What to Expect
Every tourist has his or her own preferences and needs. For example, my 76-year-old mother is a very out-going person and still loves to travel in spite of the artificial joint embedded in her ankle. She is vigorous in mind but can no longer walk as fast as people around her. But we can enjoy traveling by considered arrangement. Also, I have been astounded at the allergic reaction of my friend who is allergic to crustaceans. We weren’t aware that shrimps were used for making soup stock of the ramen we ate. That experience made me more careful about food for people who have some allergy. Please feel free to tell me anything you worry about. Careful preparation makes you feel free from any anxiety and brings you wonderful travel memories
On the other hand, some people may have a strong urge to walk around Tokyo at their own pace and visit some places of their particular interests without being constrained by others. Why don’t we make a special itinerary together? It’s my pleasure to help you appreciate deep attractions in Japan.
Walking, Shopping and Culture:
1. Omotesando, Aoyama and Roppongi district: a street lined with zelkova trees on both sides that provides a relaxing atmosphere. It is also lined with refined shops including brand shops, cafés, as well as restaurants. Let’s enjoy walking in the Minami Aoyama district to Roppongi! (1.5km form Omotesando to The National Art Center in Roppongi)
-The Nezu Museum in Aoyama: popular among foreigners not only for its collection but also its amazing garden.
-The National Art Center in Roppongi: designed by the famous architect, Kisho Kurokawa. The restaurant and café in this building are also fantastic!
2. Ginza: streets lined with good restaurants and a high-end shopping area. New landmarks have been built here recently.
-KABUKIZA Tower: office tower that emphasizes traditional Japanese aesthetics, built adjacent to the Kabukiza
-Tsukiji Outer Market: you can find anything from foods such as fresh fish, fresh meats, fresh fruit and vegetables,and dried foods to food-related products such as knives and dinnerware. Also a famous gourmet spot.
3. Shinjuku: -Tokyo Metropolitan Government: One of Tokyo's landmarks, with an observatory on the 45th floor
-Department store with popular basement food floors, which offer fancy sweets, delicious prepared dishes, and beautiful box lunches
-huge electronics stores such as Yamada Denki, Bic Camera, and Yodobashi Camera, which offer plenty of equipment such as PCs and electrical home appliances
4. Ikebukuro: within 10 minutes from Shinjuku
-Sunshine Aquarium: first rooftop aquarium in Japan based on the concept of “an oasis in the sky”
-J-WORLD-TOKYO: indoor theme park full of animated cartoons from popular comic book “Jump” such as “One piece” “Dragon ball” and “Naruto”
-Nanjatown: indoor theme park that provides everything from amusement to food all at once, which is popular with groups as well as couples
5. Asakusa-Odaiba Tokyo Bay Cruise! : You can fully enjoy the color of Tokyo along the Sumida-gawa River toward Tokyo Bay and see many types of bridges spanning the river. (about one hour)
6. Asakusa: one of the most popular tourist destinations. Senso-ji Temple, famous for its huge red lantern is the biggest Buddhist temple in Tokyo. But do you know that Asakusa-jinja Shrine is in the same grounds? You can learn about the coexistence of Buddhism and Shintoism here. You can buy traditional Japanese souvenirs at the shopping arcade called Nakamise.
7. Odaiba: popular among both adults and kids. There are also several kids' places such as the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, an indoor amusement park along with fancy several attractive malls for adults.
8. Ueno: -Ueno Park: designated in 1873 as the first park in Japan. In the huge grounds are a museum complex, zoo, and Toshogu Shrine, which was built in 1627 upon request by Tokugwa Ieyasu in his will.
-Ameyoko (short for Ameya-yokocho) is famous for its extremely cheap seasonal goods and other wares such as cosmetics, shoes, sporting goods, leather jackets and jeans.
9. Kiyosumi-Shirakawa: old town with several popular coffee shops, temples and shrines, and a famous Kiyosumi-garden, which is one of the greatest masterpieces in the gardens in Tokyo.
10. Shibamata: Taishakuten Temple may not be so widely known to foreign tourist, but it’s been popular among Japanese people because the temple and the approach lined with many long-established shops used to be a set of the movie titled ‘Tora-san’, which has been loved by the Japanese for many years.
11. Tokyo Sky Tree: the highest communications and observation tower in Japan, whose observation decks command a breath-taking panorama of Tokyo. There are also a planetarium, an aquarium, and a lot of shops and restaurants, so people from all age groups can enjoy there.
12. Marunouchi: -Tokyo Staion: completed in 1914, designated Important Cultural Property, was restored to its original form in 2012.
- KITTE: a commercial facility run by Japan Post. You can enjoy shops that let you experience Japanese craftsmanship as well as restaurants that serve delicious food from across Japan.
-Imperial Palace: The Edo Castle, formerly the Tokugawa Family’s residence, became the Imperial Palace as the Emperor moved to Tokyo from the Kyoto Imperial Palace after the Meiji Restoration.
Anime, Games, Comics, and new fashion trend:
13. Akihabara: The center of electric, comic, card game shops, maid cafes, and anime products. The shop filled with many toy vending machine selling capsule toys called “Gasha-pon” is also popular along with the instant photo booth, Pri-Kura.
-Kanda Myojin Shrine: supposedly built in 730, which is dedicated to Taira no Masakado. The vermilion-lacquered main hall is spectacular. It’s also a sanctuary for anime fans now because of the scene of a popular anime “Love Live”. Adjacent to the Akihabara district, you can find omikuji sold in a capsule toy style.
14. Nakano, a Sanctuary for Otaku (geek, nerd, or freak); enjoy Japanese sub-culture fully at Nakano Broadway. If you love a certain anime character, you can even make your cell-phone case printed your favorite one. Anyway, everything Otaku want is here
15. Harajyuku, pop fashion shopping area: all sorts of fashion categories, popular snack such as colorful cotton candy, and unique cafes
16. Shibuya, teenager shopping area: Walking from Harajuku to Shibuya, you can see shop windows displaying the latest fashion for the young. And you can visit to Shibuya station to see the Hachiko statue and the ‘human scramble’ traffic crossing.
Shrines and Temples:
17. Meiji-jingu Shrine: Located in Harajuku, Shibuya, it’s popular among foreign tourists. The Well of Kiyomasa in this garden has become famous as a so-called power spot. Pure water has been welling up for more than 400 years.
18. Hie-jinja Shrine: famous for its Sanno Festival, one of the three biggest festivals in Japan. You can also see the National Diet Building and other important buildings nearby.
19. Zojoji Temple: situated near Tokyo Tower, Zojoji Temple is the chief temple of the Jodo-Buddhist sect. It had a deep connection to the Tokugawa Shogunate family.
20. Tokyo Daijingu: called ‘o-Ise-sama in Tokyo’, this shrine is especially popular among young women who want to encounter their future husband. You can get a pretty charm on which flowers or Hello Kitty is embroidered.
If you are interested in shrines, please visit my blog, "Visiting Tokyo ten shrines".