If you’ve ever lived in Japan, or happened to visit in June/early July, you know the pain in the a- that comes with rainy season. As an owner of a dog who NEEDS to be walked to do his business (he refuses to do it anywhere else…REFUSES), rainy season is the bane of my existence. It’s humid, it’s muggy, it’s hot, and it’s miserable. So, if you happen to visit during this time – you may feel defeated. What to do? Where can we go? But not all hope is lost! I’ve compiled a list of a few things you can do during your visit to Tokyo during this less-than-ideal time of year.
A few weeks ago, I took a few of my pre-school students to this Aquarium in the heart of Shinagawa – within the Shinagawa Prince Hotel. It’s all indoors and absolutely beautiful. It’s definitely a smaller aquarium but it’s absolutely gorgeous. The jellyfish display is probably my favorite. If you have kids, it’s definitely a winner. There’s two rides (a merry-go-round and a pirate ship), and lots of interactive displays. If you don’t have kids and you want to go for a date day/night, it’s also a winner. The aquarium has a bar. I repeat, the aquarium has a bar. Boom. Done. You can find out more about their displays at the website, but take it from me – so worth going there! There’s also a movie theater right next door so if you’re not ready to end your day of adventure, you just walk over a few steps and can delve into a movie. Win win, y’all.
L and I visited this magical place a few years ago and were absolutely awe-struck by how detailed and amazing everything at this museum was. They have permanent displays, which show what life was like in Tokyo during the Edo-Period, and they also have featured displays which switch out every month or so. Right now, they are doing an exhibit about the Excavation of the Japanese Archipelago. Neat stuff. Not only do they have displays, they also have hands-on classes, talks, performances and more! **QUICK TIP** They have volunteer guides who will give you a tour in your native language, but be sure to make a reservation to make sure you can secure a guide. Find more information at their website.
Odaiba is a place I would recommend going on a sunny day, but if you have an itinerary you need to stick to and have no choice going in the rain, my top pick there would be to visit Joypolis – an indoor GINORMOUS arcade. They have rides, games, and all kinds of attractions. I haven’t taken L yet, but it’s definitely on our bucket list for life. It’s a little bit on the pricier side, but I’d say it’s worth it. Try getting there before July 12, because ticket prices go up due to summer break for Japanese kids starting. It’s also a good way to avoid crowds in general. Odaiba also has a ton of indoor shopping areas, restaurants and even bowling arcades!
4. Visit the Shopping Malls
Depending on where you’re staying, you’re bound to find a huge shopping mall closeby. Japan has amazing shopping malls in every major hub (Shibuya, Shinjuku, Roppongi, Omotesando, Futako Tamgawa, etc.). You’ll find stores you’re used to seeing, such as Forever21, H&M, Zara, the GAP, and more but you’ll definitely find stores that you won’t find elsewhere. They don’t call Tokyo the fashion capital of the world (do they? Actually probably not, but ya know…people here are trendy af). Not into clothes or beauty products? How about snacks? Salty, sweet, tasty, tasty snacks? Japanese malls are famous for their basement food floor, a.k.a. depachika. They are filled to the brim with grocery stores and food stands where you can pick up some food for dinner (if you’re staying in a condo) or omiyages (souveniers). It’s my personal favorite floor in the malls 😉 Deep Japan has a pretty good article about the ~magic~ of depachikas.
Tokyo Station is probably one of the craziest stations I’ve ever been to. I don’t wander out there too often, but L goes a lot for lunch meetings with clients and I’m always drooling while he tells me what he ate. (Can you tell I love food?) Not only for the amazing, ridiculous amount of restaurants, but go for the architecture, shopping, spas, etc. I don’t think I could ever write all that Tokyo Station has in a blog post – better you check out their website yourself. But this is definitely a to-do list for me, to really venture around Tokyo Station and try and get over there more often to see all that it has to offer. I know they have a little “ramen town,” a confectionary place and exclusive only in Japan items at their various stores. Highly recommended.
Well, that about wraps up my list. There is so much to do in this city, but these are probably my top 5 suggestions. If you have anymore suggestions or any questions, please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment or shooting me an e-mail! June gloom is real, y’all, but try not to let it get to you! Stay dry and have fun!