Tokyo sights, Japan
In the center of Tokyo, surrounded by canals, moats and ancient walls, the palace of the Emperor of Japan hides in the dense greenery of trees. The entire palace complex stretches over an area of almost 7.5 square kilometers. Access to it is restricted, but since 1968 its Eastern Park has been open to the public on certain days.
Ginza District in Tokyo
The name of one of Tokyo’s brightest noisy and fun districts is on the lips of many travelers – of course, it’s Ginza. Ginza means “coin” in Japanese. And if you’ve been there, you understand why it’s called Ginza.
One of the most popular and lively districts of Tokyo is Shinjuku. Once a small neighborhood near the post office, today Shinjuku is peppered with black suits of disciplined office workers by day and billions of lights that make holidaymakers’ eyes glaze over.
Kabuki-za, located in the “heart” of Ginza, is Tokyo’s premier theater. This is not just one of the most unusual temples of Melpomene in the world, for the Japanese it is a subject of national pride and unrestrained adoration. It’s hard to say whether it’s the lavish costumes or the insane makeup that so appeals to an extremely intelligent nation.
Tokyo Skytree Tower
It is no coincidence that the Tokyo Skytree is 634 meters tall: the Japanese wanted to emphasize the symbolism of this structure. Figures 6-3-4 in old Japanese sound like “mu”-“sa”-“si” – in the 18th century that was the name of the province, where nowadays Tokyo stands.
A variety of routes, many excursions and experiences!
Toyota Mega Web Exhibition Center
The main car museum in Japan, a fantastic amusement park and show room of concern Toyota in one “bottle” – all this is Toyota Mega Web, a place where all fans of really cool cars should visit.
The word Daikanranche literally translates to “big wheel,” and it really isn’t insignificant: 115 meters in diameter, with the cabins soaring another 5 meters higher at the top point. When it was commissioned in 1999, the attraction was the largest in the world.
Disneyland in Tokyo
Disneyland is listed as one of Tokyo’s main attractions, though this theme park is actually about 47 hectares in Urayasu City, Chiba Prefecture, and owes its name to Tokyo Bay, not the Japanese capital.
It’s said that long ago, the sea at the Izu Peninsula became too warm, all the livestock went into the ocean, and fishermen died of starvation. But a wandering monk, Mangan, prayed to the sea god Susanoo, who brought the hot geyser to shore.
The Ghibli Anime Studio Museum in Tokyo
The museum of Ghibli (Japanese pronounce it “Jiburi”), one of the largest animation studios that was founded in 1985 by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki, is probably the best thing anime fans can find in Tokyo. Big eyes, kawaii faces, and yummy characters are all represented here in abundance.
Little Prince Museum
It is no accident that the Japanese seem like an amazing nation. Who else would have thought to create a real corner of Provence in a small resort town, famous for its hot springs? Hakone did just that.
Tokyo Subway Museum
It is not uncommon for those who find themselves in Japan’s capital for the first time to ask which museum to visit in order to get a full sense of the city’s rhythm and get a comprehensive insight into local manners and customs.
Once you enter this museum, it feels like the future has already arrived. The Miraikan National Museum of Science and Innovation Development is almost like an exhibition of national economic achievements in the USSR, but 100,500 times cooler. This is the main showcase for the futuristic achievements of the talented Japanese people.
Samurai Museum in Tokyo
A visit to this small museum is not always part of the tour program in Tokyo, but it is definitely worth coming here to understand a little bit of the mysterious Japanese soul. Samurai are not just warriors, they are men of honor.
Museum Shitamati in the understanding of our compatriots is the most oriental, the most colorful, the most Japanese. It is the very country of the rising sun that we long to see, which, alas, in the capital of Japan is almost nonexistent.
The National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo
Paris has the Louvre, St. Petersburg has the Hermitage, and Tokyo has the National Museum of Western Art. He is the only one in the whole of Japan, where the world-class masterpieces are kept. The basis for the museum was the private collection of Japanese businessman Matsukata Kojiro.
National Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo
The entire exhibition of the Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art (MOMAT) is located in two buildings. The main one is a four-story, 4,500-square-meter building constructed in the Art Nouveau style and opened in 1969, displaying art works by Japanese authors.
The National Noh Theater
It is impossible to imagine today’s Japan without sushi, plaid skirts of schoolgirls, anime and noh theater. Scary, good-natured, evil and funny masks are the main treasures of the amazing temple of Melpomene noh, and the chorus, drums and flute accompanying them complete the already crazy effect.
New Tokyo National Theater
The New National Theatre Tokyo (which everyone tends to call amusingly and simply NNTT from the acronym NNTT – New National Theatre Tokyo) is the country’s premier temple of the Melpomene and the nation’s leading center for the performing arts.
