Where is Tokyo?
Tokyo is Japan's capital and the world's most populous metropolis. It is also one of Japan's 47 prefectures, consisting of 23 central city wards and multiple cities, towns and villages west of the city center. The Izu and Ogasawara Islands are also part of Tokyo.
Weather in Tokyo
Tokyo is classified as lying in the humid subtropical climate zone and has four distinct seasons. Summer in Tokyo is hot and humid with a temperature range of about 20-30°C (68-86°F), though it can sometimes climb into the high thirties. Winter is usually mild, with temperatures generally ranging from 0-10°C (32-50°F), though occasional cold spells can send temperatures plummeting below zero at night. Snow is rare, but on those rare occasions when Tokyo is hit by a snowstorm, much of the train network grinds to a halt. The famous cherry blossoms bloom in March-April and parks, most famously Ueno, fill up with tourists and business men enjoying Hanami (Cherry blossom viewing).
Surrounded by a series of moats and high walls, the site of the former Edo Castle has been the official residence of the Japanese imperial family since 1868. Reputedly the most expensive square km in the world, which during the height of Japan's bubble was estimated to be worth slightly more than California. Unfortunately, the inner palace gardens and buildings are closed to the general public except on January 2 and December 23, when the imperial family makes a public appearance. However, foreigners can also apply online to join a free guided tour (weekdays at 10AM and 2PM). If you're feeling lucky, you can also try just showing up at the Imperial Household Agency office located in the northwest corner of the Imperial Palace Park, which is open 9 AM-noon, 1PM-2PM; if there's space, you can join a tour on the same day. Tours are conducted only in Japanese, but electronic audio guides (in English) will be lent to foreign visitors free of charge. At the end of the tour, visitors wishing to enter the East Gardens (see next entry) will be given entrance cards and allowed through to the gardens via a private gate, allowing them to bypass the lines at the main Ote-mon entrance; pay attention to the announcement in Japanese and queue up as directed.
The National Diet Building (Kokkai-gijido)
The National Diet Building is the building where both houses of the National Diet of Japan meet. It is located at 1-chome, Nagatacho, Chiyoda, Tokyo.
Sessions of the House of Representatives take place in the left wing and sessions of the House of Councilors in the right wing.
The Diet Building was completed in 1936 and is constructed out of purely Japanese materials, with the exception of the stained glass, door locks, and pneumatic tube system.
The early design of the building were made by Hermann Ende and Wilhelm Bockmann which were both German architects. They wanted to construct a governmental ring. After many different influences and revisions were made, the first building was begun in 1890 and the second in 18911. The current building that stands today was commissioned and begun in 1910 which still stands as a symbol of the power of the Japanese governing agencies.
A controversial shrine to Japan's war dead, housing the souls of some 2.5 million people killed in Japan's wars. Controversies and political tension have arisen due to the enshrinement of 1,068 people convicted of war crimes by the Allies (including 14 executed class A war criminals secretly enshrined in 1978, leading Hirohito to stop visiting the shrine until his death). Increased numbers of visits by high profile politicians such as the outspoken former Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara and Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto, along with prime ministers Yasuhiro Nakasone, Ryutaro Hashimoto, Junichiro Koizumi, and Shinzo Abe, along with alleged historical revisionism at the Yushukan, have led to frictions between Japan and China/South Korea. A favorite haunt of the Japanese Restoration Party (of which Ishihara and Hashimoto are members) and right-wing groups in black loudspeaker-equipped trucks. Open daily and free entrance adjacent to Metro Hanzomon line Kudanshita station, or cross the bridge north from Kitanomaru Park. Festivals take place most notably in mid-July and mid-October, which can attract as many people and vendors as it does on New Year's Day when the Japanese come to pray for a prosperous year. It can also get quite crowded during cherry blossom season.
