Japan is undoubtedly one of the best tourist destinations in the world primarily for these reasons: the astounding scenery, the sumptuous food (see my other blog Tokyo Food Corner) and the decorous people.
According to a 2016 estimate of Tokyo’s population, the metropolis is now home to 13.5 million, or 9,262,046 in all of the 23 wards. If you have a very limited to visit outside the capital such as Osaka, Nagoya, Hokkaido and Sapporo, why not explore Tokyo per se? Here are the things you shouldn’t miss when you’re in one of the most fast-paced city in the world with an almost manic energy #JapanDiaries #TokyoDiaries #thenovicetraveller:
1. Discover Japanese history through shrines and temples
Meiji-Jingumae or Meiji Shrine is just at the heart of Shibuya and can be reached through JR Yamanote line and other Tokyo Metro subway lines. This is Tokyo’s largest Shinto shrine and mainly serves as a tribute to Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken, for initiating Japan’s global relations.
There are two parts of the shrine: the ‘Naien’ or the inner part with the main shrines and buildings (admission is 500 JPY) and ‘Gaien’ or the outer garden (admission is free). You can notice a lot of Torii shrine gates as you enter the place. It’s allowed to take pictures as long as you don’t create unnecessary clamor. There are a lot of professional photographers around anyway!
To showcase purity and respect, it’s best to observe the process of cleansing. You need to wash your hands and mouth before entering the inner garden. To add up, we had a very good timing when we visited the place since Japan was celebrating a national holiday (coming of age/Seiji no Hi feast). Those who reached the maturity age (20 years old) will enjoy their right to vote, drink and marry without the permission from their parents. There were a lot of girls who wore the traditional ‘Kimono’ and the gents wore suits.
Sensoji is the oldest Buddhist Temple in Tokyo. Never miss the chance to make wishes through throwing coins into a Buddhist pot while you’re here. Just be ready with the very large crowd. Aside from its significant history and free admission, many tourists visit this temple in Asakusa because of Nakamise Dori.
Nakamise Dori which means ‘inside street’ is a lane of souvenir, shopping and food stalls inside the temple area. What makes this street extra-special? Some of the stores are already 100 years old!
2. Witness the scramble crossing
Cited as the busiest and biggest intersection in the whole world, never miss to witness the hype of Shibuya crossing when you’re in Tokyo.
With it’s scenic lights, it’s exhilarating to bump with the thousands of people crossing every few minutes and even millions per day. Apart from the city lights, the best time to visit is from 5 pm to 8 pm due to a greater bunch of crowd. If you want to relax while catching a glimpse of Shibuya rush, you can sip over a cup of coffee at Starbucks, 2F of Tsutaya building—you’ll definitely enjoy a perfect top view! Oh! Don’t forget to take a picture with Hachiko nearby the intersection!
3. Board the Tokyo Bay Cruise
With the assistance of James Travels and Tours, we were able to experience the Symphony Tokyo Bay Cruise. Approximately a 50-minute afternoon cruise (1,500 JPY), while roaming around the Tokyo Bay area, you’ll be able to take a glimpse of the outstanding view of Rainbow bridge and Odaiba (the man-made city island). There are lunch, afternoon, sunset and dinner time cruises. Such as great deal, right? 😀
4. Experience the street-style fashion of Takeshita Dori
Hey there Otaku lovers! You’ll surely relish the modish Harajuku street. A lot of teens dress up as cosplayers especially Sundays. Aside from these stylish folks, there are plenty of shopping, souvenir and food stalls around (See my other blog ‘The Food Corner around Tokyo’ ) . One more thing, most of the stuff are affordable! Good luck shopaholics!
5. Panoramic view of City Lights
Tokyo almost have everything. Just like how cliche goes, ‘Name it and they have it’. If you’re a city-buddy then you’ll certainly appreciate the night lights of any district in Tokyo! #Nihongadaisuki ❤
Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi
‘There were post-Christmas winter illuminations displayed when we arrived. The 2,000m² midtown park square is covered with 280,000 digitally controlled LED lights. Just a walking distance from the Roppongi Tokyo Metro subway station, you will be able to gaze those alluring lights. (It was a very chilly and rainy night for us. LMAO :D)
Aside from Roppongi, Shinjuku is the perfect getaway for our night owls and insomniac fellas out there. There are a lot of bars and restaurant around. Shinjuku is more than a typical red-light district. There’s a lot of things you can do. Make sure to drop by the popular Omoide Yokocho or Piss Alley. It is a small network of alleyways consisting of 300 stores and are mostly open until dawn. It’s quite hard to find though so be sure to prepare your GPS app. 😀
6. The Korean Town (Shin Okubo)
Experience Korea in Japan without visa. Yes, you heard it right. That’s possible! .Just ride JR Yamanote line from Shinjuku area and you will reach this K-pop and K-fan haven—Shin Okubo district! LOL 😀
From K-pop stores, Korean restaurants, Karaoke bars, cosmetic hubs and the Koreans themselves, you will really feel the Korean vibe! There are a vast array of shops so it’s a pretty long walk. The multitudinous shops offer great deals. I even bought 20 pieces of TonyMoly masks for only JPY 2,000. Isn’t it amazing? ❤
Japan provides diverse entertainment and can take your trip to the next level. A delightful place with a lovely and well-mannered people. No wonder they can embolden and persuade more globetrotters. I just love how they assist tourists despite of communication barriers. I hope to visit this place once again. ❤
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Arigatou Gozaimasu! Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu! Special thanks to James Travels and Tours for arranging our plane tickets, hotels and transfers. 🙂
See related post here—> Tokyo Food Corner
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