The Guide To Enjoying Tokyo On A Budget
Eating and drinking
YANAKA GINZA – This cluttered cluster of street stalls in the villagey Yanaka district is vintage mid-20th-century Tokyo. There’s a variety of cheap takeaway eats on offer, from yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) to menchi katsu (minced beef croquettes). Settle yourself on a milk crate with the locals and wash it all down with a beer.
SUSHI-NO-MIDORI – There’s usually a long line at the Shibuya branch of this chain, but don’t let the wait put you off; service is quick and the generous sushi sets are good value. The 12-piece sushi lunch special is ideal fortrying a bit of everything. From inside Shibuya Station (but outside the ticket gates) look for signs to the Mark City complex.
SHIBUYA CROSSING – This is the Tokyo of the movies: the frenetic pace, the mind-boggling crowds, the twinkling neon lights and the giant video screens beaming larger-than-life celebrities over the streets. At the famous scramble crossing outside Shibuya Station, all of this comes together every time the lights change. It’s an awesome sight and a photo opportunity, especially on Friday and Saturday evenings.
MEIJI-JINGU – This Shinto shrine, Tokyo’s largest and most famous, feels a world away from the city. Located within 70 hectares of forested grounds, it’s reached via a long path marked by towering gates. Meiji-jingu is a place of rituals: every day at 8am and 2pm a priest strikes a large drum as part of an offering to the deities enshrined here. To perform your own, drop a five-yen coin into the offering box, bow twice, clap your hands twice, make a wish, then bow again.
TSUKIJI FISH MARKET – The world’s largest fish market offers an unbeatable insight into the Japanese passion for seafood, from mountains of octopus to pallets of giant bluefin tuna. As with most wholesale markets, it’s at its busiest early in the morning, and the 120 tourist passes to watch the famous 5am tuna auction go quickly. Rules for visitors change from time to time, so check the website for current.