Akihabara, also called Akiba after a former local shrine, is a district in central Tokyo that is famous for its electronics shops. In more recent years, Akihabara has gained recognition as the center of Japan's otaku (diehard anime fan) culture, and many shops and establishments devoted to anime and manga are now dispersed among the electronic stores in the district. On Sundays, Chuo Dori, the main street through the district, is closed to car traffic from 13:00 to 18:00 (until 17:00 from October through March).
Akihabara has been undergoing major redevelopment over the years, including the renovation and expansion of Akihabara Station and the construction of new buildings in its proximity. Among these newly opened buildings were a huge Yodobashi electronics store and the Akihabara Crossfield, a business complex with the aim of promoting Akihabara as a center for global electronics technology and trade.
Tsukiji Fish Market
Tsukiji Fish Market is the sushi mecca for visitors to Tokyo. Located about 1.5km south of Tokyo Station, Tsukiji is the most famous of the twelve locations operated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market and is a venerable institution dating from 1935.
Tsukiji Market is expected to close and move to a new site in Toyosu in the near future. The move was originally scheduled for November 2016, but then delayed indefinitely by the governor. It is now expected to happen around winter 2017/2018 at the earliest.
Hamarikyu Gardens is a public park in Chuo, Tokyo, Japan. Located at the mouth of the Sumida River, it was opened April 1, 1946. The park is a 250,165 m² landscaped garden surrounding Shioiri Pond, the park itself surrounded by a seawater moat filled by Tokyo Bay. It was remodeled as a public garden park on the site of a villa of the Shogun Tokugawa family in the 17th century.
Visitors can also enjoy refreshment at a teahouse in Nakashima located in the middle of the pond in the garden that offers matcha and Japanese sweets in a tea-ceremony style. A peony garden, plum tree grove and cosmos fields have flowers for every season. Japanese falconry and aikido are demonstrated at New Year.
Tokyo Water Bus
Located on a bay and having rivers as convenient transportation routes, Tokyo has a few ferry companies that tourists may find useful. The Water Bus services are an enjoyable alternative to trains or subways when traveling between destinations that are near the water.
The locations that are most notably convenient for water bus access are the man made islands of Tokyo Bay, especially the Odaiba shopping and entertainment district. Many water buses also travel along the Sumida River, one of the city's most famous rivers. The many bridges that span the river have each been designed differently. Boats along the river provide access to Asakusa and Ryogoku.
The most famous shopping district in Tokyo, Ginza is a fascinating area where the latest trends and the oldest traditions meet. This harmonious mix is clearly visible in its streets lined by department stores, world-class designer boutiques and well-established stores. In addition, the district is an art haven with theatres and over 200 galleries. Shops and galleries are situated in Ginza's renovated landmark, the Kabuki-za theatre, making it easy for visitors to experience the world of kabuki. After a day's fun around the area, you can enjoy first class Japanese cuisine; dine at a famous Michelin-starred restaurant or have some sushi at Tsukiji to complete your Ginza travel experience.
A composite facility with a 145m-high office block encompassing 29 floors above ground and 4 basement floors, the theatre itself retains the characteristic Momoyama-style architecture that it had before the rebuild, including a tiled roof, camber barge-board (Chinese cusped gables) and Japanese-style balustrades. A joint endeavor between Mitsubishi Jisho Sekkei Inc. and world-renowned architect Kengo Kuma, the design sought to embody the beauty of Japanese architecture. Inside the theatre, the latest technology has been used to replicate the raised seats in the gallery, so that the audience on the 1st floor, the second floor and the third floor can see the Hanamichi runway through the audience to the stage as well as the audience on the ground floor. And it was used for the much smooth move of revolving stage. Earphone guides in English are available, providing explanations of the plot, characters, costumes, and props in time with the proceedings on the stage, so even non-speakers of Japanese can enjoy the performance with complete peace of mind.
Standing 333 meters high in the center of Tokyo, Tokyo Tower is the world's tallest, self-supported steel tower and 13m taller than its model, the Eiffel Tower. A symbol of Japan's post-war rebirth as a major economic power, Tokyo Tower was the country's tallest structure from its completion in 1958 until 2012 when it was surpassed by the Tokyo Skytree. In addition to being a popular tourist spot, Tokyo Tower serves as a broadcast antenna.
