Keep on reading if you want to see which are listed as my must see places in Tokyo, Japan.!
Considering that going to Japan had always been a life long dream of mine, I never would’ve thought I’d be visiting the land of the rising sun two times in the same year. My dream came true in the winter of 2013. I spend a little bit more than two weeks in Japan and experienced Christmas and new year’s eve and day. I had the most wonderful time. The second trip I took was during the summer of 2014 in which I was able to explore a lot more, especially within Tokyo. I became more familiar with Tokyo’s districts. Based on that I want to share my must see places in Tokyo with you!
A neighborhood known for being one of the top fashion and youth centers of Japan is Shibuya. Here you’ll find everything related to pop culture and fashion. Skyscrapers with colorful flat screens cover the sky and in between the streets there is a non-stop flow of people. The streets contain numerous amounts of shops and restaurants. If you are staying until the dusk of dawn be sure to check out some of Shibuya’s hippest clubs like Womb.
Right across the Shibuya train station you will find the Shibuya Crossing. This might be the busiest intersection in the world. Standing in front of this intersection while looking up towards all the huge buildings with their gigantic screens and neon lights was so surreal to me. When the lights turned green/blue I crossed over to the other side while being joined by up to a thousand pedestrians at the same time. I highly recommend you checking out the crossing at night if you want to experience the same magic I felt.
A dear statue in memory of a legendary story about a dog called Hachiko. Everyday Hachiko waited for his owner to return from work at the train station. Sadly Hachiko’s owner died one day. Yet Hachiko remained waiting for his master to return home at the station for up to 10 years. After those long years of continuously waiting, Hachiko passed away as well. Nowadays the statue has become a famous meeting spot.
The young, colorful and dolled up girls from Tokyo do their shopping here. Shibuya 109 is a women only shopping department that offers up to 10 floors filled with tons of boutiques. All the boutiques have their own unique style. Even if you aren’t into shopping and girly stuff, it can be an interesting experience. There is also a men only department store in Shibuya.
Ueno is situated in the center of Tokyo and home to a variety of museums, temples, shrines and old restaurants. It is a very attractive place for tourists. Ueno portrays a retro atmosphere which is very different from that of Shibuya for example. A tad shady and less modern looking, exactly the things what make the neighborhood more charming to me.
Ameya yokocho market, アメヤ横丁
An open air market not far away from the station of Ueno. It’s a busy and narrow street with around 500 shops. Ameya yokocho market started as a black market that sold all types of American goods, like candy. Now there are a lot of vendors selling clothing, food and cosmetics.
Vlogging in Ameya yokocho
Yanaka Ginza, 谷中銀座 –
Yanaka Ginza is a shopping street with a very calm and traditional atmosphere. The shopping streets offer plenty of interesting shops and food stalls. Yanaka survived the Great Kanto earthquake and the bombing of World War II. So it looks and feels like how Tokyo was before the second World War. In and around Yanaka Ginza I saw a lot of wooden structures and temples that remained from back then. As well as a lot of locals riding their bikes which complement the vibe of the city strongly. It made me feel like I was walking through an old vintage movie set.
And oh yeah, what’s up with the cats?! I saw them literally everywhere. On signs, shaped into foods and so many of them walking around. If you know anything about this, leave a comment about it in the comment section below, because I really want to know. The internet is not very helpful!
Nezu Shrine, 根津神社
I walked from Yanaka to the station of Ueno and I came across the beautiful Nezu shrine. A very mesmerizing place with warm red colors decorating the wooden structures. I find these types of gates and shrines so pleasant to observe. They make you forget about the city around you.
Vlogging in Yanaka Ginza and Nezu Shrine
Ueno Park, 上野公園
Nearby the station of Ueno there is a park with several museums. Most famous are the Tokyo’s National Museum, National Museum for Western Art and The National Science Museum which all require entrance fee. In addition to the museums Ueno Koen (“Koen” = “Park” in Japanese) is a very popular spot in Tokyo for the annual cherry blossom viewing. Definitely great for spending a couple hours admiring scenery.
Tokyo Sky Tree, 東京スカイツリー
The Tokyo Sky Tree is 634 meters tall. Built during the devastating earthquake of 2011 it has proven to be very stable and well constructed. Now if you are afraid of heights, there is no other way than to just overcome that fear. The tower provides you with the most breathtaking view over the city of Tokyo. There are two observation desks, one at 350m and one at 450m. I advice you to go on a bright day with a clear sky as you might be lucky to see Mount Fuji!
Next to the Sumida river lays Asakusa. In this part of Tokyo the old vibe of the Edo period remains. The atmosphere is very traditional yet pretty touristic. With the temple Senso-ji as one of its oldest attractions and the Tokyo Sky Tree a 20 minute walk away it is a must see place which you don’t want to miss.
This is one of Tokyo’s most popular temples. The legend behind Senso-ji says that in the year 628 two fishermen who were brothers fished a statue out of the Sumida River. The statue was of Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. The temple was built in the name of Kannon Senso-ji and completed in the year 645, making it the oldest temple of the capital.
The outer gate of Senso-ji is called the Kaminarimon (雷門), in English Thunder Gate. The gate is protected by Fujin, the god of wind and Raijin, the god of thunder. After entering through Kaminarimon you will find a 200 meter long shopping street, Nakamise dori(see first picture of this blog) with stalls selling souvenirs, sweets and crafts. I also came across beautiful postcards and lovely folding fans.
Eventually after passing the Hozomon Gate you’ll reach the temple’s main hall. Throughout the year there are several festivals held in the area. One of them is the Asakusa Samba Carnival which I wanted to visit so bad, but I unfortunately couldn’t. Maybe another time!
Manga, anime, cosplay, videogames, computers, figures, gadgets… Not to forget the arcade halls, maid cafes, themed restaurants and crazy anime advertisements. Akihabara has it all! This is the place where the otaku(geek) subculture is most prominent. A spectacular neighborhood with buildings so tall, that you’ll need to watch out you don’t injure your neck from looking up at the anime characters and AKB40 idols decorating their walls. You absolutely don’t have to be a geek yourself to enjoy this area!
Vlogging in Akihabara
In Harajuku the street fashion is extraordinaire and the architecture is very interesting. There are lovely cafes to grab some lunch at, various restaurants for dinner and boutiques in every corner of the streets where you can shop until you drop.
Takeshita street, 竹下通り
Exiting Harajuku station leads you straight to a lively and colorful shopping street called Takeshita street. In Japanese pronounced as Takeshita Dori. It is really popular amongst teens. There are stores which sell cosplay clothing and wigs, stores that are specialized in socks and stockings and other stores that sell the latest idol goods. Chances are high to encounter groups of girls dressing up in lolita or decora styles.
Vlogging in Takeshita street
Hope this post made you a bit wiser about what you want to visit when you are in Tokyo!