Tokyo – A Metropolis Like No Other

Tokyo, Japan’s capital, is a world city equal in sophistication to New York and London. Originally called Edo, the city first began expanding as the power base of the 300-year Shogunate, became the capital and grew into the giant metropolis of today. Japan’s transportation networks are centered on Tokyo, and this is the focus of the nation’s politics, economy, business, information, culture, and manufacturing. Tokyo is a constantly evolving global metropolis, with a culture that has a worldwide influence.

Places to visit in Tokyo

Central Tokyo

1 Akihabara

Akihabara has been undergoing major redevelopment over the years, including the renovation and expansion of Akihabara Station and the construction of new buildings in its proximity. Among these newly opened buildings were a huge Yodobashi electronics store and the Akihabara Crossfield, a business complex with the aim of promoting Akihabara as a center for global electronics technology and trade.

2 Tsukiji Outer Market

In 1923, the Great Kanto Earthquake caused widespread devastation across Tokyo, destroying the Nihonbashi Fish Market. This led to its relocation to Tsukiji, which opened for business in 1935. The area grew into a prosperous town. You can still get a sense of this history, with several buildings more than 80 years old. Tsukiji Outer Market, is a district adjacent to the site of the former Tsukiji Wholesale Market. It consists of a few blocks of wholseale and retail shops, as well as restaurants crowded along narrow lanes. Here you can find fresh and processed seafood and produce alongside food-related goods such as knives.

A visit to Tsukiji Outer Market is best combined with a fresh sushi breakfast or lunch at one of the local restaurants. The restaurants are typically open from 5:00 in the morning to around noon or early afternoon. Because most of the fish served and sold at Tsukiji Outer Market is delivered directly from Toyosu Market, this is one of the best places in Tokyo to enjoy fresh seafood.

3 Koishikawa Korakuen

Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens is arguably the most beautiful Japanese landscape garden in Tokyo. With a rich history and subtle influences from China, the garden maintains an exquisite aesthetic appeal throughout the seasons
Koishikawa Korakuen was completed during the Edo period (1603-1867), and is one of the oldest gardens in Tokyo. The feudal lord Yorifusa, founder of the Mito Tokugawa clan, started the construction of the garden, and it was completed by his son with the help of Chinese scholar Shu Shunsui in 1669. There are reproductions of both famous Japanese and Chinese scenery throughout the garden, represented by the miniature hills, ponds, stones and trees. As you walk along the circular path around the pond, you’ll see a different view every few steps.

4 Tokyo Imperial Palace

The Imperial Palace has served as the residential place of the successive Emperors since 1868. It contains the Imperial Residence and the Imperial Palace Complex, where His Majesty the Emperor undertakes official duties. Various ceremonies and public activities are held there too. Other major buildings in the Palace include the building of the Imperial Household Agency and the Palace Sericulture Centre, where the successive Empresses have raised silkworms following the precedent set in 1871 by Empress Dowager Shoken, Empress and consort of Emperor Meiji. The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace are located on the eastern part of the palace grounds and opened to the public. Only on January 2 (New Year’s Greeting) and February 23 (Emperor’s Birthday), visitors are able to enter the inner palace grounds and see the members of the Imperial Family, who make several public appearances on a balcony.

Northern Tokyo:

5 Tokyo National Museum

With over 110,000 items in its collection, of which 89 (as of March 2019) are priceless National Treasures, the Tokyo National Museum is Japan’s oldest museum. Any of the museum’s buildings could be a museum of its own, so get to Ueno Park early and save a full day for looking at as many of the 3,000 items on display as you can.

The Tokyo National Museum features one of the largest and best collections of art and archeological artifacts in Japan, made up of over 110,000 individual items including nearly a hundred national treasures. At any one time, about 4000 different items from the permanent museum collection are on display. In addition, visiting temporary exhibitions are also held regularly. Good English information and audio guides are available.

Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Sky Tree, also spelled Tokyo Skytree, broadcasting and telecommunications tower in Tokyo. At a height of 2,080 feet (634 metres), it was the world’s second tallest structure, after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, at the time of its opening on May 22, 2012. Tokyo Sky Tree is also the world’s tallest freestanding tower, and it exceeds the height of Tokyo Tower, previously the city’s tallest structure, by 988 feet (301 metres).Tembo Deck, the lower of the two decks is 350 meters high and spans three levels with great views from all of its floors. The top floor features tall, broad windows that offer some of the best 360 degree panoramic views of the city. The middle floor has a souvenir shop and the Musashi Sky Restaurant, which serves French-Japanese fusion cuisine, while the lowest floor features a cafe and some glass panels on the ground from where you can look all the way down to the base of the tower.

