There is a good chance that your trip to Japan will start and end in Tokyo. Whether this is your first time or you are an experienced traveler, deciding what to do and see in Tokyo depends on how much time you have. The speed of the city can put you off, while the quieter attractions range from temples and museums, to gardens, origami yards, and bohemian stays.
History and notoriety of the city
Tokyo is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Japan. Formerly known as Edo, it was a small fishing village that became the center of Tokugawa Ieyasu's government in the 16th century. In 1868 it became the official capital of Japan and was renamed Tokyo. Since then it has been rebuilt after being struck by disasters as well as devastated by war. In 1964, the Summer Olympics were held there. It is one of the largest and most important cities in the world. At the end of the 1970s, the population of the metropolitan area reached eleven million, and today, nearly forty million people live there.
Once the world's most famous fish market, Tsukiji is still almost a Tokyo pilgrimage site for sushi lovers and the curious. Although the morning tuna auctions have moved to Toyosu Market, it is still a sensational place to stroll in the early morning hours. However, you can come anytime just to walk around the neighborhood and it’s never too early to eat sushi at one of the amazing restaurants there. So this is a good place to start your day in Tokyo.
Tokyo Imperial Palace District
This commercial district is very popular with many great stores as well as charming cafes, perfect for contemplation. At Tokyo Station, you can enjoy the old 20th-century building it is in and buy Tokyo Station candy as a souvenir of your stay. It is then quite easy to walk to the Tokyo Imperial Palace, an architectural marvel. Built on the site of the old Edo Castle, the current palace was built in the 1960s and is the residence of the Japanese royal family. The palace and gardens are surrounded by a moat which, together with the bridges crossing the moat, creates a pleasant place to walk and take photos.
Akihabara or Electric Town
From the Imperial Palace, you can take a leisurely stroll to Tokyo Station and take a Yamanote train for two stops to a place that is a little north of Tokyo Station and makes a stunning contrast to the Tokyo Imperial Palace. Where the palace and surrounding grounds recall the history and traditions of Japanese culture, Akihabara is made up of the shining lights of the future. Also known as Electric Town, this is the place to go for all things anime or manga.
Akihabara's junk street
Then again, you'll find a stark contrast between the electric city you just left and the more traditional but bustling Asakusa district. There is a lot to explore in this fascinating neighborhood, including Sensoji Temple. There is also the Nakamise shopping street which leads from the Kaminarimon entrance gate to the temple. This street, and the surrounding streets, are often filled with people wearing traditional kimonos, while on the main roads it is possible to take a rickshaw ride pulled by people wearing old-fashioned clothing. A local dish to try is Kaminari-okoshi, while in front of Asakusa, across the river, you can see the amazingly tall Tokyo Sky Tree and the unusually shaped golden flame. at the top of the Asahi beer hall. Asakusa is also a good choice for lunch with many restaurants, or just to have a drink and rest.
The crossing of Shibuya
From Asakusa, you can hop on Tokyo's Ginza subway line and find yourself 30 minutes later in one of Tokyo's most iconic places. It's not often that a level crossing becomes famous, because after all, it's just a method of getting from one side of the road to the other. But after being featured in films such as Lost in Translation and The Fast and the Furious (Tokyo Drift), the Shibuya crossing has entered international consciousness. The Shibuya junction has become, in a way, representative of Japan, and for many tourists, a visit to Tokyo is not complete without crossing this road. Also, people who know the story of Hachiko, the dog who came to Shibuya Station every day faithfully awaiting his deceased master, will not want to miss the Hachiko statue outside the station.
Meiji Jingu Shrine
At one stop in Shibuya on the Yamanote Line, you will find Meiji Jingu Shrine. This shrine is located next to Yoyogi Park and is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken who passed away at the beginning of the 20th century. The wooded area of the sanctuary and the park itself includes tens of thousands of trees, and whatever the time of year it is a very pleasant place to walk. However, it is especially popular during the cherry blossom season in the spring. The shrine itself is very famous, and millions of people visit it at the start of each new year. In addition, there is the Meiji Jingu Treasure House which exhibits many artefacts related to the Meiji Emperor.
Thus, from streets to markets, passing by iconic statutes and temples, Tokyo is a city at the crossroads of traditions and technological progress.