Tokyo, Japan’s capital, is a world city equal in sophistication to New York and London. Originally called Edo, the city first began expanding as the power base of the 300-year Shogunate, became the capital and grew into the giant metropolis of today. Japan’s transportation networks are centered on Tokyo, and this is the focus of the nation’s politics, economy, business, information, culture, and manufacturing. Tokyo is a constantly evolving global metropolis, with a culture that has a worldwide influence. On a clear day in Tokyo, you can even see Mt Fuji in the distance.
Now, aside from the weird faces the host pulls when eating Japanese food, I recommend watching this video “25 Things To Do in Tokyo” – it’ll give you a head start in planning your activities around the country’s capital.
Now browse the following list for other wondrous and exciting tourist attractions in the city…
Disneyland and Disneysea
Located in the Chiba Prefecture, Disneyland and Disneysea are perfect additions to any family vacation. Each park spans approximately across 115 acres, and were the first Disney parks to be opened outside of the United States.
In Disneyland, there are seven themed areas in the park: the World Bazaar, the four classic Disneylands (Adventureland, Westernland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland) and two mini lands, Critter Country and Mickey’s Toontown.
Disneysea has an overall nautical theme to it. It was built in 2001, and unlike Disneyland, the intention was to be a more adult-like park including faster, scarier rides and shows designed for an older audience. There are also seven themed areas: the entrance to the park is Mediterranean Harbor, which opens up to six more nautically themed ports: American Waterfront, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, and Mysterious Island. There are several hotels affiliated with the parks, offering packages such as a three night stay and 2-day pass. The affiliated hotels are often cheaper than Disney Resort itself. Ticket prices average on $70 pp for adults and $60 pp for children. There are no family tickets available. Discount tickets are available for groups of 25 people or more. I can honestly say, the days I spent at Disneyland and Disneysea were some of the best days of my life. The experience is amazing for families, groups of friends and couples alike. The park brings with it an air of innocence and only serves to remind you of your childhood in the best light possible.
To visit the website, search for affiliated hotels or book tickets: http://www.tokyodisneyresort.co.jp/en/
For many tourists visiting Tokyo for the first time, this is the place to shop. In the 1990’s there was an influx of famous overseas fashion brand flagship store openings. Harajuku is a district in the Shibuya ward, and is the general name of the area from Harajuku station to the Omotesando area.
Tokyo Tower, often mistaken with the Eiffel Tower in image searches, is a communications and observation tower located in Shiba Park, Minato. It was built in 1958 and is Japan’s 2nd tallest artificial structure, at 333 meters tall. Tokyo Tower’s two main revenue sources are antenna leasing and tourism. It functions as a radio and television broadcasting antenna support structure and is a tourist destination that houses several different attractions. The first area tourists must visit upon reaching the tower is FootTown, a four-story building stationed directly under the tower. Here, visitors can eat, shop and visit several museums and galleries. Elevators that depart from the first floor of FootTown can be used to reach the first of two observation decks, the two-story Main Observatory. Tokyo Tower gives a wonderful view of the city in the daylight and during night time. It’s perfect for those looking to get a great photographic shot to take home, as you can also see Mt Fuji in the distance.
Toshimaen Theme Park
Staying away from the hustle and bustle of the city? Decided to visit something a little more urban? Then you’re probably in Nerima, a town just a 40 minute drive from busy Tokyo . Toshimaen is an amusement park in Nerima. It has a variety of rides, including three roller coasters, and a water park with 25 slides and six pools. It is located near Toshimaen station on the Seibu Toshima Line.
To visit the website: http://www.toshimaen.co.jp/
The Imperial Palace
Tokyo Imperial Palace is the main residence of the Emperor of Japan. It is a large park-like area located in the Chiyoda area of Tokyo, close to Tokyo Station. The Palace is generally closed to the public, except for the Imperial Household Agency and the East Gardens. The present Imperial Palace encompasses the retrenchments of the former Edo Castle. The modern palace Kyūden (宮殿), for various imperial court functions, is located in the old Nishinomaru, while the residence of the emperor and empress is located in the Fukiage Gardens.