7 Asakusa

Asakusa is one of the best temples to see in Tokyo however because of this there are a lot of tourists. If youre not going to Kyoto it is worth a look.  Asakusa’s main attraction is Sensoji, a very popular Buddhist temple, built in the 7th century. The temple is approached via the Nakamise, a shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and tourist souvenirs for centuries. Asakusa can easily be explored on foot. Alternatively, you can consider a guided tour on a rickshaw (jinrikisha, literally “man powered vehicle”). A 30 minute tour for two persons costs around 9000 yen. Shorter and longer courses are also available. For many centuries, Asakusa used to be Tokyo’s leading entertainment district. During the Edo Period (1603-1867), when the district was still located outside the city limits, Asakusa was the site of kabuki theaters and a large red light district. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, modern types of entertainment, including movie theaters, set foot in Asakusa. However, large parts of Asakusa were destroyed in the air raids of World War Two. And while the area around the rebuilt Sensoji has regained its former popularity after the war, the same cannot be said for Asakusa’s entertainment district. The opening of the 634 meter tall Tokyo Skytree, a twenty minute walk across the Sumida River from Asakusa, has led to an increase of tourists recently.

Sensoji Temple- The Heart of Asakusa

Sensoji Temple in Asakusa is the oldest and most famous temple in Tokyo with a history going back 1,400 years. This temple is dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy, and it is incredibly popular with millions of people visiting every year. It is one of Tokyo’s most colorful and popular temples. The legend says that in the year 628, two brothers fished a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, out of the Sumida River, and even though they put the statue back into the river, it always returned to them. Consequently, Sensoji was built nearby for the goddess of Kannon. The temple was completed in 645, making it Tokyo’s oldest temple.  When approaching the temple, visitors first enter through the Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate), the outer gate of Sensoji Temple and the symbol of Asakusa and the entire city of Tokyo. A shopping street of over 200 meters, called Nakamise, leads from the outer gate to the temple’s second gate, the Hozomon. Alongside typical Japanese souvenirs such as yukata and folding fans, various traditional local snacks from the Asakusa area are sold along the Nakamise. The shopping street has a history of several centuries.

Edo-Tokyo Museum

Modeled after a traditional Edo raised storehouse, from the outside the Edo-Tokyo Museum looks like an enormous spaceship crossed with a luxury cruise ship. As the train pulls into the Ryogoku district where the museum is located, you can see the building hovering over the Kokugikan sumo stadium about to beam up all of the wrestlers.

The Edo-Tokyo Museum,  is housed in a unique looking building in the Ryogoku district. The museum’s permanent exhibition vividly illustrates the past of Tokyo (known as Edo until 1869) through its exhibits and covers many features of the capital from the Edo Period to relatively recent decades.

Western Tokyo

10 Shibuya

Shibuya is famous for its scramble crossing, called Shibuya Crossing. It is located in front of the Shibuya Station Hachikō exit and stops vehicles in all directions to allow pedestrians to inundate the entire intersection.Shibuya is one of the twenty-three city wards of Tokyo, but often refers to just the popular shopping and entertainment area found around Shibuya Station. In this regard, Shibuya is one of Tokyo’s most colorful and busy districts, packed with shopping, dining and nightclubs serving swarms of visitors that come to the district everyday.

10 Shinjuku Shinjuku is one of the 23 city wards of Tokyo, but the name commonly refers to just the large entertainment, business and shopping area around Shinjuku Station. Shinjuku Station is the world’s busiest railway station, handling more than two million passengers every day. It is served by about a dozen railway and subway lines, including the JR Yamanote Line. Shinjuku is also one of Tokyo’s major stops for long-distance highway buses. A large bus terminal, named Busta Shinjuku, is conveniently located on top of the railway station.

11 Shinjuku

Shinjuku is one of the must-visit areas in Tokyo, best known as the best entertainments districts in the city. The district offers lavish nightlife decorated with flashy neon lights and it’s considered as the biggest red light district in Tokyo.

There are numbers of entertainments and attractions available in Shinjuku area where visitors can play, eat and shop till very late night.

In this article, I’m sharing the best things to do in Shinjuku Tokyo in 2020, including the best photo spots, a nostalgic Izakaya alley and the famous Robot Restaurant!

12 Harajuku

Every area in Tokyo has its own distinct appeal. Harajuku is extremely popular for the unique qualities it possesses, which are even unlike other shopping areas like Shibuya and Shinjuku.

Harajuku is a funky fashion capital in Tokyo, known for its bright colors, dark gothic lolita outfits. It is where Japan’s kawaii culture began and continues to thrive. Harajuku is full of cafes and apparel stores with creative pop-culture vibes such as the Kawaii Monster Cafe Harajuku. The abundant nature of Meiji Jingu and Yoyogi Park, as well as the Ota Memorial Museum of Art, where you can enjoy ukiyo-e art, are right beside Harajuku Station as well. This unusual combination creates a diverse array of ways to enjoy yourself in Harajuku.

