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Tokyo Park Experience !

1. The Imperial Palace

Located in the heart of Tokyo, The Imperial Palace is a popular sightseeing spot that retains the appearance of the former Edo Castle. The East Gardens is a beautiful and traditional Japanese garden, opened to the public in 1968. Covering approximately 52 acres, the garden is home to a broad variety of trees and flowers which can be enjoyed throughout all the four seasons.
It is accessible from any of the three historic gates, the Ote-mon Gate, the Hirakawa-mon Gate, or the Kita-hanebashi-mon Gate.

Kitanomaru Garden area
– Feel the Contrast Between History and Present Day While Jogging

Expansive and filled with greenery, the Kitanomaru Garden area is indeed a place for relaxation and refreshment, despite being located in the middle of Tokyo.
The Tayasu-mon Gate and Shimizu-mon Gate, both designated as Important Cultural Properties, and many other buildings steeped in history still remain. The footpaths are nicely paved and are illuminated at night. It is a highly popular location for jogging while enjoying the beautiful architecture and gardens of Japan.

The Imperial Palace Kitanomaru Garden area
A course:About 3km A course:About 5km A course:About 6km

2. The Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens

This garden was landscaped in a lot containing the remains of the residence of the Mito Tokugawa family in the Edo Period (the 1600's).
It is designated as a National Special Historical Site and Site of Special Scenic Beauty, in accordance with provisions of the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties.
The garden features beautiful scenery that can be enjoyed throughout the four seasons, with plum trees, weeping cherry trees, irises, and colorful autumn leaves.

The Koishikawa Kourakuen Gardens

Electronic products shopping and pop culture Experience !

3. Akihabara

Famous for having many appliance stores and anime shops, Akihabara is a favorite destination for many foreign visitors who often come to buy “made in Japan” electronic products reputed for being highly convenient and highly functional.
Others visit Akihabara to enjoy the “pop culture” of Japan, or go to anime shops to buy manga comics, or even to “maid cafés” to enjoy a unique atmosphere.
Whatever your reason for visiting, Akihabara would be a fascinating place to see the eccentric side of Japanese culture.

Take a look at the amazing art of Japan

Akihabara has been used as a backdrop for some of the famous stories in comics and anime programs.
The areas are also well-known for having many anime shops selling comics books, anime merchandise, CDs, games and many other products which are related to the anime culture. You could purchase one of the comics to look through the beautiful illustrations or try watching some of the anime DVDs. Or, you can simply wander around the shop which would be fascinating enough even if you cannot read or speak Japanese.

Try the capsule toy vending machine

Try a “capsule toy” vending machines at one of the countless shops that line them up in front.
Capsule toys are toys placed inside a plastic capsule, and they are so elaborate you cannot imagine how they were made. Miniature characters with tiny eyes, ears, mouths and noses are made by skilled craftsmen. Some of these toys are not necessarily related to any manga comic or anime. You may want to try twisting one of the handles of a vending machine and take home something unusual to decorate your shelves.

Think you’ve seen them somewhere?

There are people who dress up just like one of the characters from a particular anime program or a manga comic, but they are not celebrating Halloween at all. They are called “cosplayers” in Japan. They enjoy dressing up and challenging how close they can make themselves look to the actual characters. There are ready-made costumes sold in anime shops, but many of these cosplayers actually sew and make their own costumes! Visit an anime shop and you may find a staff member dressed as some kind of character.

Akihabara

Asakusa – The Best Sightseeing Spot in Tokyo Where You Can Really “See” the Edo Period

4. Asakusa

Asakusa is a popular spot visited by many foreigners, and of course, Japanese as well, because you can see and “feel” the traditional townscape of old Japan. From the vendors lining the Nakamise Avenue, you can buy souvenirs, as well as ningyo yaki sponge doll cake, dango skewered rice dumplings, and other types of finger food which can be eaten while walking. Here you can enjoy the real Japanese atmosphere to your heart’s content. In addition, there are many establishments offering tempura, okonomiyaki savory pancake, monjayaki pan fried batter, sukiyaki and many other kinds of traditional Japanese food. You will really want to walk into some of the shops and restaurants which have been around for over a century.

