Things to do in Tokyo

Relax with strangers at a public bath house

Public bathing is an essential part of Japanese life, though the 'au natural' dress code may initially come as a surprise to foreigners. There are two types of bathhouses: onsen (filled with geothermal spring water) and sento (heated tap water). Be warned that some establishments may not allow individuals with tattoos as they are often associated with Yakuza (Japanese mafia), although they may make an exception for foreigners.

Pound the paths around the Imperial Palace

Pounding the pavements is surprisingly popular in Tokyo, with the paths around the Imperial Palace offering a suitably traffic-free place to start. For longer routes, try running along the Tama River or around Koganei Park, and for those who can handle the pace, the Tokyo Marathon ( takes place every February or early March.

Sing your lungs out with a spot of karaoke

A trip to Tokyo wouldn’t be complete without a night spent clutching a microphone in one hand and belting out as many hits as your wallet can afford. You can find many karaoke haunts in little cubic offices above the streets - keep an ear out and you’ll track them down.

Attend a Sumo competition at Kokugikan Sumo Hall

With a capacity of 11,000, this huge stadium accommodates the frenetic demand for Japan's national sport. The venue hosts regular sumo tournaments, sending the venue's sumo-obsessed neighbourhood Ryogoku into an excited flurry. Tickets often go fast, so keep an eye on the official website ( if you're planning to go.

Experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony

The Japanese tea ceremony is a tradition which has been around for more than a millennium. An extension of Zen Buddhism, this elegant, spiritual ceremony is something you have to experience it personally to understand and appreciate Japan's culture and history. Many kimono rental shops offer this experience alongside a traditional Japanese meal, or alternatively, look for tea rooms dotted across Tokyo.

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