10 Unique Date Spots In Tokyo (That Don’t Involve Rowing Boats Or Sushi)
Take Your Date To A Place They'll Remember
Sick of meeting your date at the local izakaya?
When it comes to planning a date in Tokyo, there’s no end to the number of stylish cafes and restaurants, massive shopping centers, entertainment hot spots, or beautiful parks with boats to choose from. But, where can you go if you’d rather have a date less ordinary in Tokyo? Here are a few recommended relatively off-the-beaten-romance-path spots in the capital where you can go to as part of a longer date course, or as a one-stop date location.
1. Hinokicho Park (Roppongi)
Found near Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi, Hinokicho Park (檜町公園) is the perfect place to go either before or after a lunch date or a lovely, romantic space to visit in the evening. This Japanese garden is surrounded by cypress trees, features a large natural pond, and of course, has an easy access to all of Roppongi’s hotspots. Plus there are some fabulous sunset views here if you’re into photography.
Access: Roppongi or Nogizaka stations
2. Crossing View (Shibuya)
Crossing View, which opened in April this year, is the latest addition to Shibuya, so it’s still relatively unpopulated. Located on the rooftop of the former 109 Men’s shopping complex (which now goes by the name Magnet 109), this open-air observation deck offers the best yet aerial view of the famous Shibuya crossing. The deck is also equipped with a photo booth where you two can save the memory of your date and take a snap with the Scramble as a backdrop. The rooftop itself is surrounded by graffiti-tagged walls and serves as an event space where various artworks will be displayed throughout the year. Once you get hungry, go to the complex’s renovated food floor where you can find Japan’s first Fatburger store — there you can challenge the XXXL Burger together!
Access: Shibuya station
3. Tokyo Daijingu Shrine (Iidabashi)
Tokyo Daijingu (東京大神宮) is a branch shrine belonging to Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture. This shrine is known to help its visitors find fulfillment in love, so couples in serious relationships often visit this place as a precursor to visiting the main shrine in the future (possibly on a domestic honeymoon!). Tokyo Daijingu Shrine is famed for its great match-making powers, so if you want to get serious with your date, take them here!
Access: JR Iidabashi station
4. Shinobazu Pond (Ueno)
Shinobazu Pond (不忍池) in Ueno Park is a date spot that is perfect for morning people in the summer. This pond is covered in lotus flowers, which are at their peak in July-August from about 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. only. Early risers, photography and flower lovers are sure to enjoy this spot. While in Ueno Park, check out the nearby zoo (and finally see the baby panda!), a museum (the Shitamachi Museum is highly recommended!), or a gallery, too, all in the same date. This is also a very comfortable place to visit in the mid-afternoon to evening thanks to the number of benches nearby.
Access: Ueno station
5. Tokyo Tower’s Stairs (Shibakoen)
Ok, Tokyo Tower is perhaps the least “off the beaten path” spot on this list at a glance, but most people go there for the food spots and the attractions (One Piece Tower!). It’s more of a sightseeing and a family spot rather than a romantic destination, except maybe around the time for the winter illuminations when couples indeed flood the place in pursuit of selfies at the background of the illuminated tower. But, one spot that is less known among couples — but which makes the ideal teamwork date spot — is the Tower’s stairs, which are open to the public on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. There are a total of 600 of them leading to the main deck observatory and it takes around 15 minutes to climb if you walk at a regular speed. While climbing, Tokyo’s heights will gradually unveil before you, and each stair up calls for a new excitement. When you reach the observatory, you can take a good rest and enjoy a drink while seeing the rest of Tokyo. On a clear day, you can even see Mt. Fuji.
Access: Akabanebashi or Onarimon stations
6. Watari Museum of Contemporary Art (Jingumae)
Known as Watari-um, this private art gallery stands out not only for its unique exhibitions of contemporary Japanese and international artists but also for its amazing mural of faces on the front of the building. While a small gallery overall, it has high-quality exhibitions, and you’re likely to find something that catches your or your date’s eye in their gift shop, too.
Access: Gaienmae station
7. Yanaka Ginza Shotengai (Nippori)
Nippori is not the first place people might think of when picking a date spot. There are mostly office buildings and older neighborhoods here, but its charm is subtle. Full of historic shops, contemporary boutiques, and plenty of cat-related goodies, Yanaka Ginza Shotengai (谷中銀座商店街）(shopping street) is a great option if you want a place to sit down and take photos in, or to enjoy a drink and some great cuisine in the early evening.
Access: Nippori and Sendagi stations
8. Izumo Taisha Tokyo Branch Shrine (Roppongi)
Another shrine on our list, the Izumo Taisha’s Tokyo Branch Shrine is home to several gods, one of them being a legendary playboy that fought hard to win his bride. According to the legend, this shrine will either bless or end a relationship, and that’s perhaps why many couples go there to test their fate. This shrine is located a short walk away from Roppongi Hills, so if you are mid-date and want to see how your relationship will fare, why not head over and see what the gods have to say?
Access: Roppongi station
9. Sunroad Shopping Street (Kichijoji)
If you’re looking for an all-inclusive date spot that you can enjoy for hours on end, then a trip to Kichijoji’s Sunroad Shopping Street (吉祥寺サンロード商店街) is ideal. Kichijoji is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Tokyo for a good reason — there’s plenty to see and do here! This shopping street is also connected to other smaller alleys outside the station, and I can safely say, you won’t be bored here. In fact, this spot can be one of the best for people on a first date — with so much to choose from, you can really get to know your date partner, and find out whether you’re compatible or not just by trying different places that catch your eye.
Access: Kichijoji station
10. Ota Memorial Museum of Art (Harajuku)
This museum, located equidistant between Meiji Shrine and Laforet Harajuku in Harajuku, exclusively exhibits ukiyo-e art from the Edo period, based on themes that rotate seasonally. There are shows of famed samurai, historical beauties, flowers, and of course, famed landscapes featured here, which means that you’re sure to find a famous work or two that you’ll be glad to see in person too. Plus, given that all the exhibitions are season-based, this museum is just the place to go if you’re looking to have the perfect “right now” date any time of year.
Access: Harajuku station
Can’t make up your mind where to go? If you really can’t choose just one place for your special date, and you want to make a full date course, then combining the above-mentioned locations can make for a truly spectacular day out with your significant other. My personal pick would be a visit to a park, a museum and then an evening look out over the city. What’s yours?