Tokyo sees its fair share of rain and gloomy days. The good news is that there’s still a ton of things to do in the city when the weather turns sour. Here are a few of our favorite things to do on a rainy day in Tokyo.
Get cozy at Fuglen. Their lightly roasted craft coffee will tempt even the most devoted tea drinkers. Fuglen started out in Oslo, Norway, but their Tokyo location, with its old-fashioned Nordic décor, fits perfectly well into the hip Tomigaya neighborhood of Shibuya. In addition to coffee, they serve light snacks such as toast and Norwegian brown cheese or baked treats that change on the daily, according to availability. Too late for coffee? Fuglen flips into a cocktail bar in the evenings.
Mori Art Museum is the leading museum of contemporary art in Tokyo, and their exciting exhibits—from futuristic robots to Marvel superhero collaborations—know how to hook a crowd. The museum sits on the 52nd and 53rd floor of Roppongi Hills, so even some of the exhibit rooms will have a jaw-dropping view of the city. Be sure to check out the Sun and Moon Cafe after browsing the art, or head to the adjacent Tokyo City View and Sky Deck for a different perspective on Tokyo (if it isn’t pouring).
Grab your friends and head to Kurand Sake Market to discover your new favorite nihonshu, the Japanese liquor also known as sake. This neat little serve-it-yourself bar provides standing-room-only tables and over 100 types of sake for you to browse, mainly picked up through partnerships with small craft breweries throughout Japan. The entrance fee is about ¥3,240 (US$29) per head and allows you to sample as many different bottles as you want, with tasting cups provided. Note that the drinking age in Japan is 20 years old.
Times Spa Resta is an impressive multi-level onsen and spa complex in Ikebukuro, perfect for lounging away a dreary rainy day. As well as relaxing baths and saunas, the facility features treatment rooms for massages, body scrubs, and other beauty treatments. There’s also an on-site restaurant serving light and healthy Japanese meals, so there’s no need to worry about where to grab lunch. Times Spa Resta costs ¥2,750 (US$25) for entry during the week and ¥3,100 (US$28) on weekends. It sits on the 10th, 11th and 12th floors of Times Station Ikebukuro. Tattoos are not allowed.
Whether you’re looking for the latest English bestseller or the next serial of your favorite Japanese manga, mega-bookstore Maruzen has got you covered. This flagship has an enormous selection of foreign and domestic books in multiple languages and a multi-lingual computer interface to help you navigate through them all. Maruzen also sells stationery and other bookish odds and ends, such as book covers and bookmarks. It sits inside Oazo.
Discover traditional Japanese culture at Urasando Garden
Dessert Shop, Japanese, Dessert, $$$
Urasando Garden is a place where visitors can experience traditional Japanese culture, sample old-fashioned treats and shop for artisanal souvenirs. This “cultural mall” opened in March 2016 in a beautifully renovated post-war Japanese home. Visitors can spend the day roasting their own mitarashi dango (savory rice dumplings with soy glaze), sample Japanese matcha, and purchase delicate wagashi (Japanese teatime sweets) to take home.
Nakano Broadway is a must-see for lovers of Japanese pop culture and anime, including older favorites that are no longer stocked at big name stores such as Animate. Admittedly a bit old and dingy compared to the fancy department stores of Shibuya and Shinjuku, Nakano Broadway is nevertheless an easy place to get lost for an afternoon. The second floor of the mall is home to countless small shops selling new and used goods, including video games and spare parts, action figures, plushies and more.