Tokyo and Hong Kong Vacation

Any suggestions for what to do on vacation in Tokyo and Honk Kong? About a week in each city.


I can’t speak for Tokyo, but the top two experiences in Hong Kong to my mind are 1) the tram ride up to Victoria Peak, which has the best view of the world’s best skyline. And 2) a ferry ride across the harbor.


Definitely see the SkyTree. People start lining up before it opens, so get there 15-20 minutes before opening. Any longer than that, and you’ll be waiting that long for it to open; any later than that, and the line will quickly get so long that you’ll wish you had gotten there earlier. It’s the tallest thing around, affording great views in every direction.

Tsukiji fish market. I wasn’t too interested in the tuna auction, but it was fascinating to wander around and check out the incredible variety of seafood for sale. Speaking of which, it’s a busy place, lots of activity; try to stay out of the way of people who are at work there. In the NE corner of the market there is a cluster of shops, stalls, and restaurants worth browsing. Outside of the market there’s a much bigger collection of shops, stalls and restaurants, ending at the corner of Shin-Ohashi Dori and Harumi Dori.

If you want to see where all the kids are hanging out, check out Harajuku on a Sunday, and swim through the crowd on Takeshita Dori. I have read that the cops have chased away most of the cosplay people who used to hang out on the bridge near Harajuku station, and sure enough, I didn’t see much going on when I was there last fall.

If you go to Harajuku, you might as well take a stroll through Yoyogi park.

Stop by Asakusa, check out Senso-ji temple. While there, stroll down Nakamise Dori, a pedestrian mall lined with vendors. There are lots of other cozy streets in the neighborhood to the south of the temple, all lined with more shops and restaurants. There is a full grocery store just to the west of the temple, near Asakusa Station (ROX?).

From Ueno Station, walk south to Ameyoko, yet another collection of shops and restaurants.

One week in Hong Kong is way too much - any experienced traveller will tell you that. It is constantly shown in photos with neon lights everywhere, as though neon lights indicated some sort of interesting life below them. I have read of visitors who also booked a week and were suicidal after three days as they come to realize that neon lights really are not so interesting. Yes, it is an excellent city for business, and for those so shallow that they travel nearly everywhere to “shop.”
But if you are going to make the best of it, go to the small islands and spend some time in Macau.
Organized day trips are always a distraction from swallowing an overdose of pills in HK. There might be some boat trips, I am not sure whether you can get a day visa to go into the PRC for a day as Shenzen might be interesting.
As for meeting HK residents, forget it. They adore talking about one thing only - money. I was always amazed that all conversations seemed to gravitate to riches, wealth and making money. I thought I had just met too few HKers. Then Michael whathisname from the old Monty Pythons went there on his travel show and he said they love to talk of money and almost nothing else.

I’ll throw out some fairly recent threads for Tokyo including my own: Here, here and here.

It’s been a long time since I was in Hong Kong, but I have to agree that a week there is too long. Maybe four days max. That could even include a quick jaunt over to Macau.

You know, the others are probably right that a week in Hong Kong is too long. It is such a hyper-modern, commercial city that there’s not as much cool historical stuff to see as you might think.

That said, I’ll counter those who have thrown in Macau as an option for a short sidetrip. Macau is much more special than that, and easily worth several days on its own. It was the first European colony in Asia and also the last, being handed over only in 1999. It has some beautiful and fascinating architecture, hidden temples, interesting restaurants, and huge, bizarro casinos. I would definitely plan to spend several days there.

Skip Hong Kong and go to Taiwan instead. If you’ve got a week, there’s tons to do, with a lot of culture, friendly people and diverse scenery.