that can be enjoyed in many spots around Tokyo. For those wanting breathtaking views and a more sophisticated setting, try Tokyo Prince Hotel Café and bar, and enjoy a romantic meal while enjoying some chocolate indulgence. Or, if you’re looking for a “bang for your buck” experience, try the chocolate fountain at the all you can eat buffet in Odaiba.

 

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