For the past three years, Japan has been one of my favorite countries to spend vacations. There are endless things to do and a wide array of food to enjoy at this beautiful country. Tourists has been going in and out for the past years, immersing into the rich Japanese culture and enjoying the Japanese vibrant food scene. The capital of Japan is Tokyo, often referred as Tokyo Metropolis or Tokyo Prefecture. Traditionally, the home of the Emperor is considered the capital. In the course of history, the national capital has been in many locations other than Tokyo however after 1868, the seat of the Government of Japan and the location of the Emperor’s home was moved to Tokyo.
What are the top 10 things to do in Tokyo?
1.Have a picture at Hachikō Bronze Statue.
Hachiko is the famous Akita Inu dog breed that is known for his persevering wait for the return of his deceased owner for more than nine years in Shibuya station. A statue is made for his remarkable loyalty to its owner.
2.Cross Shibuya Crossing on rush hours.
Shibuya is a special ward in Tokyo. The name “shibuya” is used to refer the shopping district which surrounds Shibuya station which is one of the busiest railway stations in Tokyo. Shibuya is known for it’s scrammble crossing and you will be amazed that when the traffic light simultaneously turns to green, people from all intersections will cross together but then when the traffic light turns red, all the people were at the street side. During rush hour, this pedestrian crossing could fill a football stadium with all of the people that cross. It has 2,500 pedestrians crossing every time the signal changes. This crossing will show the world how disciplined Japanese people are. Shibuya is oftentimes compared to New York’s Time Square due to influx of people. The best view of the Shibuya crossing and the best view to people-watch is at a window side seats of Starbucks Shibuya.
3.Watch the sundown panoramic Tokyo view at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building or also known as Tochō is located at Shinjuku. It is the headquarters of Tokyo Metropolitan Government which governs the whole Tokyo Metropolis. Big is such an understatement to describe this structure which is meant to resemble a computer chip. It is made up of three structures, each structure taking up a whole city block.The tallest of them is the Tokyo Metropolitan Building No.1 which comprises 48 stories that splits into two sections at the 33rd floor. The other two buildings are the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Building and Tokyo Metropolitan Building No.2. The two panoramic observation decks are located on each tower on the 45th floor. They are free of charge and the personnel in the building will show you the way on which elevator to use. There are cafe’s, restaurants, souvenir shops and boutiques at the observatory decks.
4.Witness a Traditional Shinto Wedding at Meiji Shrine.
Located at Shibuya, this shrine is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shōken. This shrine is open everyday throughout the year however the opening and closing hours vary every month since they base their opening time with sunrise and closing time with sunset. It is a sacred place therefore a visitor should act with utmost respect and follow the shrine rules (no eating, no drinking, no pets, no jogging, stay on paths, do not enter the forest, don’t collect animals/plants etc). It is a such a serene and peaceful place in the middle of the city. If you are lucky, you may even witness a solemn procession of a Shinto wedding.
5.Enjoy a morning walk around The East Gardens of the Imperial.
This place can be reached through a 10-15 minute walk from Tokyo Station. It has scenic gardens and it is recommended to visit this place on Spring with plums in full bloom. Take note that this garden is closed on Mondays, Fridays and December 28-January 2. If Monday and Friday is a National Holiday, the garden is closed the next day instead.
6.Pray, Shop and Dine at Sensōji Temple.
Sensō-ji Temple which is also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple is located few steps away from Asakusa train station. This is Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple.
7.Take a peek at the Manga, Anime and Cosplayers at Takeshita Street.
Takeshita Street in Harajuku is a pedestrian shopping street. You will find cafe’s, restaurants and boutiques at the whole stretch of the street. Mostly, the people you will find here are 90% tourists. If you are fond of Manga, Anime and Cosplayers, this place is for you! I enjoyed tasting Japanese sweets here and this place has one of the biggest Daiso 100 Yen Store i have ever seen.
8.Be captivated by Tokyo Tower at night.
Tokyo Tower is the second tallest structure in Japan rising at 332.9 meters. It is a communications and observation tower located in Shiba-koen district of Minato. It is an Eiffel Tower-inspired structure but 13 meters taller than Eiffel Tower. It has two observatory decks, the main observatory at 150 meters and a special observatory at 250 meters high.Directly below the tower stands the Foot Town building which has cafe’s souvenir shops and restaurants and One Piece Tower an indoor amusement park that was opened for the 15th anniversary of the popular manga in 2015.
Around the Tokyo Tower vicinity, we came across a pop-up Jack Daniel’s Bar. A couple of drinks kept us warm on a chilly December with a -2 degrees weather.
9.Spend a day at the only Disneysea in the world, Tokyo DisneySea.
It is a 176 acre theme park with a stunning view. A must see for Disney enthusiasts. It was very festive and a lot of people are wearing different costumes. We had a day of rides, fun and picture taking of the vast theme park. This is the only DisneySea in the world so it is worth spending a day here!
10.View the majestic Mt. Fuji.
Mt. Fuji is the highest mountain peak of Japan at 12,289 feet and an active volcano. It is one of Japan’s historic site and UNESCO named it as one of the 25 sites of cultural interest. Mt. Fuji has exceptionally symmetrical cone, which is snow capped several months a year and it is a well-known symbol of Japan. On clear days, this can be seen from Tokyo and Yokohama. There are several ways to view the majestic view of Mt. Fuji:
- From the train on a trip between Tokyo and Osaka. Take the shinkansen fro Tokyo in direction of Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka, the best view of the mountain can be enjoyed around Shin-Fuji Station on the right hand side of the train, about 40-45 minutes into the journey.
- If you want to see the mountain leisurely, go to Fuji Five Lake or to Hakone.
Looking forward to share with you all the highlights of our next Tokyo trip come November.
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