13 Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen is one of Tokyo’s largest and most popular parks. Located just a short walk from Shinjuku Station, the paid park’s spacious lawns, meandering walking paths and tranquil scenery provide a relaxing escape from the busy urban center around it. In spring Shinjuku Gyoen becomes one of the best places in the city to see cherry blossoms.

Southern Tokyo

14 Odaiba

Odaiba is Tokyo’s greatest entertainment area, with numerous shops, museums, and restaurants, as well as beaches and parks to choose from. This is a sightseeing and amusement paradise. Learn things to do, from visiting teamLab Borderless to taking in the giant Gundam statue and Tokyo Bay scenery.

Roppongi Hills – Mori Tower

This is the main tower of Roppongi Hills with 54 floors above ground and a height of 238m. It has become established as a Tokyo landmark. The offices are located on the 8th to 48th floors, and boast a floor area of approximately 1,360 tsubo (approximately 4,500m²) of rental room area per floor, the most spacious in Japan for a super-high rise building. It is a state-of-the-art office building equipped with super-fast networks, outstanding earthquake resistance, and rigorous security. The rooftop deck (the Sky Deck) is open to the general public and there are cultural and educational facilities on the upper floors, including the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo City View (the observation deck), the Roppongi Hills Club and Academyhills. Roppongi Hills Mori Tower has become a symbol of a “Tokyo’s Cultural Heart”.

16 Toyosu Market

Toyosu Market,  opened on October 11, 2018 on the man-made island of Toyosu in the Bay of Tokyo. It took over the wholesale business from the aging Tsukiji Market and provides tourists with an opportunity to observe the market action and to dine at restaurants across its large, modern premises.

The Toyosu Marketis a wholesale market in Tokyo, located in the Toyosu area of the Kōtō ward. There are two markets for seafood, one for general wholesale and one for bidding and one market for fruits and vegetables, with each in their own buildings. Tourists can observe the auction market on a second floor viewing deck. There are restaurants with fresh seafood and produce from the market and shops (Uogashi Yokocho). The market is built on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay, and replaces the historic Tsukiji fish market. The huge wholesale market consists of three main buildings: two buildings for seafood and one for fruits and vegetables. All buildings are connected with each other and Shijo-mae Station via walkways, and tourists can enter them along dedicated routes and view the action from observation windows that look onto the auction and wholesale halls for tuna, other seafood and produce.

16 Tokyo Tower

Standing 333 meters high in the center of Tokyo, Tokyo Tower – is the world’s tallest, self-supported steel tower and 13 meters taller than its model, the Eiffel Tower. A symbol of Japan’s post-war rebirth as a major economic power, Tokyo Tower was the country’s tallest structure from its completion in 1958 until 2012 when it was surpassed by the Tokyo Skytree. In addition to being a popular tourist spot, Tokyo Tower serves as a broadcast antenna.

The tower’s main deck at 150 meters is reached via elevator or a 600-step staircase (both paid). Thanks to the tower’s central location, the observatory offers an interesting view of the city despite being only at a relatively moderate height. There are also some “lookdown windows” in the floor to stand on, a souvenir shop and a cafe where visitors can enjoy refreshments.
A second set of elevators connect the main deck to the 250 meter high top deck, from where you can get a bird’s eye view of Tokyo from high above the surrounding buildings. It is the third highest observation deck in Tokyo (after the two decks at the Tokyo Skytree). When visibility is good, visitors can see the Tokyo Skytree and Mount Fuji in the distance.

Directly below the tower stands the “Foot Town” building, which houses a variety of souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants and the One Piece Tower, an indoor amusement park. Opened on the 15th anniversary of the popular manga in 2015, the park offers a variety of shows, games and other attractions that feature characters from the series.

17 Sengakuji Temple

Sengaku-ji Temple is often overlooked by travelers coming to Tokyo. Because their tale is relatively unheard of worldwide, few realize the remains of the legendary 47 Ronin (masterless samurai) reside here. For history buffs or those interested in Japanese culture, don’t miss visiting Sengaku-ji Temple.Sengakuji  is a small temple near Shinagawa Station in Tokyo. The temple is famous for its graveyard where the “47 Ronin” (also known as Akoroshi, the “masterless samurai from Ako”) are buried.

The story of the 47 loyal ronin (see below) became highly popular as a kabuki play during the Edo Period, and remains very popular today. Many people visit the temple in order to pay respect to the Akoroshi by burning incense sticks (senko) in the graveyard.

December 14 is the anniversary of the 47 ronin’s avenge. A festival is held annually at Sengakuji to commemorate the event, attracting thousands of visitors. The small graveyard becomes very crowded and smoky during the festival, and many festival foods such as okonomiyaki and takoyaki can be enjoyed at temporarily constructed food stands.


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