What to Expect
●1. Asakusa, a Sweet Old Town
Asakusa is a sweet old town loved by everyone. It was an entertainment district in Edo Period. You are welcomed by Thunder God and Wind God in the entrance gate. You go thorough Nakamise Shopping Street, one of the oldest shopping district in Japan, and reach to the Sensoji-Temple, a center of worship in Tokyo. You can feel the traditional atmosphere of Japan.
●2. Busy Fish Market
Tsukiji Fish Market is called the “Kitchen of Tokyo”, which was moved from Nihonbashi after Great Kanto Eathquake, became one of the biggest fish market in the world, handling fresh fish more than 3,000 ton/day. In the Outer Market area, there are many wholesale and retail shops along with numerous small restaurants in the streets. You can buy fresh seafood, vegetables, and Japanese traditional food materials.
●3. Wonderful Hamarikyu Garden
Hamarikyu Garden used to be a property of Shogun Family during Edo Period, and it belonged to Imperial Family after Meiji Restoration. It was handed down to Tokyo Municipal Government and opened to the public after World War 2. You can enjoy walking around the garden and take a rest at Teahouse in mid island with powdered tea and Japanese sweets. You can move to Asakusa by boat, going through Sumida River viewing the city of Tokyo from the water; various unique bridges and Skytree come to you.
●4. Peaceful Time in Imperial Palace, a former Edo Castle Complex
Edo Samurai Period ended, and Emperor took back the throne in the middle of 19th century. Imperial family moved into Edo Castle from Kyoto, and the castle complex became the Imperial Palace. The size of the Palace is about a million square meters (25 times as big as Tokyo Dome baseball stadium). This is an oasis in the middle of Tokyo metropolis.
●5. Serene Meiji Jingu Shrine in the middle of Metropolitan Area
The Meiji Jingu, a Shinto Shrine, is dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and the Empress. It was established in 1920 and the shrine grounds is now covered with over 120,000 trees which were donated by people from all over Japan. You will be surprised to feel the serene atmosphere when you get through the huge Torii Gate made from Japanese cypress. There are Harajuku and Omotesando Street, which are the birthplaces of youth culture.
●6. Ueno Park & Lovely Yanaka Old Town
There used to be Kaneiji Temple, the most influential Buddhist temple in Edo Period. It was constructed in 1625 to protect the northeast quarter from Edo Castle which was believed to be an entrance of demons in Chinese folklore. It was burned down in the battle at the end of the Samurai Period. The remained site turned out to be Ueno Park and opened to public as a place of recreation and relaxation. People enjoy cherry blossom viewing party in spring. Yanaka is a lovely old town near Ueno; you can enjoy watching a street of Japanese commoners’ stores and houses.
●7. Nostalgic Fukagawa Edo Museum & Unique Stone Garden
If you want to see a common people’s lifestyle in Edo Period, this is the place you should visit. Actual-size of the streets and houses of Fukagawa Town is reproduced in this museum.
Kiyosumi Garden is a typical walk-around-style garden and stone museum. It was a part of the residence of a famous merchant in 18th century. In the end of the 19th century, Iwasaki Yataro, the founder of Mitsubishi Financial Group, owned the garden and redesigned it for entertaining his employees and guests. Many beautiful stones, brought from all over Japan, are worth checking out.
●8. Walk around Shibuya, Contrast of Busy and Quiet
Shibuya is a city where young people get together. You will say hello to the statue of Hachiko, the faithful dog, who waited his deceased master for 10 years every day in front of Shibuya Station, and cross the Shibuya Crossing to the Center Street to feel the hustle & bustle of the city. A little walk from the busy street, you will find yourself in the quiet shrine.
●9. Meet the Fudo Myo-O, a God of Fire, at Fukagawa Fudoson
Fudo Myo-O, a God of Fire, is an avatar of Dainichi Buddha, burns out all the evils and demons. Through the fire-offering rite, all of your bad luck may disappear. You will be overwhelmed by a number of Buddha statues and crystal pagodas.
Tomioka Hachimangu enshrines Hachiman, a God of War. Sumo wrestlers often visit the shrine wishing for their victory in the Sumo tournament. There are memorial tablets which engrave with the name of successive Yokozuna Champions and Ozeki Champions.
●10. Power Spot in Ginza, a Luxury Shopping Street
Ginza is a luxury shopping street in which the land price is the most expensive in Japan; ca. 350,000 US dollars/m2 in 2017. Shusse Jizo, a Jizo bodhisattva of success in life, waits for you at the roof floor of Mitsukoshi department store. There are many delicious-looking sweets in the basement floor of Ginza Six, newly opened commercial district in central Ginza on April 2017.
●11. Shinjuku & the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office
Shinjuku is a never-sleeping town. The streets are busy until midnight where anyone can come casually regardless of age or sex. Godzilla Head is a new icon of the town, and Samurai museum became popular among foreign visitors.
There is a twin tower of the Tokyo metropolitan office, and the panoramic view from the tower is magnificent. If you want a quiet place, there is a beautiful Shinjuku Gyoen Park.
●12. Akiba, Electronics & Action Figures
Akiba, or Akihabara, used to be a town of black markets in the middle of 20th century, during a chaotic time in Japan after World War 2, turned out to be an electronics town in 1990s. Today, Akiba is famous for its Otaku (Geek) Culture; if you are interested in Action Figures of popular cartoon characters, Robots, Miniature-model of Trains, this is the place to check out.
Once there was a Manseibashi Train Station nearby, and the place is preserved as a historic site; there are unique shops and cafes under the red-brick Manseibashi Bridge together with revived platform on the top.