If Japan is on your bucket list then you’re going to want to make room for these geeky things to do in Tokyo. Known as the technology and fandom mecca of the world, and affectionately dubbed “The Big Sushi” Tokyo is home to all out geek neighborhoods.
Whether you’re into gaming with a laptop, manga, cosplay, anime, martial arts, technology, history or maybe you just want your PS4 blessed in a Shinto Shrine, there’s something for every brand of geek out there.
40 Totally Geeky Things to do in Tokyo
With 28 things to geek out on in Tokyo, you’re bound for an epic adventure. But remember that spending can add up quickly in Tokyo, so I advise you to make a plan and stick to a budget. Think about what you really want to spend on and what you can do without it.
You might want to come home with a box full of comics, anime figures, collectibles or even some of those swanky Japanese sneakers people can’t seem to stop drooling over. Whatever your heart’s desires are, plan ahead!
1. Start with a Hello Kitty Flight
Hello, the best flight ever is more like it. There’s no better way to get a start on geeky things to do in Tokyo than boarding an EVA Airlines(Taiwanese) flight which offers Hello Kitty themed flights complete with Hello Kitty jargon, website, and airport gate.
The gate for EVA Airlines Hello Kitty flights
2. Find Some Culture Shock in an Otaku District
“Otaku” is pretty much fandom as a whole. So an Otaku District is an area that caters to anything people obsess over including; manga, anime, figurines, gaming and idols. The best of the Otaku districts are:
Akihabara AKA Electric Town – Here you’ll find all sizes of electronic stores as well as second-hand gaming stores, gaming arcades, specialty stores (like the Akiba Culture Zone, a 7-story complex of specialty shops) and a plethora of maid cafes.
Nakano Broadway – Less touristy and pricey than Akihabara and contained in a 4-story mall, Nakano Broadway has hundreds of Otaku stores.
3. Hang Out in a Japanese Arcade
When I was a kid, we took our scooters down the street to the pizza shop and fought over Mrs. Pacman. Now my kid gets to romp around a Dave & Busters (which totally will not prepare you for the gaming scene in Tokyo).
There are arcades everywhere and at 4-5 stories tall. You can find loads of arcades in any of the Otaku districts.
4. Visit Sensō-Ji
Tokyo’s most famous Buddhist temple, Sensō-Ji can be found in Asakusa, along Nakamise-dōri. Admire the intricate shrine and the path leading to it.
5. Pee in a Futuristic Japanese Toilet
You’ve never peed until you’ve peed in a Japanese toilet. With water pressure adjustments, bidet and sound effects (complete with deodorizer). This takes the throne to a whole new level.
6. Stroll the Harajuku Neighborhood
Talk about eye candy. Omote-sandō is a nice stroll, lined with ginkgo trees and upscale boutiques. While the Yoyogi-kōen is an explosion of funky art and subcultures.
The best day to visit is a Sunday when Yoyogi park is full of ‘Elvis’ groups playing rock music, Lolita girls and anime characters.
7. Get Your Latte and Kitty Cat Fix
Fureal! There are actual cat cafes where people stop in for a cup of coffee, lattes and of course cats. When in Rome right!
8. Visit the Rainbow Bridge to the Statue of Liberty
Not quite the rainbow bridge to Asgard but still pretty bitchin’ if you ask me. You can walk over the 918m long suspension bridge to or from the island of Odaiba where you’ll find a replica of the Statue of Liberty.
9. Dine, High-Tech Style
If ordering your sushi from a tablet and having it delivered to you on a conveyer belt strikes your fancy then this is a must. Or maybe you’re more of a train enthusiast.
Then try Niagara Curry, a railway themed restaurant where your grub is delivered, you guessed it, by model trains.
10. Be Called Master a Hundred Times Over at a Maid Cafe
If you like the idea of being referred to as “master” and hanging out with a cute Japanese nerdy girl for platonic gaming, then stop into a Maid Cafe. You can find them in the Otaku districts.
11. Relax at a Manga Kissa
So you’ve had a long day of geeking out to high-tech toilets, robots, and epic gaming. This is the best time to sit back and relax in a Manga Kissa.
A dream for manga lovers! Here you can curl up with a comic book, retreat to your own private cubicle complete with comfy chair and computer. And even stay overnight.
12. Learn Origami and See Artists Making Washi
Pretty cool if you ask me! The Origami Kaikan offers lessons on paper folding. You can also see the artisans making Japanese Paper (washi).
13. Stay in a Capsule Hotel – If You Aren’t Claustrophobic
If you don’t mind the occasional drunk businessman as your capsule neighbour, this is pretty legit for the travelers pinching their pennies, and for the travelers who want to go home and say, “I stayed in a capsule hotel.”.
14. Have Your Gaming Console Blessed at the Kanda Myojin Shinto Shrine
That’s right. I said it. If you’re looking for some divine intervention on that gnarly AF game, or if you just want to level up your business, head to the Kanda Myojin Shrine where you can have your games, console, and business blessed.
Pretty cool to be able to say, “My PS4 was blessed in a Shinto Shrine. I’d say this is pretty high on the list of geeky things to do in Tokyo.