Asakusa

Experience the Incense Burner at Sensoji Temple !

Sensoji Temple is the oldest temple in Tokyo. In the precincts is a huge incense burner smoldering all the time. Is said that if you direct the smoke from it onto any part of your body giving you problems, the smoke will heal it. Perhaps if you fan the smoke onto your head, you just might become wiser…

Asakusa

Experience the Rick Shaw Tour !

If you want to savor the atmosphere of old Tokyo very nostalgic to most Japanese, a ride in a rick shaw is highly recommended. You can take the experience to a higher level by renting and donning a period costume. It will really make you feel like you have travelled back in time to enjoy the Edo Period.

Asakusa Asakusa

Experience the World Famous Shopping Area, Ginza !

5. Ginza

Within walking distance of Tsukiji, Ginza started developing in the Meiji Period as a shopping district with high-class shops and is now one of Japan’s most representative shopping areas.
Even today, the streets are lined with many old establishments of long standing, including restaurants, coffee shops, Japanese confectionary shops, and stationary stores. One of the attractions that Ginza features is that it is not unusual to find stores and restaurants established over 100 years ago. Furthermore, another feature is that it doesn’t just boasts shops with a long history. There are many modern department stores and other places offering high-class brands and other sophisticated merchandise.
And if you want to experience the epitome of traditional Japanese performing arts, the Kabuki, in East Ginza there is the Kabukiza Theatre.

Experience a Japanese Department Store !

In addition to the Wako department store, established in 1932, a well known Tokyo landmark, there are a number of other department stores popular among tourists from overseas, including Ginza Mitsukoshi and Matsuya Ginza. Both of them have a duty-free counter for foreign shoppers, manned by staff well versed in shipping purchases overseas and in many other areas.

Experience Shopping for Accessories and Stationary Items,
Only Available in Japan !

There are also shops which specialize in traditional handiwork such as incense and writing paper, as well as those offering easy-to-use and highly-creative stationary items. These are available not only in old shops, but can be easily purchased in many other places. And before you know it, you’ve lost track of time while enjoying your shopping.

Experience the Kabukiza Theatre !

With the brightly colored wardrobe, makeup, and sets, a Kabuki performance is like a moving ukiyo-e traditional Edo painting. The delicate, carefully choreographic movements of the actors create an exotic theatrical experience. You can better enjoy a performance steep in Japanese tradition with a subtitled English guide available for a small fee.

Ginza Ginza

Experience The Tsukiji Fish Market, the Largest in Japan !

6. Tsukiji

Opened in 1935, the largest fish market in Japan is composed of the inner market and wholesale area, and the outside market. In addition to its famous maguro tuna, there are many other varieties of marine products on sale. There are tours around the Tsukiji area available where you can observe the seri tuna auction and enjoy a sushi lunch. Also, a number of restaurants in the inner market and the outer market offer sushi and seafood rice bowl.

Tsukiji Rubbernecking Tour (* Paid tour)

① A tour where you can try your hand at actually making sushi, which you can eat afterward. ② Another tour takes you through the market area, including the auctions, to learn about the food culture of Japan, and enjoy a sushi lunch. There are several other types of tours as well.

Tsukiji Tsukiji

Shibuya, spending your day in the most miscellaneous city of Tokyo

7. Shibuya

Composed primarily of large buildings with fashion-related stores, shops, restaurants, bars and other establishments, Shibuya is the source of cultural trends. There are also adorable and unique variety stores and used clothing stores where you can lose track of time enjoying shopping. In front of Shibuya Station stands the famous Hachiko statue which acts as a landmark for people who rendezvous there.

Cross the “Scramble Crossing” without walking into anyone

Many foreigners recently visit Shibuya to see the “Scramble Crossing.” It’s quite a sight to see so many traffic lights turn green at the same time at the same intersection.
Try crossing directly across this street without being sucked in and diverted by mass of humanity around you or bumping into anyone. (It is more difficult than you may think.)

