JAPAN: 10 DAYS IN TOKYO
by Damian Celiberti
Saturday, April 23, 2016
JAPAN: 10 DAYS IN TOKYO
Undoubtedly Tokyo should be on every traveller plans. In this city you will find from the latest technology to some of the most important temples in Japan.
If you don’t have too many days to spend in this metropolis you can try to visit two or three neighbourhoods on the same day taking advantage of the subway and train systems that connect every inch of the city quickly and efficiently. If you ever used these means of transport in other cities, then you will have no problems in Tokyo because all the signs are in Japanese and English. Moreover, you will find that Japanese people are very friendly. They love tending a helping hand to the tourist in need.
These are the 10 districts that can’t be missed when in Tokyo:
Ginza is one of the most luxurious neighbourhoods of the city. Similar to New York’s Fifth Avenue, here you will find the most exclusive brands in the world competing against each other for having the most spectacular store. If you are a techy you can visit the Sony Building or the Apple Store. But if you prefer something more traditional you can visit the Kabuki-Za theatre which offers daily performances and shows which last around 3 to 5 hours. One thing to consider is that on Sundays the main street becomes a pedestrian street so you can relax while shopping in this area suddenly devoted of Tokyo’s heavy weekly traffic.
Near Ginza you can also visit the famous Tsukiji Market, one of the largest fish markets in the world. Tokyo Station along with Shinjuku Stations are two of the most important train stations which can be visited and used to travel. Finally, you don’t want to miss visiting the impressive Imperial Palace, the current residence Akihito, Emperor of Japan.
Shinjuku is one of the busiest areas of Tokyo 24/7. About 3 million people use Shinjuku Station daily since it connects the city to the country main destinations. Here you will find shopping malls, electronic stores, restaurants and bars.
It is also home of the tallest skyscrapers in the city. If you want to have the best views, you can visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observation Deck, 360° views for free! And if you want something more glamorous, you can order some drinks at the New York Bar at the famous Park Hyatt Tokyo, the place where Lost in Translation was filmed.
Walk around Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a spectacular botanical garden of 58 hectares. Home to more than 800 species of plants this is the ideal place to enjoy an outdoor relaxing walk in the park.
By nightfall thousands of neon signs light up and thus, the “Sleepless Town” of Kabukichō’s entertainment and red-light district wakes up. Here you will find many bars, restaurants and karaoke, as well as the most extravagant Love Hotels. If you want to be part of one of the most bizarre shows of the city, book a table for the Robot Restaurant show.
Harajuku is the fashion district par excellence. On Omotesandō Avenue you will find the most prestigious boutiques in the world like Dior, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, among others. If your budget is limited or if you prefer more extravagant clothes you can walk along Takeshita Dori, where Cosplay fans are there every weekend.
Just a short walk from there, you can also enjoy the Yoyogi Park where you have to visit one of the most important shrines in Tokyo, the Meiji Shrine. And if you are lucky enough to be visiting the park on a Sunday noon, you can watch the Tokyoites Rockabilly dance performance.
Here you can be protagonists of one of the most famous crosswalks in the world, the Shibuya Crossing. If you want to have a good view to watch this global phenomenon you can have a coffee at the Starbucks on the corner, or see it from the first floor of the train station.
You can also take the famous photo with the statue of Hachiko, visit the exclusive shopping centre for women the famous Shibuya 109. Here you can also walk across Love Hotel’s hill.
A must in your itinerary has to be the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo, the Sensoji Temple. You enter the Sensoji Temple by the Kaminarimon door and then walk along the commercial street Nakamise Dori until you reach the main room where you can pray and leave a donation.
From the Sumida River you can take cruises departing for Odaiba or the Hama Rikyu Gardens. And crossing the Azuma Bridge you can visit the buildings of the Asahi brewery and get to the famous Tokyo Skytree.
In this Northern district of Tokyo you will enjoy of lakes and temples in Ueno Park, as well as of some of the most important museums in town like the Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum of Western Art and, the National Museum of Nature and Science .
To end the day, you can walk to Ameyoko, a commercial street that extends from Ueno Station to Okachimachi station. Here you can find all kinds of shops, bars and restaurants.
Akihabara is the district for electronics and technology where you can find what you need in terms of photography, video, music, videogames. It is also the ideal place if you are an otaku (manga culture lover): comics, cosplay costumes, dolls, cards. For fans of Gachapon here you can find thousands of machines spread throughout the neighbourhood.
Otakus will enjoy a visit to the world famous Maid Café where girls dressed as anime/manga maids will attend you as a king.
Roppongi is the right place to get lost in any of the many building complexes which house hundreds of restaurants, luxury shops, offices, hotels and residences, Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown. Inside of Roppongi Hills don’t forget to visit one of the best museums of contemporary art in the world, the Mori Art Museum.
Finally, you can visit the Tokyo Tower and take an elevator to sightsee one of the biggest metropolis in the world from 250 meters high view.
Odaiba is an artificial island in Tokyo Bay which is accessible by boat, cruise or through the famous Rainbow Bridge. It was originally built to defend the city from invaders attacks, but today, Odaiba is a very popular attraction for both tourists and locals.
You can find huge shopping centres like Aqua City, DiverCity and Venus Fort. Enjoy an artificial beach, take a picture with a replica of the Statue of Liberty and the Giant Gundam, visit the Miraikan or the Maritime Science Museum or, the building of the Fuji TV Television Network. And finally nothing better than a relaxing time in the Oedo-Onsen-Monogatari communal baths.
If you are on holiday with children or, you are simply a fan of Mickey Mouse and his friends, you should definitely visit the two Disney theme parks located in Tokyo.
Opened in 1983, Tokyo Disneyland was the first Disney Park built outside of the United States, and for many years one of the most visited in the world. In this park, you can find similar attractions that those in Orlando or California: World Bazaar, Fantasyland, Toontown, Critter Country, Adventureland, Tomorrowland and Westernland.
In 2001, Tokyo DisneySea opened its doors, whose main theme is based on the nautical exploration. This is one of the most original parks that you can visit, including the exclusive areas of The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Jules Verne and even a full Mediterranean port with Venetian gondolas and sailboats.