Things to Do in Tokyo - page 2
Made in the 13th century, the imposing Great Buddha of Kamakura can be found inside the Kotoku-in temple complex in the seaside city of Kamakura. It’s the second-largest Buddha in Japan and a popular tourist attraction.
Ueno Park is a public park in central Tokyo that’s home to several of the city’s top museums, including the Tokyo National Museum and the National Museum of Nature and Science. You’ll also find Ueno zoo, Tokyo’s first zoo, a boating lake, and other attractions for the whole family here.
In Tokyo’s Asakusa district, Nakamise Street is a pedestrian area lined with shops and stalls offering souvenirs, street food, and more. The street is part of the ancient Sens?-ji Temple complex and is a very popular visitor attraction.
Omotesando is an attractive, well-groomed, tree-lined street between Shibuya and Minato in Tokyo. Designed as an entranceway to Meiji Shrine, the street pays homage to the deified spirits of Emperor Maiji and his wife, Empress Shoken.
In modern years, Omotesando has earned a reputation as one of the most fashion-forward neighborhoods in the world, with high-end shops all within close range of one another. Some of the brands featured in this area include Louis Vuitton, Prada and Dior. Due to its chic style, Omotesando is also a prime location for people-watching. Many of Tokyo's elite can be found shopping and dining here.
You'll want to grab an (english language) map upon entering this large park that stretches across Shinjuku and Shibuya. There is a lot of ground to cover here.
The park is split into gardens of three distinct styles: French formal, English landscape and Japanese traditional. Not surprising the Japanese section is the most interesting and beautiful with waterlily ponds, artfully trimmed bushes and statues. The nearby Taiwan pavilion is an elegant spot for photos.
The original gardens date back to 1906, but were destroyed and rebuilt after the war. The diverse and well manicured gardens are great for wandering, taking photos or having an afternoon picnic. The garden has over 1500 cherry trees trees that burst into vivid blooms in late March or early April. It's a favorite spot for blossom viewing and can be very crowded during those times.
With Mount Fuji as its dramatic backdrop and the stunning Lake Ashi below, Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park is magnificent from all angles. A popular detour for travelers visiting Tokyo, the park has ample opportunities for trekking and boat cruises.
Fans of Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli, which produced the filmsSpirited Away,Princess Mononoke, andHowl’s Moving Castle, can see the filmmaker’s animated fantasylands brought to life and uncover the secrets behind the movies at the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo.
Located in the lively Shinjuku district, Tokyo’s Memory Lane (Omoide Yochoko in Japanese) is packed with one-room eateries selling yakitori, ramen, and other Japanese dishes. A visit here is an atmospheric—and delicious—way to experience authentic Tokyo.
More Things to Do in Tokyo
Flowing from Arakawa River and running for eight miles (27 kilometers) through the capital before emptying out into Tokyo Bay, the Sumida River (Sumida Gawa) is Tokyo’s lifeblood. Passing under 26 bridges and feeding a network of scenic canals and waterways, Sumida River offers magnificent views of Tokyo.
Take a stroll down Kappabashi Street in downtown Tokyo and you’ll quickly understand why the area has been nicknamed Kitchen Town. In a city with more Michelin stars than Paris and London combined, chefs come to this place to shop for everything from sashimi knives and kitchen equipment to fake sample food. Stretching over half a mile, it’s Japan’s largest shopping street devoted solely to the culinary arts.
While the typical visitor likely isn’t in the market for kitchenware, the street is still worth a visit for its cultural significance, as well as for the opportunity to pick up some rather unique souvenirs, like plastic sushi or rice crackers shaped like super heroes.
The Fuji Five Lakes (Fujigoko) are a group of lakes situated at the northern base of the majestic Mount Fuji, around 100 kilometers west of Tokyo. These lakes are Lake Motosu, Lake Shoji, Lake Sai, Lake Kawaguchi, and Lake Yamanaka. Along with its incredible scenery, the area offers ample opportunities for hiking, camping, and fishing. It also features hot springs, museums, and even one of Japan's largest and most popular amusement parks, Fuji-Q Highland.
Lake Kawaguchi is easily accessed and offers a wealth of things for visitors to see and do. It’s also a great starting point for climbing Mount Fuji for those inclined to do so, and also popular with Tokyo locals escaping the heat and pace of the city, particularly during the summer. The largest lake is Yamanaka, while perhaps the most picturesque is the horseshoe-shaped Shōji. Elsewhere, Sai and Motosu are great spots to set up camp and enjoy water-based activities such as boating and fishing.