Shibuya

Harajuku, looking at latest teenage fashion and pop culture

8. Harajuku

Harajuku is a popular place for teenage Japanese girls to shop and spend time with their friends. Not only is this place famous for its fashion, but the whole sub-culture which is created by the girls who walk the streets of this peculiar town.
If you want to see the real culture in the area, “Takeshita-dori street” is the place to go. Fashion items, stationary, snacks… It is the ideal place to buy adorable souvenirs for the kids. You may also want to have some fun taking pictures with the "purikura" machines which makes your eyes look bigger, your legs longer, and your face smaller!

Living dolls walking the streets!

Ever heard of the word “Lolita”? Yes, Lolita is the name of one of the famous movie based on the novel by Vladimir Nabokov, but this is something different. “Lolita” is a kind of fashion with ribbons, lace, and frilly skirts which are popular among some girls in Japan. Many of the shops that sell these kinds of clothes are located in Harajuku, so you may find girls walking around in these doll-like dresses. Try visiting the “Laforet Harajuku” shopping center if you want to take a look at these pretty princesses.

Harajuku

Shinjuku, suitable for shopping because you can get just about everything

9. Shinjuku

Shinjuku Station is one of the largest terminals in Tokyo. It has skyscrapers housing offices, department stores, retail shops, movie theaters and many other establishments all concentrated in a well-defined area, and it is one of the country’s largest scale shopping districts. A bit different than those in Ginza, the Isetan and Takashimaya Department Stores feature new, high-end brand shops. With its huge appliance stores, a broad range of restaurants, entertainment districts, and so many other faces, it is truly a megalopolis like none other in Japan.

Experience the Metropolis from high above

A towering building in the heart of Shinjuku, the “Tocho Building” houses Tokyo’s metropolitan government office and it is free to go to the top. Enter the building, and then use the elevators to ascent to the 45th floor, find the observation decks, which are free to use, and have a look down and around.

Shinjuku Shinjuku

Kamakura, where you can enjoy time-honored Japanese atmosphere

10. Kamakura

Kamakura is about an hour away from the center of Tokyo, and is one of the most popular sightseeing spots. Why don’t you hop on the train and get off at Kamakura to experience traditional Japanese atmosphere?
Kamakura has many shrines and temples in its neighborhood, such as the Kotokuin, Tsurugaoka-Hachimangu, Engakuji, and Hokokuji. A local train called the “Enoden” runs through the area, so you can easily get around. Each shrine and temple has its own individual features that you can enjoy.
For example, the Kotokuin Shrine near Hase Station is where you can see inside a Great Buddha statue called Daibutsu. There are also other fascinating places like the Zeniaraibenzaiten where you actually wash your coins under running water. It is said that this will bring you good luck for making more money.
There are also Japanese-style cafes commonly called kanmidokoro which sell Japanese sweets, and are famous in the Kamakura area. "Anmitsu", "Oshiruko", and "Mitsumame" are typical examples of sweets to enjoy at a "kanmidokoro".

Kamakura

by courtesy of Kamakura City Tourist Association

Nikko, where you can enjoy nature and history

11. Nikko

Located in Tochigi Prefecture, Nikko is about two and a half hours from the center of Tokyo, but it is one of the most famous places to go sightseeing and is well worth visiting.
Not only foreign tourists, but many Japanese also visit Nikko. They go to the shrines and temples to learn about the history of Japan, and visit other places, such as Kegon Falls to experience the beauty of nature there.
If you think there are too many interesting places and you don’t know where to go, you should definitely visit the Nikko Toshogu Shrine. The shrine is full of beautiful wooden sculptures, including the Yomeimon Gate. The numerous animals depicted in the sculptures are thought to be symbols of peace. Among them, you will find the famous “Three Wise Monkeys” embodying the proverbial principle “See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil” taught by the Tendai Sect of Japanese Buddhism.
Even if you are not familiar with the history of each place, simply walking around the area is a very relaxing way to spend the time.

Nikko
  • * This information is a thing as of March, 2016.
  • © Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau (except Kamakura, and Nikko)