Tokyo prior to 1968 was known as Edo, a small castle town in the 16th century but today it is the world’s most populous metropolis and one of Asia’s must visit destinations for unlimited choice of shopping, entertainment, culture, art and dining. Not to mention the rich history offered by this city to visitors is beyond words can describe. If one only have a few days in Tokyo then…
Ueno is a good choice for those who seek a walk in the park and a chance to visit a few museums at close proximity. Ueno Park is famous for its cherry blossoms that bloom in Spring and lotuses that flower in Summer. Nearby are the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum and the Tokyo Cultural Hall. Children will love the zoo in the park. Next to the Ueno station is the Ameyayokocho Market where one can again wander around shopping for miscellaneous that include clothes, bags, shoes, etc.
Shinjuku is one of the busiest place in Tokyo where the JR train station here serves more than 3.5 million passengers a day. There are large scale shopping stores such as Time Square, Keio department store, Isetan and many more. It is almost impossible to tell one how to walk around Shijuku as it is a big area with too many shopping and entertainment. Stamina and deep pockets are very much needed in this area.
When the sun sets, then that is the time when Kabukicho comes alive and the dancers strip. The place is relatively safe at night but visitors should be careful of scams and pick pockets. There are a few good Ramen stores around where one can request another two extra ramen noodle free of charge if you have such big stomach.
Akibahara or Akiba in short is well known for being the world leading electronic place. Not only this is the place for those looking for the latest electronic gadgets, it is also the mecca for otakus. Visiting anime or idol fans from near and far will visit this place especially on Sundays where many be in their manga, anime and Japan cosplay. Some may consider this culture twisted especially for those with traditional up-bringing or conservative mind-set but to others, it is an opportunity where the virtual world comes alive.
Tokyo Sky Tree is the venue for those who prefer an indoor, more relaxing and cooler shopping experience. It is the world’s tallest ‘free-standing tower’ at 634m with two observation decks overlooking Tokyo with a spectacular panoramic view. A large shopping complex and an aquarium are located on the base.
If you only have time to visit one temple then the Sensoji Temple located in Asakusa will be the perfect choice. This is Tokyo’s oldest and one of the most popular yet most colourful temples. It is hard to miss this temple as it has a big red lantern with Japanese wordings written in black hanging in front of the main entrance. Upon entering, visitors will be greeted with a 200 meters shopping street called Nakamise that have interesting small shops selling from typical Japanese souvenirs such as folding fans, chopsticks, etc., to local traditional hand made snacks. Only after walking through the centuries old shopping street then one will approach the main hall and the five starred pagoda. There are many events held throughout the year here and the annual festival of the Asakusa Shrine, the Sanjay Matsui held in May is the biggest.