In our Tokyo sightseeing section we'll take a look at some of the different places you can wander round and explore at your own pace as you make your way around the city. We think it's one of the best ways to see Tokyo in all her glory.
Great Places To Explore Places During Your Tokyo Stay
- Harajuku - Omotesando Hills, access to Yoyogi Park and some distinctive fashions abound.
- Shibuya - home of the young trendsetters and the famous Hachiko crossing.
- Ebisu - named after the beer that made this areas fortune, now an upmarket and elegant area of Tokyo.
- Odaiba - a seaside city with some shopping with a difference, playgrounds for adults as well as children, and a great view of Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Bay.
- Asakusa - old style Japan comes alive with traditional shops, ceremonies and temples.
- Shinjuku - the business end of this huge station where about 3 million people pass through every day. Make sure you take your time and check for the English signs - there's lots of them!
- Shinjuku East - this is your shopping area with department stores like Isetan as well as stores like Muji and Afternoon Tea.
- Kabukicho - the red light district of Shinjuku! Take in the sights and sounds of this infamous area with this audio walking tour.
- Ueno - a range of museums, Ueno zoo, Ueno park and a shopping street with a history.
- Ginza - top end fashion boutiques and some excellent restaurants that are oozing with class.
- Akihabara - meet the Tokyo maids and Otaku that bring a voltage of their own to this famous Electric Town.
- Kichijoji - out of the city centre you'll find Kichijoji at the end of the Inokashira Line. Book in advance to see Studio Ghibli and enjoy Inokashira Park.
Tokyo Sightseeing Agenda
Sometimes it's best not to have a Tokyo sightseeing agenda. Just pick your starting point and then go wherever your nose takes you.
Getting off the main roads and taking a stroll through the back streets will open your eyes to the variety of life which are hidden behind the modern face of the city.
Walk past the local tofu or tatami shop and see the process behind these age old products. Listen to the sounds of good old fashioned commerce as shopkeepers call out their welcome to passing customers. Or find a local park or Japanese garden to relax in.
Festivals and celebrations are one of the best opportunities to see the more traditional and cultural aspects of Tokyo and Japan.
The Local Shotengai Or High Street
For some more local Tokyo sightseeing, all community centers have a shotengai (high street) where you can feel the sense of community that most definitely still exists between the shopkeepers and their customers. The shouts of 'Irasshaimase!' combined with the hubbub of everyday life gives the local high streets an energy of their own.
Despite its corporate and up market image, Tokyo retains much that is traditional within its boundaries. For an example of old style commerce at its best, visit Tsukiji fish market. Experience the hustle, bustle and noise as the selling, buying and bartering goes on around you.
A note of caution. Sadly or not, depending on your take, in April 2008 Tsukiji restricted the entry of non-business participants (i.e. you and me) to the hours of 5am - 6:15am. In addition, you can now only watch the auction from a designated viewing area. Why? Unfortunately too many tourists were entering and getting in the way of the real business of the morning. Fair enough I say.
Finally, if you are thinking of traveling on from Tokyo to some more far flung tourist spots, check out these adventure travel destination ideas and see if they give you inspiration. Happy travels!