Originally Posted by globetrotter
1. 5 am breakfast at the fish market
2. sumu wrestling, see if there is a tourniment while you are in town. fantastic entertainment
3. tokyo museum
4. get to a bathhouse
that is pretty much what I would recomend. honestly, I didn't have a badly prepared meal, but the city is so big that I wouldn't recomend specific places because there is no reason to travel 90 minutes for my kastu place when there is probably one just as good or better near your hotel. enjoy
I... agree that you can get well prepared food at most places, but it's really worth seeking the good places out in Tokyo, IMO. Between the times I would go to Japan and not really care and just find my way around, versus the times I went more prepared with a list of places I wanted to see and eat at, there's no question that the food really blew me away and made an impression on me when I prepared for it, and there's a sense of quality that comes into its own when you're bookmarking and paying more attention. When I'd just fumble around I hardly remembered anything besides things being nice and interesting at the time, let alone any of the names. Some of each is fun, I guess. I prefer kind of wandering around in the night looking for drinks, but meals are better served if you reserve them in advance, of course. Anything really good in Tokyo will need a reservation. Some have archaic online reservations on their site, some use OpenTable Japan that works just the same, but most good Japanese restaurants are gonna need a phone call from the hotel concierge.
Omotesando and Aoyama-dori need a walk to be appreciated, at least for the people you'll see. Always fashionable and sometimes interesting looking. You can stop going up Aoyama-dori by Aoyama-itchome or Gaienmae. Can get back to Harajuku on foot easily by triangulating from Gaienmae.
Tokyo is large, but the things a tourist enjoys are mostly contained within a little horseshoe from Ueno to Ginza and the Imperial Palace, Tsukiji, Azabu and Roppongi, Ebisu and Daikanyama, to Shibuya up through Harajuku and Shinjuku. So, in that sense, it's not that that large.
Sumo is kind of esoteric. It's better watched on TV than in person, IMO. It happens so fast and in person you'd end up paying a ton of money for a bad vantage point, it's to the degree that Japanese people who go to sumo matches bring some sort of portable TV with them so they can watch the replays and other angles, on the same broadcast people at home watch. Would not waste the time or money to go to Sumo.
Bathhouse, maybe. Not always the most fun thing to do for a westerner straight off the bat. (no pun)
If there's time on a weekend or something, a trip to Kamakura to see the Daibutsu (the big Buddha statue) is worth it. Very breathtaking in person, and it's fun to ride the old Enoden rail through the hills.
If there's anything that is absolutely important, one must either roam or get a data plan from a rental kiosk at the airport before you go into the city, if it's still business hours when you land - or reserve one before you arrive. Having maps and Google translate in your pocket will save your life. Can't imagine being in Japan without those conveniences now, though I did it for years before.
If I can recommend any fine dining places one should try to get into in Japan, if the budget allows and reservations/timing are right (I haven't even been to all of these yet, but feel like they're the eventual local musts)
-les Creations de Narisawa
-one of the 3-star sushi places that isn't Jiro. Maybe Mizutani, but it may be no easier. Saito? A lot of them don't want to serve non-Japanese people, so that's a challenge.
-something kappou, like Azabu Yukimura
Then, if one really wants to take advantage of it, there are bunch of alumni-type fine dining restaurants (many around Azabu or Roppongi area) that hover down around 1 Michelin star where the menu prices are good, the food always has little interesting twists while remaining in pretty good taste, and oft times they'll serve a classic dish note for note from whatever famous foreign restaurant they've trained at. Kind of a twofer sometimes.