In my previous post about Tokyo, I spoke about the must have experienced while in Japan. In this post, I’d like to talk about those places in Tokyo, which you should definitely visit as these have most of the ‘Tokyo experiences’ we discussed in the last post. Although every part of the city has a variety of unique things to offer, there are some places which are considered to be the crème de la crème of Tokyo and that’s what we shall be talking about today.
Shinjuku undoubtedly tops the list for several reasons. It is the heart of the city’s nightlife and the backpacker’s hub. As soon as the sun sets in Japan, the Shinjuku area comes to life with endless bars, restaurants, red light districts, gaming areas, karaoke bars, and crazy Japanese themed cafes to be found within a walkable distance. Hotels in this area are a little expensive as compared to the other areas but it’s definitely worth it, considering that the trains stop working at 12 am and that’s when the real party starts.
Out of all the crazy things one can do in Shinjuku, few of the main activities are pub crawling in Golden Gai, watching the sunset from the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building, visiting the Love sculpture, taking a walk through the Shinjuku Park, visiting the red light districts in Kabushiko, and tasting the traditional Japanese food and drinks at the endless noodle bars.
You can find more about the hostels in Shinjuku in my last post here.
Home to the world’s biggest crossing, the Shibuya district is famous worldwide. The Shibuya crossing is as spectacular as one can imagine. More than 2,500 people crossing 8 different directions every few minutes, is a crazy sight to see. The best place to gaze at the crossing from afar is the Starbucks coffee shop located on the opposite side of the road. Other than the crossing, Shibuya is famous for its funky restaurants and karaoke bars that add to the nightlife outside of the Shinjuku area. We went to multiple themed bars located in the Shibuya district, including the Alcatraz E.R (which I have mentioned in my post here). The Shibuya district is not far from Shinjuku and one can consider walking to explore both places within the same night.
If you want to step into the pool of rich Japanese culture, this is the place to be. The Asakusa area is famous for Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple, the Senso-Ji. Starting from the streets to a variety of beautiful boutiques, everything showcases a stunning blend of traditionally Japanese as well as sleek modern architecture. Some of the major attractions within this area are; the famous Kaminarimon gate, the Nakamise shopping street, the Azuma Bridge and the Asahi Beer Hall.
If you ever feel like you have seen enough in Tokyo and there couldn’t possibly be anything more to offer, I’d recommend you to visit the Harajuku area. I loved the contrasting balance between culture and modern nightlife and shopping to be found here. There is a park called the ‘Yoyogi’ park which has a temple inside. There are many colourful shrines and crazy cafes in the middle of the chaotic Takeshita-Dori Street. Some of the major attractions within this area are; the Meiji Shrine, the Takeshita-dori street, the Yoyogi park and the temple. Don’t forget to try out the famous Takeshita street pancakes and visit the cat and the monster café located in the Harajuku area. There are many money exchange machines to be found on the streets, in case you run out of money while shopping.
The Central area of Tokyo:
I was in Japan during the autumn season and although the cherry blossoms in summer are supposed to be the most famous sight in Japan, watching the autumn leaves fall was no less exciting. The beauty of the autumn leaves can be sighted at any park in or around Tokyo, including the Shinjuku Park and the famous Imperial Palace Park. I had the wonderful opportunity to visit both places and the Imperial Palace Park is definitely a sight to see. The Palace used to belong to the Royal family of Japan. There is nothing much to see, within the palace itself. The main attraction is the huge park around the palace. Walking in the park full of trees in hues of golden and red brings out the most romantic thoughts in you. I had planned to explore the park area for two hours but ended up walking around for 4 hours. My words may not be able to describe the beauty of the scenery I witnessed so make sure to have a look at my album to realise what I’m talking about.
Last but not the least, if things like robots, technology, gaming, action figures and fantasy lands mean the world to you; this place would be your personal heaven. I have colleagues who spend hours talking about comics, action figures, games and when I visited Akihabara, I knew that they’d go crazy if they were here. Flashy gaming parlours, fantasy comic characters, and bizarre robot shows make this place a nerd haven.
So these were the major areas in Tokyo that I had the chance to visit and spend time in. I was suggested a lot more places visit, but the lack of time restricted further plans.
I plan to revisit Japan during a summer to have a chance to witness the cherry blossoms bloom. For the time being, I hope that you enjoyed my Japan blogs and that I could provide you with a chance to explore Japan from the comfort of your homes. Do feel free to drop in any questions or comment your own experience in Japan.