We spent Christmas Eve (Christmas Day if you ask my Hispanic husband) exploring the Gotoku-ji Temple. This is another must-do! The highlight is the plethora of lucky cats, but the adjoining cemetery is spectacular. If you’re looking for souvenirs, there is shop on site selling the lucky cats. We brought home four of them and still wish we had more.
Next stop was Shimokitazawa, where we spent a couple of hours exploring the local shops, such as Darwin Room, Chicago, and Flamingo. None of the shops stood out as spectacular, but you can’t go wrong exploring a Tokyo neighborhood.
We then headed back to Shinjuku and to stop at Bingoya Craft Shop. This is a great place for quality souvenirs, ranging from hand-painted pottery to children’s toys. The owners were extremely helpful, detailing the cultural significance of each piece we purchased.
We then walked the mile back to our hotel, squirreling our way through the local neighborhoods. It allowed us to see glimpses of Japanese life away from the tourist circuit.