15. Have Some Fun with Vending Machines
Airport vending machines have nothing on Japanese vending machines where you can buy anything from a beer to underwear. They are like something from the future!
16. Relax in one of Tokyo’s Magical Green Spaces
If you want to step away from it all, and I do mean secret garden style, check out the stunning foliage in a traditional Japanese garden.
These are free; Hotel New Ōtani in Akasaka, Hotel Chinzanso, as well as the lush grounds of Happō-en, near Shirokanedai Station, and the Imperial Palace East Garden (pictured).
Tokyo also has excellent public parks, from the central Yoyogi-kōen to Inokashira-kōen in west Tokyo (near the Ghibli Museum).
17. Get on Something Fast
Like Tokyo’s world-famous trains. A little pricey but when you get inside you’ll see why. Good food and clean cabins are great for long distances.
18. The Panasonic Showroom
Check out the latest technology and visit the ‘Nintendo Game Front’ where you can play with the latest software at the Panasonic Showroom.
19. Eat-in a Nerdy Cafe and Drink in Nerdy Bars – Gundam Style
Get your nerd on in one of Tokyo’s many nerdy themed cafes with almost every animated franchise represented in foodservice fashion. Here are a few of the most popular cafes:
Gundam Cafe – I know, you now have this song forever stuck in your head. Sorry, not sorry. Check out the vast array of Gundam suits and art. Stare uncomfortably at the female staff garbed in space tunics.
The futuristic theme goes with the show and the menu offers snacks made after giant robots.
Eorzea Cafe – Totally epic and totally inspired by the Final Fantasy franchise, hence the name. This place offers super geek fandom like weapon replicas and flying Moogle statuettes.
Order a black crusted Ifrit pizza, a Leviathan cioppino or a potion cocktail in a flask.
Pikachu café – Don’t tell your kids, cause then you’ll have to bring them.
Capcom Bar – You can find it in Shinjuku where you can snap pictures of your Street Fighter-themed cocktails and Resident Evil-inspired brain cake. Did somebody say cake?
Shinjuku Robot Restaurant – Has been described as part Tron, part Alice in Wonderland. Take that, wrap it in lasers and bikini tops and you have yourself a world-famous Japanese basement Robot Restaurant.
20. Explore the Atomic Age of Tokyo
Three areas collectively known as Yanesen give you an idea of pre-WWII Tokyo. Explore small temples and shrines, craft shops, galleries and cafes, and Yanaka-reien, one of the city’s oldest graveyards.
21. Watch Sumo Practice
You can watch Sumo wrestlers doing their morning training (asa-keiko) through the streetside windows. If you can make it to a Sumo tournament that’s pretty cool too.
22. Play with the Tech of Tomorrow
There are several cool places that offer an all-out tech experience. Here are must-do tech experiences in Tokyo:
Sony – Has a public showroom where you can see the latest gadgets and tech with interactive exhibits and a 3D aquarium
Toyota City – Also has a similar showroom where you can see the latest tech.
The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation – Here you can get a hands-on experience of space, technology, and the environment.
23. Stay at the Godzilla Hotel
If you adore pop culture and cult classics as much as I do, then the Godzilla Hotel is a must. Back in its respective home of Shinjuku, Godzilla has been honoured by becoming a tourism ambassador and erected on the Shinjuku Tokyo Building.
And since no trip to Tokyo is complete without a flesh-eating monster to watch you while you sleep, the Hotel Gracery offers ‘Godzilla views’ for the right price. You can also get a Godzilla themed room.
24. Get Grossed Out – Ideally Way Before You Hit Up that Robot Cafe
A museum that displays parasites? What? The Meguro Parasitological Museum features record-breaking tapeworms and the nasty ass pictures of their victims. Take me there now!
25. The Ghibli Museum
Anime fans worldwide know Hayao Miyazaki as an accomplished writer. producer, director, and artist. As the co-founder of Studio Ghibli, he’s responsible for classic legend worthy anime such as, “Princess Mononoke”, “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Spirited Away”.
Tucked away in Tokyo’s Inokashira Park, the Ghibli Museum showcases the last three decades of whimsical magic.
26. Visit the Tokyo National Museum
Round out that dose of manga and brain cake with some history and culture at the Tokyo National Museum, Japan’s oldest and most expansive museum.
Here you’ll find the world’s largest collection of Japanese artifacts and art including swords, pottery, Samurai armor, tombs, kimonos, historic paintings, calligraphy and then some.
27. Use Your Pocket Change for Souvenirs at a Daiso Outlet
You don’t have to sell the farm to bring home some cool memorabilia for your friends and family. Daiso is Tokyo’s 100-yen store (think Dollar Tree) where you can get a wide variety of quirky souvenirs for pennies to the dollar.
28. Get Your Karaoke On in Roppongi
Dance clubs, classy bars, cabaret and karaoke lounges are popping off in Tokyo’s popular embassy area by day and nightlife scene by night. Here you can belt out your favourite tunes after catching a buzz with your peeps.
If you’re a film geek check out Karaoke Kan which was used in “Lost in Translation”.
Whether you’re looking for Pikachu pancakes or a divine blessing for your gaming console, there are loads of geeky things to do in Tokyo. It’s hands down the geekiest place on earth.