A trip to Japanese capital, Tokyo can be overwhelming, with so much to do, all good things to see, and blend in with the craziness of city. Most of us visit Tokyo with plan to eat sushi, and visit cat cafes, but there is lot more to this city than it looks. In Tokyo streets never end and the skyline dazzles. The wooden buildings, with glowing lanterns can how not charm any traveller. Streets hold in quaint art galleries, cocktail bars, and a promise to keep you hooked. This high tech city often casts a wrong perception of being greeted by anime robots, but when you’re here with a bowl of noodles the city feels very different. Here are the top things to do in Tokyo.
Imperial Palace – It has been the residence of Japanese Royal family for ages. Admission here needs application weeks prior. Top spots in here are Nijubashi Bridge, Kikyo-mon Gate, Someikan (Visitors’ House), Fujimi-yagura (Mt. Fuji View Keep), and East Gardens. The main palace has moat around.
Sensoji Temple – It is oldest and most visited religious site of Tokyo. You must also browse through the shops on Nakamise Dori lane towards temple. Best time to visit it is morning or night. Highlights of temple are Kaminari-mon Gate with huge red paper lantern, Incense Vat, and temple doves.
Ginza – It has been a commercial centre for ages. New York has Fifth Avenue, Times Square, and Tokyo has Ginza. From H&M, Armani, it also has stores selling kimonos, chopsticks, and charcoal beauty products. It also is home to more than 200 art galleries, and handful of Michelin star spots.
Meiji Shrine – It is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken that modernised Japan. Yoyogi forest around has over 100,000 trees and is lungs of Tokyo. You’ll often find wedding and miyamairi (visit of new born baby) here. Torii (archway), temizuya (cleansing fountain) are top sights here.
Tokyo National Museum – This national treasure is home to more than 100,000 artefacts and located in Tokyo’s oldest public park. In here you’ll find samurai Armor, swords, pottery, kimonos, calligraphy, paintings, Buddhist scrolls, lacquer-work and more. It also has English Translations along.
Sumo at RyogukuKokugikan – Sumo is national sport of Japan, and this place capital of Sumo culture. Tournaments happen in Jan, May, Sep, but wrestlers practice here all year long. The stadium can host up to 10000 people. Also try ChankoNabe lunch, eaten by wrestlers to gain weight.
Kabuki-za Theatre – Kabuki is a traditional Japanese drama and Kabuki-za the best theatre in region to experience it. The show is accompanied with many instruments. Play stories are historical, dramas, love tale, tragedy, etc. There are restaurants spread around auditorium, for quick eat.
Tokyo Skytree – It is the world’s tallest freestanding tower. The communication tower also has an observation deck with breath taking 360 degree views of the city. At the bottom of tower is Solamachi that has many shops and cafes to keep you and your family occupied for entire day.
Shibuya Crossing – Also known as Shibuya Scramble, its busiest pedestrian crossing by foot fall. No one will bump into you, coz it is peak of organized chaos. Nearby is statue of dog Hachiko (Popular meeting point) who waited for his master to return from work even after his death for years.
Toyosu Market – It is world’s largest fish market. You can also do a food tour here, tasting sushi, bonito, and oysters. Or the best you can join to watch the renowned tuna auction (requires application to see). This place is also known for one of best sushi and also sushi making classes.
Akihabara – It is Tokyo’s electric town, filled with electronics, anime, video games, comics, DVDs, and character figurines. Exploring this place after sunset with neon lights flashing amidst loud music is enthralling experience. Kids that visit here are for sure to be overwhelmed with shopping.
Animal Cafés – Visiting a cat café can be one item tick of your bucket list. Japanese visit them to read manga with peace and cats around. You can also buy n feed cat food to little furry felines. In Tokyo you can also find bunny cafés, owl cafés, and hedgehog cafés, like nowhere else in world.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden – This 144 acre of green open space is blend of Japanese Traditional, French Formal and English Garden landscaping styles. It has high density of cherry blossoms, attracting lots of visitors during spring. It has ponds, bridges, islands, teahouses, etc.
Ueno Park – It is Tokyo’s largest park and best place to visit to give yourself a break. You can go boating in the Shinobazu pond that has an island with Bentendo Temple on it, or you can visit the Toshogu Shrine that has 256 bronze and stone lanterns. It’s a refreshing experience in here.
Mount MItake – Located in the Chichibu Kama Tai national park, it is an ideal spot for hiking. It is one of the finest natural regions of Japan. Plus while hiking you also get the chance to visit the Shinto shrine at top of it. Nearby villages to Mitake also have great shopping and dining scene.
Life is a journey. Make the best of it!