Tokyo is a great big city, there is so much to see and do across the sprawling neon lit metropolis that you can get spoilt for choice. Below is a list of some of the more interesting and popular places to visit.
1 - Harajuku
Most visitors to Tokyo come to the Harajuku area. It was within a couple of stops of Shibuya station on the JR line, so an easy visit for us. There are two main attractions in the area, the renowned Meiji Shrine and the locals that get dressed up.
Sunday is a peak day for tourists, as this is when you have the best chance to see a ‘Harakuju Girl’, a local donned up in a unique style of costume that has become synonymous with the area. It is also a popular day to visit Meiji Shrine and you will likely see a wedding ceremony or two.
The Meiji Shrine is a short walk through a nice park area from Harakuju. It is a special place visited by many people each year and host to weddings, particularly on weekends.
2 - Ueno
Getting to Ueno on the JR loop is straight forward, takes around half an hour from Shibuya. There is a large park area that is of interest to tourists a short walk from the station. It contains many different museums, shrines and an interesting little zoo that has two Panda Bears.
Ueno Zoo only costs 600 yen, which is pretty good value to see a panda. There are other interesting exhibits as well.
Ueno Park is also a prime viewing spot for cherry blossoms, which can be seen late March to early April.
3 - Asakusa
We noticed one day near the end of our stay that a lot of young people were walking around in traditional Kimono’s. It turned out that it was the national Coming of Age day, when all citizens that had turned 20 in the previous year were now considered adults.
We visited the Asakusa area on that day. Asakusa is a popular tourist destination, with the Senso-ji temple a major attraction. The outer gate of the temple with its large chochin lantern is a familiar landmark, and the walk to the shrine, surrounded by souvenir and interesting food stalls, is extremely popular
Asakusa Souvenir Markets
2 - Shinkinju
Shinjuku is the heart of Tokyo, and it beats loudly and brightly. The original neon jungle teems with people on a quiet night, and overflows with restaurants, shopping complexes and 100 yen shops.
Kubukicho is a famous red light district in Shinjuku. It’s an interesting place, but care needs to be taken, more that you don’t get ‘over taxed’, more than anything else. It’s a vibrant area but expect to be accosted by the local Nigerian contingent, who will recommend you visit their respective establishments.
Kabukicho Red Light District
1 - Tokyo Bay
Tokyo Bay is an interesting and unique place, and well worth a visit. Getting there is also fun, as the main access is via a completely automated driverless train with rubber wheels that travels across the magnificent Rainbow Bridge.
The line to Tokyo Bay is called Yurikamome. We took the JR Loop to Shimbashi, which is the first station on the line to the bay. It is a separately owned system to the metro and Jr lines, so a different ticket is needed. A one day pass on the line is 820 yen, which is worth it if you plan to do more than a simple return trip.
There is a bit to see and do in the area, mostly centred on the large shopping malls, but there are some sights to see outside as well, including the giant Gundam robot and replica statue of liberty. If possible, plan to be there after dark when the skyline really lights up, showing an amazing view of the Rainbow Bridge.
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