Some call Odaiba Island “trash” and some call it “the island of the future”. From the outside it impresses with an abundance of futuristic objects, and its surroundings are perfectly clean and orderly. But history is inexorable and tells us that just a few years ago there was a huge landfill here.
The description of Tokyo often includes the adjective “the most”: the most populous city on the planet, for many years the most expensive city in the world, Tokyo has the most crowded subway, and the city ranks first among the largest global agglomerations by GDP. But all of this will not deter the inquisitive traveler – Tokyo is in fact not as huge as it seems, and a well-developed public transportation system allows you to get around the city without any problems. In a week or even two it will be difficult to cover all the most interesting things in Tokyo, but it is still worth trying.
On the first day, a sightseeing bus tour (in English) can be a good help in getting to know the city. With a glimpse of the main tourist sites at a glance, it will be easier to choose what you want to see in detail on the following days. All interesting areas of Tokyo can be reached by circular and radial JR (electric train) lines. It is noteworthy that the city center in the usual sense does not exist in Tokyo – the city consists of 23 self-governing districts.
Gardens and Parks
A unique legacy of Japanese culture are stunning gardens and parks, many of which were part of temple complexes. Without them it is impossible to imagine modern Tokyo. The most popular are Ueno-koen, Kitanomaru-koen (North Gate Park of the Imperial Palace), Yoyogi-koen (admission is free). One of the best parks in Tokyo is Shinjuku-gyoen, which was once reserved for the Emperor (entrance fee 200 JPY). April is the traditional month for the Cherry Festival in city parks. Tokyo’s gardens are mostly hand-crafted spaces with carefully selected vegetation and elaborate landscaping.
Tokyo has a huge number of Shinto (pagan) and Buddhist temples. The former are marked on maps with an arch and the latter with a stele on a pedestal or swastika. Not far from the Imperial Palace is the Shinto temple Yasukuni-jinja built in 1869 (station Ichigaya of the JR Chuo Line). After World War II, the temple was dedicated to compatriots who died in the war. The Yushukan Museum, opened at the temple, details the events of those years. One of the most monumental temples in the city is the Buddhist Zojo-ji, built at the end of the 14th century (Toei Oedo Line, Akabanebashi Station). Temple Senso-ji is a remarkable 53-meter pagoda with five floors, the second highest pagoda in the whole of Japan.
An excellent interactive map of Tokyo with hotels, subway stations, stores, restaurants, parks, museums, and other sights of interest to tourists is available in Russian on the page Live Tokyo Map.
Traditional Japanese culture
The sights of Tokyo are not limited to architectural marvels and historical sites. On a trip around the capital you can enjoy an immersion in traditional Japanese culture: attend a tea ceremony or sumo training, have dinner to the music of geisha, take a couple of lessons in wielding a samurai sword, relax at a session of shiatsu massage or walk around the city in a rented kimono. One of the gastronomic delights of this kind is the Kaiseki dinner. The ceremony consists of tasting several dishes in small portions from unique ceramic dishes, the feeling of focusing on the taste experience is enhanced by being in a separate room, with windows ideally overlooking a secluded garden.
Besides traditional Japanese sushi in Tokyo, it is worth trying the expensive delicacies of whale sushi and o-toro sushi, sushi made of the fattest parts of tuna, which melts in the mouth. A tiny piece costs 600-700 JPY, and the whole fish is sold for no less than 20,000 USD at the famous tuna auction. The auction is held from 5 to 6 a.m. at the Tsukiji market and attracts hundreds of tourists. This world’s largest fish market is closed on Sundays, national holidays and the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month.
You can get in touch with the hedonistic side of life of the average Japanese if you go to enjoy being at the onsen. These are peculiar public baths, where the main procedure is immersion into a very hot bath with mineral (or regular tap water). Many onsens offer a wide range of spa pleasures in addition to indoor and outdoor baths: massages, sand baths, exfoliation, foot care with Garra Rufa fish that feed on dead skin cells, beauty treatments, and of course food and drinks.
Perhaps the most unconventional attraction in Tokyo is a visit to the Ikebukuro Bosai-Kan, an earthquake awareness center. In addition to lectures and videos, the short course includes a simulation of a 7-point earthquake, making for an unforgettable experience. Classes are free of charge and are located at 2-37-8 Nishi-Ikebukuro, station Ikebukuro on the JR Yamanote line.
If you have very little time left to see modern Tokyo, it is worth taking a stroll along Omote Sando Boulevard, which has been shaped over the last decade, and climbing one of the city’s observation decks to get a bird’s eye view of Tokyo. The best view of the city at sunset from the heliport of Roppongi Hills complex (entrance is 1800 JPY, but you can buy a ticket in advance at Seven-Eleven or Family Mart mini-stores for 1500 JPY). The observation deck at one of the towers at the end of the Tokyo Tocho (Tokyo Prefectural Government) is free, and in December and January you can even see Volcano Fujiyama from there.