Temples, Castles and Shrines
Senso-ji is a Buddhist temple located in Asakusa. It is Tokyo’s oldest temple, and one of its most significant. Formerly associated with the Tendai sect, it became independent after World War II. Senso-ji is the focus of Tokyo’s largest and most popular Shinto Festival, Sanja Matsuri. This takes place over 3–4 days in late spring, and sees the surrounding streets closed to traffic from dawn until late evening.
Meiji Shrine, located in Shibuya, is the Shinto shrine that is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken. The shrine itself is composed of two different areas: The Naien is the inner precinct, which is centered on the shrine buildings and includes a treasure museum that houses articles of the Emperor and Empress. The Gaien is the outer precinct, which includes the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery that houses a collection of 80 large murals illustrative of the events in the lives of the Emperor and his consort. Meiji Shrine is located in a forest that covers an area of 700,000 square-meters.
Yasukuni Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Chiyoda. It was initially created by Emperor Meiji to commemorate any individuals who had died in service of the Empire of Japan during the Meiji Restoration.
Edo Castle, also known as Chiyoda Castle, is a flatland castle that was built in 1457 by Ōta Dōkan. It is located in Chiyoda in Tokyo, then known as Edo, Toshima District, Musashi Province. Tokugawa Ieyasu established the Tokugawa shogunate here. Admission is free to this stunning architectural masterpiece.
Parks and Gardens
Mount Mitake is a mountain in the Chichibu Tama Kai National Park near Tokyo. It stands 929 m tall. On the mountain is a Shinto shrine. From the upper station of the Mitake Cablecar it is a 20-30 minute walk to the Shrine on the mountain’s summit. On your way, you will pass a small village with many Japanese style inns and souvenir shops.
Yoyogi Park is one of the largest parks in Tokyo, Japan located adjacent to Harajuku Station and Meiji Shrine in Shibuya. The park remains a popular Tokyo destination. On Sundays, it is especially busy when it is used as a gathering place for Japanese rock music fans.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a large park with an eminent garden in Shinjuku and Shibuya. It was originally a residence of the Naito family in the Edo period. 144 acres in size, it blends three distinct styles, French Formal Garden, English Landscape Garden and Japanese Traditional Garden, and is considered to be one of the most important gardens from the Meiji era.
Mount Takao is a mountain in the city of Hachiōji, Tokyo. It is protected within Meiji no Mori Takao Quasi-National Park. Mt Takao is one of the closest natural recreation areas to central Tokyo, offering beautiful scenery, an interesting temple and attractive hiking opportunities.
Metropolitan Government Building
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, also referred to as Tokyo City Hall or Tochō for short, houses the headquarters of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which governs not only the 23 wards but also the cities, towns and villages that make up Tokyo as a whole. Located in Shinjuku, the building consists of a complex of three structures, each taking up a city block. The tallest and most prominent of the three is Tokyo Metropolitan Main building No.1, a tower 48 stories tall that splits into two sections at the 33rd floor.
To learn more: http://www.metro.tokyo.jp/ENGLISH/index.htm
Studio Ghibli, Inc. is a Japanese animation film studio based in Koganei, Tokyo. The studio is best known for its anime feature films (Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro, Arriety and many more). Ghibli Museum is a museum featuring the Japanese anime work of Studio Ghibli, and is located in Inokashira Park in Mitaka, a western suburb of Tokyo, Japan. The museum is a fine arts museum, but does not take the concept of a usual fine arts museum. With many features that are child-oriented and a sprawling and occasionally mazelike interior, the museum is a playfully created place.
For more information: http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/en/
The Ueno Zoo is a 14.3-hectare zoo, managed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and located in Taitō, Tokyo. It is Japan’s oldest zoo, opening on March 20, 1882. To visit: http://www.tokyo-zoo.net/english/ueno/
There are many more attractions within the Tokyo area. It all depends on where you’re staying, who you’re with and what interests you the most 😀
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