Best Date to Visit: Sep – Nov, Mar – May
Things to Do: Sightseeing, Dining, Shopping, Kart tours and more
Points of Interest: Meiji Shrine, Tokyo Imperial Palace, Senso-Ji, Ueno Park, Ginza District and more
The Good: Friendly and respectful people
The Bad: Very complex and busy public transport,Expensive
Tokyo (formerly known as Edo) is the capital and the largest city of Japan. However the city or prefecture was not always the country’s capital, as this always moved around depending on where Japan’s emperor wanted them. Furthermore greater Tokyo is said to be the most populated city (according to worldatlas) and known to be an alpha world city the largest modern metropolis in the world.
Tokyo was the third and last city I visited during my tour of Japan. My expectations before I visited was a bustling metropolis full of the most modern technologies and infrastructure. Researching before my travels I found the city to be very reputable, which has more acclaimed restaurants than anywhere in the world, even more than Paris. Furthermore it is said to be one of the most safest capitals in the world with the lowest crime rates than any around the world especially against tourists.
Firstly one of the must do activity in Tokyo is shop, as the city known as the best tax free shopping around the world. Ginza is an upmarket district in central Tokyo which has the most famous brands such as Gucci, Armani, Chanel and many alike. Furthermore many nightclubs, hotels, cafes and restaurants are also around here.
Another shopping area in Tokyo that centre around the younger audience is Harajuku and Aoyama. This is a small narrow street bustling with affordable garments, accessories, toys and adventurous deserts , souvenirs are also found here and I believe the best place to buy them.
Shinjuku is also another place for shopping, and centred around the middle working class community. Here there are the more affordable brands such as Uniqlo, Lumine, Muji and others alike.
However probably one of the most famous shopping district around the world, due to its bustling atmosphere is Shibuya. Most notable for the ‘Shibuya Crossing’ which has featured in many movies such as ‘Lost in translation’, ‘Fast and the furious’ and ‘Resident Evil’. The crossing is said to be the busiest intersection worldwide and is beautiful moreover at night when all the lights make for a great picture phot opportunity. Restaurants fill the streets in this area and there are a lot more amusements such as arcades, karaoke and clubs.
Apart from shopping there are also various attractions you could visit in Tokyo, its newest attraction which opened in 2012 is the ‘Tokyo Sky Tree’, this is a broadcast centre which is fast becoming the city’s cover attraction. Including restaurants and a observation deck this building is inspired by traditional Japanese architecture and is a great place to go if you are looking to see the city from a different view.
A much older point of interest in Tokyo is the ‘Meji Shrine’ which is not too far from the world famous ‘Shibuya’. This shrine is located in a calm tranquil area in the middle of the beautiful ‘Yoyogi park’, which is again a sight to see in the cherry blossom season. Completed in 1920 the shrine which is dedicated to the Emperor ‘Meji’ and Empress ‘Shoken’ is surrounded by ‘Meji Shingu’s Forest’ which is entered through 2 large ‘Torii Gates’ one in the northside and the other southside. Pass these gates there is still a serene 10 minute walk to the shrines complex and upon arriving there is plenty exhibitions such as banzai trees, artwork, rituals and many others. The complex itself had various traditional architecture which is an excellent place for photographer type tourists and is a definite must whilst visiting Tokyo. There is a lot to see in the vicinity of the forest and you may stumble upon the ‘Kiyomasa Wells’ and the ‘Sake Barrels‘. Overall I believe that this was the best place to visit in Tokyo.
‘Tsukiji Hongwanji’ is an operating Buddhist temple with free admission for tourists. It is a landmark for the Tsukuji area. Built on 1657 this temple has had huge historic significance. For me it was just a simple touch and go visit, so I am unable to give more information.
Next to the temple is ‘Tsukiji Fish market’ a haven for fish or sushi lovers, a place where wholesale fish occurs, viewers are able to observe tuna auctions. Moreover there are plenty sushi restaurants where you are able dine and also learn the trade. Other produce are also sold here so for any food lovers this market is worth visiting.
Lastly the ‘Imperial Palace’ which is the current residence of Japans Imperial family. It is actually the location of where Edo castle used to be. An interesting fact was that the palace was destroyed during the world war but then rebuilt in the same way afterwards. Similar to that of Osaka castle the imperial palace is bordered by huge stone walls and bridges which are appealing but does get in the way of a good picture. Take note no visitors are allowed inside the complex nor the buildings, however guided tours are available for the palace grounds.
Other places to visit are the ‘Senso-Ji Temple’, ‘Mount Fuji’ and various other museums and parks but I didn’t have time to visit them so I wont write about them.
All in all Tokyo was an interesting metropolis, it was definitely the busiest place ive been, a working city just like London. However unlike Kyoto and its magnificent shrines, in my opinion Tokyo’s main appeal for tourism is its shopping and dining as it doesn’t have many historic buildings. In my opinion a 3 or 4 days visit is enough in the city, stay very close to central of Japan and most places should be walking distance.
Reference: According to worldatlas.com (Population)