Sep 8, 2017

3 spots to embrace sensory overload in Tokyo

One of the biggest things I felt when I moved to Tokyo several years ago was just how much of a sensory overload it was. So many bright lights, bustling crowds and busy places – it can seem a bit overwhelming, but in time I learned to embrace that and soak it up. The spots I'm going to cover are three of my favorites in Tokyo for that full sensory overload experience. They are often tourist traps – but they are perfect to enjoy if you're in the mood for some of that real Japanese intensity (or if you have guests in town!)

Robot Restaurant, Shinjuku

Neon lights and laser beams? Check. Noise at an ungodly amount of decibels? Check. Robots? Naturally. This has to be one of the wackiest places I've been to in my entire life, but it's certainly one to tick off the bucket list. The Robot Restaurant is located in the Kabukicho area of Shinjuku, which has a bit of a reputation as the seedy part of the city (due to the high number of hostess clubs, love hotels and the like in the area). There's nothing seedy about the Robot Restaurant though – as long as you're prepared for some women wearing small sparkly bikinis – but honestly, it's just wacky fun. Tickets aren't cheap (8000 yen these days!) but if you book online it's slightly less at 7500 yen. It is something that does need to be booked in advance due to the popularity of the attraction – but it's a memorable talking point for when you have guests in town!

And yes - the picture below in all shades of gold is just. the. waiting. area. Let that sink in for a minute on the sensory overload meter.

Takeshita Dori, Harajuku

The Harajuku area of Tokyo is another tourist favorite – it's full of quirky shopping, fun eats, and an electric atmosphere. If you want the full sensory overload experience here, the weekends are the best time to visit. It's often wall-to-wall people then, which can be fun (until it's raining and everyone has their umbrellas out – then it's a game of “don't get stabbed in the eye!”)

Seriously though, this spot is one of my favorite in Tokyo. There are loads of delicious things to try (think tasty crepes with a bunch of sweet fillings, or rainbow cotton candy as big as your head) and the shopping can be fun too. A lot of things are probably a bit too young and hip for me now as a mother in her early 30's, but a lot of the accessories and wacky t-shirts make for great souvenirs to send to loved ones back home.

Tsukiji Market

This is a fascinating spot to visit to see all the ins and outs that go into preparing the tasty seafood you enjoy. It's madness there in the early hours of the morning – one word of warning, don't stand around just snapping pictures and not watching your surroundings. It is a work site, and there are people zipping around on motorized vehicles stacked with fresh fish...so you can understand why you wouldn't want one of those to run you down (ouch, and peeee-yew!). Worth a visit though, and it's great to stick around and grab a bite to eat once you've explored a little – talk about the freshest of the fresh when it comes to seafood!

I hope this gives you some fun tips if you're exploring Tokyo to embrace that real sensory overload feel!



After spending the last several years in the beating heart of Tokyo, I will be spending the next three in the countryside of Japan. I adore this country and all it has to offer - and I'm always learning more and more about life here as I go along! I try to update my blog daily - and my husband also writes on City Cost as "genkidesuka"!


  • Tomuu

    on Sep 9

    I've been in Tokyo for years and have yet to go to Tsukiji Market. I'll have to rectify that before they move it, I think. I think I'd add Ameya Yokocho in Ueno for a sensory overload experience. Especially on the weekends!

  • genkidesu

    on Sep 9

    @Tomuu yes! I love outdoor shopping streets so Ameya Yokocho has both the fun shopping and the crazy-busy feeling that I find fun! New site layout looks great, by the way!!

  • Aeon

    on Sep 13

    Great post! I've been to Takeshita Dori and Tsukiji Market. I think I need to go to Robot Restaurant.

  • genkidesu

    on Sep 13

    @Aeon I feel like it's absolutely a must-do if you're living near to Tokyo!