The tower's main observatory at 150m is reached via elevator or a 600-step staircase (both paid). Thanks to the tower's central location, the observatory offers an interesting view of the city despite being only at a relatively moderate height. There are also some "lookdown windows" in the floor to stand on, a souvenir shop and a cafe where visitors can enjoy refreshments.
The Tokyo Skytree is a television broadcasting tower and landmark of Tokyo. It is the centerpiece of the Tokyo Skytree Town in the Sumida City Ward, not far away from Asakusa. With a height of 634m(634 can be read as "Musashi", a historic name of the Tokyo Region), it is the tallest structure in Japan and the second tallest in the world at the time of its completion. A large shopping complex with aquarium is located at its base.
Sengakuji was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first Shogun of Edo era, in 1612 near Edo Castle as an establishment of Dogen's tradition. However, after only 30 years, it was devastated by fire and this led to a reconstruction at the present site.
Sengakuji is now regarded as a temple closely related to the Ako Gishi, but it was in fact one of the three principle temples of Edo (old Tokyo) and known in its own right as a prestigious Buddhist institution. Many dedicated monks gathered from all over Japan (it was said that numbers sometimes reached 200) to deepen their practice and study. To this day this tradition continues. Numbers are considerably less, but young training monks still practice here whilst studying Buddhism at university.
Standing next to Tokyo Tower, Zojoji Temple is the head temple of the Jodo shu of Japanese Buddhism in the Kanto Region. This temple was founded in 1393 as an orthodox and later moved to its present location in 1598 by Tokugawa Ieyasu who selected it as his family temple.
Today, its cathedral and other structures have been rebuilt, and Zojoji continues to serve as the main temple of Jodo shu and the central nembutsu seminary for priests and novices. Furthermore, it has endeared itself to the general public as both a grand Buddhist temple typical of the metropolis Tokyo and a hub of religious and cultural activities.
Roppongi is a district located in the Minato Ward of the Tokyo metropolis. Roppongi is known for its nightlife (bars, restaurants, and dance clubs). It has also become a shopping destination for travelers and locals. Thanks to its bustling leisure options, the district has become one of the most diverse, in terms of nationalities, in all of Tokyo.
Roppongi also enjoys a location in the heart of the city. It is bordered by the Akasaka and Minamiaoyama districts to the north; Nishiazabu district to the west; Motoazabu and Azabujuban districts to the south; and Azabunagasakacho, Azabudai, and Toranomon districts to the east.
National Art Center Tokyo
The National Art Center Tokyo is a museum in Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo, Japan. A joint project of the Agency for Cultural Affairs and the National Museums Independent Administrative Institution, it stands on a site formerly occupied by a research facility of the University of Tokyo. NACT is a new type of exhibition-centered museum that does not have a permanent collection. Instead they use their 14,000 sqm of exhibition space, one of the largest in the country, to always have an interesting variety of local and international exhibitions on display all year around. The museum is also involved in the collection and distribution of Japanese art information for public access.
Roppongi Hills is one of the best examples of a city within the city. Opened in 2003 in the heart of Tokyo's Roppongi district, the building complex features offices, apartments, shops, restaurants, a hotel, art museum, observation deck and more. The office floors are home to leading companies from the IT and financial sectors, and Roppongi Hills has become a symbol of the Japanese IT industry. At the center of Roppongi Hills stands the 238m Mori Tower, one of the tallest buildings in Tokyo. While most of the building is occupied by office space, the first few floors have restaurants and shops and the top few floors house an observation deck and modern art museum that are open to the public.
Shibuya is unique in that every street and area in the district has a completely different atmosphere. The Shibuya Center Street is crowded with a multitude of shops, including youth fashion shops such as Shibuya 109 and Hikarie, fast food restaurants, and game centers, and it is famous as the place where new trends are born that quickly spread among the youth nationwide. It is always crowded day and night, mostly with teenagers, and you can get a direct feel for today's Japanese fashion trends there.
