Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, is a vibrant and bustling metropolis that offers a blend of traditional and modern attractions. Tokyo is vast: it’s best thought of not as a single city, but a constellation of cities that have grown together.
Top Attractions. Tokyo Tower (map) stands as a prominent landmark, featuring observation decks that provide sweeping panoramic views of the city. Meiji Shrine (map), located in a serene forested area, is a tranquil Shinto shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Senso-ji Temple (map), situated in Asakusa, is Tokyo’s oldest and most renowned Buddhist temple, known for its lively shopping street.
Imperial Palace (map) serves as the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan, surrounded by exquisite gardens and historic structures. Shibuya Crossing (map), a famous intersection in the *Shibuya district (map), is internationally recognized as one of the busiest pedestrian crossings worldwide.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden offers a serene escape with its breathtaking gardens, walking paths, and a charming greenhouse. Odaiba (map), an artificial island, boasts futuristic architecture, shopping malls, museums, and picturesque views of Tokyo Bay.
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If you don’t like what you see, hop on the train and head to the next station, and you will find something entirely different.
Serious collectors should head for the Antique Mall in Ginza (map) or the Antique Market in Omotesando (map), which despite the rustic names are collections of small very specialist shops (samurai armor, ukiyo-e prints, etc.) with head-spinning prices. Mere mortals can venture over to Nishi-Ogikubo (map), where you can pick up scrolls of calligraphy and such for a few thousand yen.
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The Antique Festival (全国古民具骨董祭り, map) is held over the weekend about 5-6 times a year at the Tokyo Ryutsu Center.
Much of Tokyo’s budget accommodation can be found in the Taito area, especially Asakusa and Ueno. One of the cheapest ways to stay can be also a youth hostel, prices start at ¥1200, e.g. in the Shinjuku area.
Food and Dining. Explore Tsukiji Fish Market (map), one of the world’s largest seafood markets, and savor fresh sushi and sashimi. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony or enjoy matcha-flavored treats. Visit depachika, the basement food floors in department stores, for an incredible selection of gourmet food and sweets.