5 Secret Places To Visit In Tokyo Japan
By: Pinki Fri, 11 Oct 2019 2:38 PM
To say Tokyo is filled with secrets would be an understatement. Every corner of this bustling city is home to a new surprise, which is what makes it such an enigmatic, magical place. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been here for a day or lived here a lifetime, there’s always something new to discover. Here’s a guide to some of our favourite lesser-known places to visit in Tokyo.
* Chatei Hatou Kissaten
Before the world of Starbucks and hip, third-wave coffee shops, Japan was populated by the kissaten. A kissaten is an old style teahouse-coffeehouse hybrid, which has its own unique culture, one that’s a lot different from the typical espresso slinging shop. Like everything in Japan, the level of craftsmanship that goes into producing kissaten coffee is unparalleled, and unlike the rest of this non-stop city, should be enjoyed slowly and thoughtfully. One of the best places to try kissaten coffee is at Chatei Hatou in the centre of Shibuya
* Mannen-yu onsen
Hidden right in the centre of the city, you’ll find Mannen-yu onsen. This traditional, tattoo-friendly onsen is located less than a five-minute walk from Shin-Okubo Station (the stop after Shinjuku on the Yamanote line). Also known as ‘Korea Town’, Shin-Okubo is a hotbed for incredible food and bizarre yet fascinating beauty outlets. Mannen-yu onsen is tucked away down a little side street that runs south off Okubo Dori; it’s not easy to find, but the journey you’ll go on to find it adds to its mysterious charm. Once inside, you’ll find a large collection of baths, including jet stream baths, extra hot baths and a plunge pool for cooling off. If you came a little unprepared, don’t worry as shampoo, soap, towels and other standard bathing amenities are provided.
* Gotokuji Temple
If you’re on the hunt for some very cute but maybe not so cliché Instagram content, make your way to Setagaya to visit Gotokuji Temple. As you wander through the streets of Tokyo, chances are you’ll stumble across small kitty statues, known as maneki neko (literally ‘the beckoning cat’). These little figurines are said to bring customers luck and good fortune to business owners. Born from the legend of a feudal-era lord who found shelter in a temple after following a friendly and beckoning kitty, this temple is truly one-of-a-kind, populated by hundreds, potentially thousands of red and pink cat figurines. A five-minute walk from Gotokuji Station, it’s an easy place to visit from Shinjuku and Shibuya, and is said to bring good luck.
* Mount Zine
One of the most overlooked cultural quirks of Tokyo is its incredible publishing scene. The amount of bookstores, magazine outlets and passionate, independently run publishers is at times almost overwhelming, but endlessly fascinating. This lively local scene, in turn, inspires countless DIY creators. One of the best places to truly explore what’s happening in this community is by visiting Mount Zine in the heart of Meguro. Here in this hidden magazine, book and zine store, you’ll find an endless selection of independent and hard to find releases. All the stock here is completely updated every six months, so don’t expect to find dusty shelves.
* Uplink Cinema
Located in a Shibuya backstreet not far from the well-trodden tourist hotspots of Yoyogi Park and NHK Studio Park, Uplink is an indie cinema that regularly screens a selection of not-so-mainstream films, including documentaries, short films and experimental video. A great place to uncover the local underground creative scene, the cinema also has a café and a second-floor bookstore where you can spend time exploring the well-stocked shelves filled with design, art, indie and film-related titles.