The symbol of Harajuku and birthplace of many of Japan's fashion trends, Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street) is a narrow, roughly 400m long street lined by shops, boutiques, cafes and fast food outlets targeting Tokyo's teenagers. Because of the street's popularity, it becomes extremely busy and crowded on the weekends. Interesting shops and restaurants can also be found along some of the side streets.
Omotesando is a 1km long, tree lined avenue, serving as the main approach to Meiji Shrine. Variety of stores, boutiques, restaurants and cafes, including some leading fashion brand shops, stand along the avenue. This area generally caters to an older and wealthier clientele than Takeshita Dori.
Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu) is a shrine dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. Located just beside the JR Yamanote Line's busy Harajuku Station, Meiji Shrine and the adjacent Yoyogi Park make up a large forested area within the densely built-up city. The spacious shrine grounds offer walking paths that are great for a relaxing stroll.
The shrine was dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and the Empress Shoken in 1920, 8 years after the passing of the emperor and 6 years after the passing of the empress. The shrine was destroyed during the World War II but was rebuilt shortly after.
Yoyogi Park (Yoyogi Koen) is one of the biggest and most central parks in Tokyo. It is a particularly popular Tokyo destination for its lenient attitude towards whatever people choose to do in it, from drinking and partying to sports and yoga. Particularly lively during the weekends, it is a gathering place for Japanese rockabillies, jugglers, comedians, drummers, dance classes, martial arts clubs, cosplay fans and many more.
Access to Yoyogi Park is easiest from JR Harajuku Station, Yoyogi-Koen Station, Yoyogi-Hachiman Station or Meijijingu-Mae Station, which between them cover many of Tokyo's major lines, including the JR Yamanote Line, Odakyu Line, Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line and the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line. All stations take you within five minutes of the park on foot, although Meijijingu-Mae Station is a bit farther down Omotesando, so you'll need to walk around 10 minutes from there (exit number 5).
Shinagawa Aquarium is one of the three full featured aquariums in the Tokyo area. This aquarium is located in Shinagawa however, instead of being in the area most tourist will associate with Shinagawa, it is south along the coast towards Haneda Airport from JR Shinagawa Station. It is in a corner of a pleasant but overly paved park beside the ocean.
A total of 2,500 large and small fish from 100 species including longtooth grouper, sea bream, and giant rays swim vigorously in the giant 500-ton tank. There is also a 22-meter long undersea tunnel tank, where visitors can enjoy 180-degree views of the tank from below. The new sea building also has a tunnel tank with 180-degree views, where visitors can feel relaxed as they watch the seals swimming around slowly.
Kabukicho is always busy-crowded on weekdays as well as weekends-because it is very conveniently close to Shinjuku Station, a huge terminal station for many lines of five train companies (JR East, Keio Corporation, Odakyu Electric Railway, Tokyo Metro and the Bureau of Transportation, Tokyo Metropolitan Government), as well as Seibu Shinjuku Station. It is also referred to as a town that never sleeps, with glittering neon and people walking even in the small hours. It is one of the largest night spots in the world.
Currently, a small area of about 600 sqm bordered by Yasukuni Street, Seibu Shinjuku Ekimae Street, Shokuan Street and Shinjuku Kuyakusho Street is filled with more than 4000 commercial establishments. This largest entertainment district in East Asia is visited by many tourists from abroad. It is a place where Japanese-style entertainment is condensed, with various types of restaurants where you can enjoy cuisine from different regions of Japan and throughout the world, theaters, clubs with live music, comic cafes where you can browse many comic books, Japanese-style pubs, and pachinko parlors.
Shinjuku Gyoen Garden
This garden has a huge area which covers 58.7 hectares in Shinjuku area, and it represents a rare format for Japanese landscape gardens, skillfully combining three very different styles; French formal style, Japanese, and British landscape garden styles. The densely growing trees now number more than 20,000, and special varieties never seen in Japan before such as tulip trees, plane trees, and Himalayan cedar trees can be seen here, creating an entirely individual and rare sight with their immense size. The 1,500 cherry blossom trees are a famous sight in spring, and the summer greens, autumn chrysanthemums and autumnal leaves, and winter greenhouse and landscape provide beautiful fresh air and calm, that feels like an oasis in which the thronging noise of Tokyo could be a million miles away.
