I've told you when to go and what to pack, and in this installment of A Geek's Honeymoon Guide to Japan, I'll tell you what you should see. There're more awesome places to hit than I can list here, but we'll visit a few of my faves, and give you a rundown on renowned locations you'll want to add to your must-see list.
- Akihabara — The central gadget district, lovingly known as "Electric City," Akihabara is a short subway ride away from any location in Tokyo proper. There you'll find all of the electrical and computer components you could ever need, along with stories-high gaming arcades, electronics shops, and duity-free gadget hunting.
- Studio Ghibli Museum — Anime geeks will find a stop at the Studio Ghibli Museum to be one they'll never forget. Found just outside of Tokyo in the town of Mitaka, the Hayao Miyazaki-founded Studio Ghibli Museum features interactive displays based on the studio's famous works — Laupita, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, and many more. Plus, you'll get special screenings of short films you can't see anywhere else. It's a magical and whimsical place that I didn't want to leave! Here's a quick tip: get your tickets before you leave home. Residents of Japan usually have to reserve their tickets months in advance for admittance, but through your local JTB travel agent, you can choose the day you want to go, and get ushered right in.
Learn about a few more must-see spots after the break.
- Shinjuku — Karaoke fiends will have a field day in the Shinjuku district, which offers a million possibilities. After you sing your heart out, wander down the main drag and find some authentic shabu-shabu just like Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray did in Lost in Translation.
- Yokohama Ramen Museum — If you fancy a bit of a trip outside of Tokyo, hop on the JapanRail for a quick 30-minute ride, and head to Shin-Yokohama.
There, you'll find the Shin Yokohama Ramen Museum (pictured here), that is quite literally a theme park for ramen. With a 300 yen entry fee (about $3.50 USD), you'll gain access to the museum that boasts ramen stands from nine different areas of Japan. Line up, order your ramen (ranging from 500 to 900 yen per bowl), and dig in! You'll also have a lot of fun wondering around the different areas of the museum, which is modeled after 1950s Tokyo. Best part? It's open until 11 p.m. nightly!
- Osaka Aquarium — Even further outside of Tokyo (but totally worth the trip) is the Osaka Aquarium, which is one of the biggest in the world. Ocean geeks will feel right at home surrounded by the 16 massive tanks, and walk-through displays.
- Shizuoka — Got a thing for Gundam? Although the Gundam statue in Tokyo Bay was dissected last year, it's being triumphantly re-erected in the town of Shizuoka, which is about 125 miles west of Tokyo. Hey, if you love something that much, what's a little pilgrimage?