With all its themed cafes, one-of-a-kind museums, and scenic streets, it’s often difficult to decide where to spend a free day in Tokyo. Luckily, there’s one place that has it all!
Tokyo Station has evolved over the years from an ordinary train station into a “city” in its own right, complete with restaurants, shopping centers, and hotels.
Here are eight of the many activities you can do at Tokyo’s enormous “Station City”!
1. Try desserts you can only find in Tokyo
Tokyo Station City is famous for its wide roster of restaurants, bakeries, and cafes. Many confectionaries across Japan open booths or small shops within the station to cater to urban customers, while others only have branches in Tokyo.
Two good picks are the cream-filled Tokyo Banana cakes available at Tokyo Okashi Land and the YOKU MOKU’s Tokyo Honey Sugar cookies.
For something a little more iconic, try Awaya Soubei’s Tokyo Station Monaka: crisp mochi wafers shaped like the Tokyo Station City building, filled with a delicious sweet bean paste.
2. Buy iconic Japanese pasalubong to bring home
Tokyo Station City also has a selection of unique gifts for those relatives who want “something traditionally Japanese” as pasalubong.
Recipients of all ages will enjoy Mamegui: hand-dyed patterned towels wrapped around candies, rice crackers, or small snacks of your choice! Each mini towel features a uniquely Japanese print, so no two packages will be exactly alike.
If you want something a little cheaper that you can bulk-buy, go for NIHONNBASHI NISHIKIHORIN’s packaged karinto (fried dough cakes) in flavors like double sugar, sesame, and purple sweet potato!
3. Experience art at the Tokyo Station Gallery
This in-house gallery was opened to allow tourists and passengers to experience Japanese culture right in this busy transportation hub.
Its exhibitions highlight different art forms, from the creative materials of a world-class architect to modern Japanese illustration.
4. Take a Train or Bus
Despite its attractions, Tokyo Station City still remains a functioning train station and main transport hub.
It serves 19 railway lines (including the renowned Shinkansen or bullet trains) and three bus lines that travel to all corners of the island nation. Check out this travel guide for more info!
5. Relax and get a massage
When you get tired of walking around, head over to Le Temps salon on Kitchen Street, near the Yaesu North Gate.
It’s recommended that you book a reservation, as guests with reservations are given priority over walk-ins. You can book with your credit card on their website using your smartphone.
6. Taste authentic bento from all over Japan
The bento (or packed lunch) is a staple in both Japanese cuisine and pop culture. Bento are known for showcasing food presentation and assortment, neatly encased in a compact lunchbox.
Fun fact: traditional bento is served cold to avoid spoilage, and can be later reheated according to the customer’s preference.
Ekibenya Matsuri at Tokyo Station city is a shop that stocks as many as 200 different types of freshly-made bento from across Japan. Try the cute Shinkansen-Shaped Bento Lunchbox with its assortment of onigiri, sushi, and other side dishes for a snack you can eat on-the-go!
7. Satisfy the ramen lover in you
Ramen lovers will be in for a treat! Tokyo Ramen Street inside the station city is lined with some of Tokyo’s best ramen restaurants, including Rokurin-sha, Honda, and Keisuke-kitanosho.
You can order through an automated ticketing (or “vending machine”) system at any of the restaurants, with buttons for each of the dishes. Be sure to ask for an employee’s help if you can’t read Japanese!
8. Shop for cute character merchandise
Tokyo Character Street on the basement floor of the Station City’s Yaesu side is one long street lined with character shops. It features popular Japanese mascots like Rikkakuma, organizations like Shonen Jump, and worldwide brands like Hello Kitty, Pokemon, and LEGO.
It’s fairly near Tokyo Ramen Street, so give it a visit after your ramen food trip!
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