Ryogoku Kokugikan is a venue for contests in Japan's national sport, sumo. Three of the six official sumo tournaments that take place nationwide each year are held here, in January, May, and September. The hall can hold a total of 11,098 people. The ring, or dohyo, is located in the middle of the hall, with the spectators' seats arranged all around. As well as chair seats, there are ringside seats called suna-aburi-seki, which are so close to the dohyo that spectators get sprayed with the sand from it during the bouts, and masu-seki, which are four-person boxes with wooden boards to sit on. The ringside seats are close to the action, so eating and drinking is forbidden, but you may eat and drink freely in the boxes. Tickets for the ringside seats and boxes are more expensive than those for the ordinary chair seats, but they are so popular that it is hard to obtain them.
Sensoji is an ancient Buddhist temple located in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan. It is Tokyo's oldest temple, and one of its most significant. Formerly associated with the Tendai sect of Buddhism, it became independent after the World War II. Adjacent to the temple is a Shinto shrine, the Asakusa Shrine.
When approaching the temple, visitors first enter through the Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate), the outer gate of Sensoji Temple and the symbol of Asakusa and the entire city of Tokyo.
A shopping street of over 200m, called Nakamise, leads from the outer gate to the temple's second gate, the Hozomon. Alongside typical Japanese souvenirs such as yukata and folding fans, various traditional local snacks from the Asakusa area are sold along the Nakamise. The shopping street has a history of several centuries.
Ueno Park is a spacious public park in the Ueno district of Taito, Tokyo, Japan. The park was established in 1873 on lands formerly belonging to the temple of Kaneiji temple. The home of a number of major museums, Ueno Park is also celebrated in spring for its cherry blossoms and hanami. In recent times the park and its attractions have drawn over ten million visitors a year, making it Japan's most popular city park.
Additionally, Ueno Park is one of Tokyo's most popular and lively cherry blossom spots with more than 1000 cherry trees lining its central pathway. The cherry blossoms are usually in bloom during late March and early April and attract large numbers of hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties.
Kappabashi Street is a shopping street between Ueno and Asakusa, which is lined with several dozens of stores selling everything needed by restaurant operators, with the exception of fresh food.
You will find specialized stores for dishes, pots, pans, cooking utensils, stoves, tables, chairs, signs, lanterns and more. There are also a few stores which sell plastic and wax food samples, used by many restaurants in their show windows.
The street's name is believed to come from either the kappa (raincoats) of nearby residents which were hung out to dry on the bridge, or from a merchant named Kihachi Kappaya who funded the project to build Shinhorikawa River for water management. However, due to the homophone with the popular mythical creature, Kappa, the shops along the street have officially adopted the kappa as their mascot. Images of kappa appear frequently in the area, from merchandise to displays, even web sites about the district.
Tokyo National Museum
The Tokyo National Museum, or TNM, established in 1872, is the oldest Japanese national museum, the largest art museum in Japan and one of the largest art museums in the world. The Tokyo National Museum features one of the largest and best collections of art and archeological artifacts in Japan, made up of over 110,000 individual items including nearly a hundred national treasures. At any one time, about 4000 different items from the permanent museum collection are on display. In addition, visiting temporary exhibitions are also held regularly. Good English information and audio guides are available.
Adidas Futsal Park
There is no beating the location of this singularly picturesque football pitch: it sits atop the Tokyu Toyoko department store, right next to Shibuya Station. Adidas Futsal Park opened in 2001, in the run-up to the FIFA World Cup that Japan and South Korea co-hosted the following year, and it has been doing a strong trade ever since. Prices start at ¥5,250 per hour for teams that are members (¥8,400 for teams that aren't), rising to over ¥20,000 for 1.5 hours at peak times.
