City Guide: Tokyo
It’s been some time that I’ve been to Tokyo. Yet, I thought it would be helpful to write down what is worth seeing in the city. Especially as Tokyo is incredibly big, there are tons of interesting areas. I’ll try to be as brief as possible and give you a good overview of what you should see!
I was lucky enough to visit Tokyo when Cherry Blossom was happening. Thus, the city was incredibly beautiful. At the same time, the weather was horrible throughout, meaning that the pictures are not as beautiful as they could be.
In this city review, I’ll try to give you an idea of the areas worth seeing, but won’t focus too much on the sights themselves as you’ll easily find those when you are in the right areas.
Tokyo Asakusa or the Old Tokyo
Most recommened is a visit of Toyko Asakusa, which is supposed to be “Old Tokyo”. Well, I’d say that Asakusa doesn’t exactly feel old.
Nevertheless, the Asakusa Shrine, the Hozomon Gate and the area around is beautiful. If you are interested in religion and culture, that’s definitely the place to be in Tokyo.
In addition, the Samuda River is just a stonethrow away, which means that you can get some fresh air. You may also snap a picture of the Asashi Beer Tower and the “weird” art work in front of it.
If you decide to cross the river, you can also enjoy the Sumida Park, which is quite nice and comes with the Shinto Shrine, which isn’t as impressive as the Asakusa Shrine, but still worth seeing.
Tokyo Ueno or the Museum Quarter
If you are well on foot, you may walk from Tokyo Asakusa to Tokyo Ueno. This area is especially nice during Cherry Blossom as the Shinobazu Pond is even more beautiful than usual.
Walking around the little lake is very relaxing in busy Tokyo. If you are into culture, you will also enjoy the many museums including the famous Museum of Western Art and the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum.
There’s also a little Zoo called Ueno Zoo. If you are into museums and like parks, you can easily spend a whole day in Tokyo Ueno.
There are a couple of malls, if you’d like to combine culture with some shopping.
Tokyo Chiyoda or the Royal Quarter
Tokyo Chiyoda might be the most interesting area for those spending just one day in Tokyo. In Chiyoda, you can find the Imperial Palace, which might be the highlight of Tokyo.
Before visiting, I’d recommend checking out the East Gardens, which come with the architectural interesting Music Hall and the Tamaru Castle Ruin.
The Imperial Castle as such didn’t amaze me too much. It’s stunning from the outside, especially in a city like Tokyo and the parks around are beautiful, but inside there are a just couple of buildings you are allowed to see (you may only take pictures of a few).
The Imperial Household Agency Building is one of the most interesting ones. If you are in Tokyo Chiyoda, you may also make a little detour to see the government buildings including the Parliament and the High Court in the South-West of the Imperial Palace.
Alternatively, you could walk to the historic Tokyo Station to the East of the Imperial Palace.
Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Ginza
The highest building in Tokyo, the Tokyo Tower is known as one of the highlights of the city. You may also go up to enjoy an incredible view of Tokyo, but I decided to pass on this and instead enjoy the nice Shiba Park nearby.
From this area, you may either walk or take a train to Tokyo Ginza, which is a mere two kilometers away. Ginza is known to be the shopping paradise of Tokyo. After having seeing Ginza myself, I’d say it’s the shopping paradise for the rich elite in Tokyo.
There are tons of luxury shops and such, but if you are not into shopping, I’d say that the area is not too special.
Tokyo Shibuya and Tokyo Shinjuku
Often forgotten when it comes to sightseeing in Tokyo are Shibuya and Shinjuku.
Shibuya is a developing area with lots of malls and great shopping opportunities (for those with a normal budget), but what’s especially interesting is walking North in the direction of Shinjuku.
After spotting the incredibly stylish Yoyogi National Gymnasium, you’ll find yourself in the Yoyogi Park, which is one of the most beautiful parks in the city.
The Meiji Shrine to the North of the park is quite beautiful as well.
If you continue walking North, you’ll already see the impressive skyscrapers of Tokyo Shinjuku including the Government Building, which is just incredible tall and big.
However, Shinjuku is not only beautiful from the distance, but also because of its colorful streetlife.
For those of you who are into culture, there’s also the lovely Hanazone Shrine.
This shrine looks quite different then most other shrines in the city, what makes it especially interesting.
Tokyo Odaiba or the artificial island
There’s something charming about Tokyo Odaiba, which is connected to the city by the impressive Rainbow Bridge and a monorail. It’s not that the island is actually manmade and didn’t exist a few years ago, but that there’s so much green.
Most parts of the area surrounded by a park, making it an amazing spot to go running. That aside, Tokyo Odaiba has several malls, the popular Aqua City, a lovely park with some sights like a huge flame and a few architectural impressive buildings.
I wouldn’t say that Odaiba is a “must see”, but it’s certainly a nice area to check out!
Overall impressions of Toyko
Tokyo is an incredibly amazing metropolis. There are not many cities in the world, which are so diverse as Tokyo. Even after four days in the city, I don’t really feel like I’ve seen a lot as Tokyo is just so much bigger than you might believe. My favorite areas in the city are definitely Ueno, Shibuya and Shinjuku. Personally, I can’t wait to return and explore of Tokyo!
What are your thoughts about Tokyo? What do you like about the city and which quaters are your personal favorites?