The Tokyo National Museum, Japan’s oldest and largest museum, houses the largest collection of Japanese art and artifacts anywhere on earth. The collection encompasses more than 100,000 objects with exhibit space for only a fraction of that number, so visitors will almost certainly see new things on each visit.
The museum’s five buildings each contain a separate themed gallery. If you only have time to visit one, make it the Japanese Gallery (Honkan) where you’ll find a collection representing Japanese art history from the Jomon period through the Edo period with pieces dating back to 450 BC.
The Asian Gallery (Toyokan) covers art and artifacts from the rest of Asia, while the Horyuji Treasures (Horyuji Homotsukan) collection features Buddhist artifacts from the Horyuji Temple in Nara Prefecture. The Heiseikan Gallery covers Japanese archeological history and houses many of the museums special exhibits, and the Hyokeikan Gallery highlights works from Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
The Hakone Open-Air Museum is a 200-acre park dotted with fascinating sculptures. When it opened in 1969, it was Japan’s first open-air museum; now its collection includes more than 1,000 sculptures, with about 120 on permanent display. Artists whose sculptures are exhibited include Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, and Constantin Brâncuși.
Located beside Tokyo Tower, Zojo-ji Temple is the main temple of the Jodo sect of Japanese Buddhism in the region. Founded in 1393 and relocated to its current site in 1598, Zojo-ji served as the primary temple of the Tokugawa family and as a training and meditation facility for Jodo monks. The temple as it exists today was built in 1974.
Visitors to Zojo-ji are greeted by Sangedatsumon (Main Gate), a majestic wooden gate towering 69 feet (21 meters) above the ground. Built in 1622, the gate is one of the temple’s few remaining structures from the Edo Period. Another of the temple’s notable relics is Daibonshi (Big Bell), a giant bell made in 1673 that measures nearly 6 feet (1.8 meters) in diameter and weighs 15 tons. Also of note are the collection of bodhisattva Jizo statues and a Himalayan cedar tree planted by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1879.
Sumo is Japan’s most popular sport, and there’s nothing quite like joining 10,000 sumo fans for a match to learn about this ancient form of wrestling. The best place to experience sumo is at the Kokugikan Sumo Stadium (Ryōgoku Kokugikan), Tokyo’s largest indoor arena, where three of the six official national tournaments are hosted each year. Discover sumo’s place in Japanese culture at the attached Sumo Museum (Nihon Sumo Kyokai).
Ameyoko can be translated as “candy store alley,” but you’ll find much more than candy at this business hub these days. This is the place to go for fresh and dried seafood as well as clothes, accessories, and cosmetics. One of Tokyo’s most popular and vibrant shopping streets, Ameyoko is also great for bargain hunting.
In Shinjuku's Kabukicho district (entertainment and red light district), the surreal Robot Restaurant may be unlike anything you've ever seen. Its sci-fi Japanese cabaret show starring giant robots is loud and proud, both visually and audibly—taiko drums and techno music accompany flashing lights, multiple mirrors, and huge video screens. A sensorial extravaganza, the restaurant is no quiet night out.
Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine (Yasukuni Jinja) was built in 1869 to commemorate Japan’s war dead, and nearly 2.5 million people are currently enshrined there. Among those whose names are listed on the shrine are soldiers, students, relief workers, wartime medics, and, controversially, 14 class-A war criminals, including Hideki Tojo, army general and Japanese prime minister during World War II.
In the Shinjuku district of the Japanese capital, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building—more commonly known as Tocho—is one of the most distinctive buildings on the Tokyo skyline. It’s made up of three structures, each of which take up an entire city block
Engaku-ji, one of the most important Zen Buddhist temples in Japan, is considered by some to be an almost-perfect example of Chinese-inspired Zen architecture. It was founded in 1282 by a Chinese monk and is now classified as a Japanese National Treasure. Located in Kamakura, it’s a convenient place to visit on a day trip from Tokyo.
Located on the former site of the Ministry of Defense in Roppongi, Tokyo Midtown opened in 2007 as a multi-use entertainment district complete with apartments, office space, restaurants, shops, museums and park space. Tokyo Midtown comprises six different towers. The luxurious Ritz Carlton Tokyo occupies the top floors of Midtown Tower, while the Galleria building houses a four-floor shopping complex and the Suntory Museum of Art. The complex is also notably home to 21_21 Design Sight, a design gallery and workshop space created by architect Tadao Ando and designer Issey Miyake.
Tokyo Midtown also features two green spaces. Hinokicho Park, a former Edo-era private garden, is now a Japanese-style garden open to the public. Neighboring Midtown Garden is a popular picnicking spot, especially in late March and early April when its cherry blossoms are in bloom.
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