Yakatabune is an unique Japanese-style wooden tour boat on which you can have a party while sailing a river. The origin of yakatabune started in the 8th to 9th centuries. They reached the height of their popularity during the Edo Period in the 17th to 18th centuries. It is said that there were luxury boats decorated with gold, silver, and lacquer sailing on the Sumida River at that time.
Modern yakatabune tour boats are made from light and durable fiber-reinforced plastic. However, they keep traditional details such as “miyoshi” (a bow that protrudes upward), which is unique to Japanese ships, and lanterns under the roof. Passengers sit on a lowered tatami-matted floor with tables, which is just like a lounge at a Japanese style inn. In Tokyo alone, there are more than fifty recreational boat companies that operate yakatabune boat tours. They usually offer 2 or 3 hour cruises, and they serve traditional Japanese cuisine that is now designated as UNESCO World Heritage.
Cycling Holiday Tokyo
Looking for something active and fun to do around Tokyo?
Cycling Holiday Tokyo offers various English guided cycling tours across Tokyo area.
Bicycling in Tokyo is a great way to discover many different faces of this wonderful city. Enjoy riding at a leisurely pace on quiet backstreets and cycle lanes.
Extremely exciting and a must have experience when you visit Tokyo Japan. Just imagine yourself on a custom made go kart specifically tailored to realize the Real Life SuperHero Go-Karting experience! Dress up in your favorite character costume, playing the music of your choice and driving through the city of Tokyo. All eyes on you guarantee! You can ride with a group or ride privately, MariCAR is fully equipped to make your experience a very important one. Don't trust us but trust our valued customers, because they say "Once is never enough".
Otome Road is a nickname for a street in Ikebukuro which is located to the west of the Sunshine 60 building near Ikebukuro Station. The name originated in the May 2004 issue of Puff magazine.The name is derived from a dense grouping of shops that specialize in "Otome-kei" (anime and dōjinshi aimed at women) merchandise, all on one side of a roughly 200 meter corridor. Frequenters have more bluntly called the area "Fujoshi Street".
The area's media visibility increased through the 2005 film Densha Otoko, which presented Ikebukuro, represented by Otome Road, as the female otaku's town corresponding to Akihabara, the male otaku's town.
As it is only a small area of a larger commercial district it does not have frequenters who walk around in cosplay, and it is difficult to distinguish from other streets.
Izu and Ogasawara islands
Izu Islands are located 100-700 km south of Tokyo, and has about 100 small islands.
Main islands are within a northern range of 200 km, and peopled islands are only 9 of them.
The northernmost island is Izu-Ooshima, and it is the largest island.
Ogasawara Islands are located 900-1,100 km south of Tokyo, and has about 30 islands.
They were registered as a Natural World Heritage site in 2011.
The main islands are Chichijima and Hahajima.
After World War II, these had been placed under U.S. rule, then they returned to Japan in 1968.
For more information about Izu Sightseeing
What to Eat in Tokyo
Monjayaki (often called simply "monja") is a type of Japanese pan-fried batter, popular in the Kanto region, similar to okonomiyaki, but that uses different liquid ingredients.
The "Monjayaki Street" in Tsukishima is the best place to eat the dish.
The most popular type of sushi today, nigiri-zushi originated as a fast-food dish in Tokyo. Consisting of a piece of seafood put onto a small ball of rice, it takes much less time and effort to prepare than more traditional sushi dishes. Nigiri-zushi are served at all sushi restaurants from inexpensive conveyor belt sushi to Michelin-starred restaurants. Tsukiji Fish Market is one of the best places to eat fresh sushi.
Soba noodles are a popular dish in many regions of Japan. In Tokyo, they were particularly popular during the Edo Period, and can be found all across the city today, including at standing soba eateries and establishments specialized in soba (soba-ya). The dipping sauce used in Tokyo is traditionally relatively thick, and diners are encouraged to dip their noodles into it only lightly.