There’s no doubt that finding something to do in Tokyo won’t be a problem. The sheer size of the world’s most populous city can prove to be a bit daunting. But as long as you have a plan for what you want to do and see, navigating Tokyo will be a bit easier.
Japan’s capital is such an eclectic mix of modern day living and old fashioned cultures. They combine to make up towering skyscrapers and sacred shrines. You’ll find the wacky next to the traditional…along with swanky shopping malls and hole in the wall noodle eateries.
Tokyo can be such a fun place to explore. But where does one start in such a sprawling metropolis? Here’s a look at a few suggestions to consider doing while you’re out discovering the city…
This shrine was dedicated to the late 19th century Japanese emperor who was responsible for opening up Japan to the western world. It’s one of Tokyo’s most famous shrines. Visitors will also find it’s a bit more quiet than a few of the other more popular and touristy shrines.
The Meiji Shrine is a Buddhist temple with a 40 foot (12 meters) high gate. Visitors can cleanse at the communal cleansing water tank. Here you can purify your hands and mouth before offering up a prayer. If you visit on a Sunday morning, you may be lucky enough to witness a traditional wedding procession.
This world-famous style of wresting is a definite must for those looking to take in an authentic Japanese experience. If you’re visiting in January, May, or September, these months are when the grand tournaments are held. Bouts are usually scheduled throughout the day. And if you’re going to attend a match, a good tip would be to get there before the start of a new round. Then you’ll be able to see the “rikishi” parade come into the arena. They wear their ceremonial aprons over their loincloths and former champions may even demonstrate classic sumo-style moves.
If you aren’t in Tokyo during tournament season, you can try to catch a training session. You’ll have to have a local Japanese speaker call ahead for you to schedule it. But it will definitely be worth it to be able to take in a glimpse of the sumo-wresting style.
CHECK OUT THE FAMOUS SHIBUYA CROSSING
It’s Tokyo’s version of the famed Times Square in New York City. And Shibuya Crossing is definitely an icon all its own in Japan. Take a stroll across the famous intersection, which is usually packed with locals and tourists alike. It’s also a fun place to observe and people watch too.
If you’re looking for a good shopping venue, there’s a nearby mall with more than 100 trendy boutiques. You can also head for Shibuya Station. Here you’ll find a wide array of gourmet foods. If you’re looking for a taste of something local, you’ve come to the right place. Various types of exotic seafood can be found here as well as some tasty traditional Japanese sweets.
EXPERIENCE THE TSUKIJI FISH MARKET
It’s the largest wholesale fish market in the world. And even if you aren’t a fan of seafood and fish, the whole experience of Tsukiji is still a sight to behold. More than 400 types of seafood can be found here. From tiny sardines to expensive caviar…you’ll find it at the fish market.
One of the most interesting parts of the Tsukiji Market is the Tuna Auction. It’s limited to 120 visitors per day and you must be issued a ticket. Keep in mind that the market keeps very early hours and usually winds down by 9am.
This is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Tokyo. Keep that in mind when deciding to plan a trip to see it. It may be a bit crowded since locals and tourist alike tend to flock to see it. It’s a Buddhist temple that happens to be one of the most colorful ones in Tokyo as well.
Sensoji is the city’s oldest temple…founded in the year 628. It was the heart of the Edo culture and is known for its entrance called Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate). Sensoji is definitely a great site to check out if you’re in Tokyo. It’s especially interesting if you’re looking for an authentic look at ancient Japanese culture.
SHINJUKU GYOEN NATIONAL GARDEN
If you’re looking for a bit of a green oasis in the middle of the concrete jungles of Tokyo, this may be the perfect spot for you. It’s made up of several major gardens. There are the French Formal, English Landscape, Japanese Traditional, and Mother and Child Forest gardens to explore here. You’ll also find a quaint Taiwan Pavilion. Consider taking a long a picnic lunch and taking in the beautiful scenery from the lawn areas. It’s a great place to relax and take a break from the bustling city.
Of course, these suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. The sightseeing possibilities in Tokyo are virtually endless. But hopefully these destinations will help serve as a guide and give a bit of insight to what all there is to do and see in the eccentric city of Tokyo!