You can ask me which areas are the best to go in Tokyo, I would immediately tell at least 5 of them. As I mentioned in the last post Tokyo doesn’t have an actual center, every neighborhood has its own characteristic. Let’s see what are those, illustrated with some pictures!
Pulsing energy, colors, neon advertisements, hipster coffee places, shopping and crowd. These are the words come to my mind the first thinking of Shibuya. In one of the crossing, there are usually 2000 people passing by next to you during the green light. That’s something you should experience. Sometimes I just like to walk around these streets, listening to the noises, passing in front of the tons of restaurants and feel the vibration in the air around me.
As Tokyo’s size, its neighborhoods are giant as well, Shibuya has some of its own areas, that you should visit:
Chic style in Shibuya, you can find tiny streets with cute shops, coffee places and of course Apple Store, luxury brands, but on the busy side along with people who adore shopping.
More relaxed, easy-going area, we were really lucky to spend one whole month here. Positive thing that you can easily reach many neighborhoods from here within minutes. In Tokyo the public transport is a lifesaver, and really efficient, it’s easy to get used to it, and then you can’t stop. It’s worth to buy a Suica or Pasmo card, what you can easily top up with some money, therefore you don’t need to count the stops, prices especially if you need to change between lines. You can use busses, even you can buy something in the convenience stores.
Ebisu has its own beer: Yebisu, try it!
In the last couple of years the Japanese brewing system has developed a lot, nowadays they receive prizes for their beers because of the good quality. That what it happened with the coffee as well. Years ago tourists were complaining that Japanese coffee is very bad, undrinkable, now you can’t go wrong with it! In the next posts I’m gonna write about food, drinks, and coffee too.
In case you’re an anime lover, you should hang out in this area. Probably you gonna meet some interesting people there, and you can try the amazing street food.
Before we arrived to Japan, I had some fears because of the big city. Knowing that the population is over 30 millions, I expected constant crowd, noise and disturbance. We were at the airport and the silence around us was incredible, even we were not alone (of course). Imagine the deepest silence maybe you ever experienced, in a park right across from Shibuya, in a metropolis like Tokyo, incredible.
The parks, gardens have a big importance in Japan. The government started a program in the end of the 80’s, called forest bathing (Shinrin-yoku). They encourage Japanese to go into forests, parks, nature and spend time there frequently. Based on researches being in nature can reduce stress and strengthen the immune system. Yes, that’s one of the reason i think Japan is the best country.
As a child I loved the books about history, geography. I liked the different cultures tales, architecture, and I always wondered about going to those places when I’m grown-up. The child inside me couldn’t be even happier these days, in the last years I got to see so many places, collected lot of memories. Arriving to Japan, she was clearly excited, she can finally see the buddhist temples, houses, cherry trees, and everything she ever thought, or saw in her books.
Asakusa is the old city of Japan, a time travel, and one of my personal favorite. Plan with at least a day here to have time enjoy the whole experience.
When we visit the buddhist temples, I’m usually just staring, there are no words, just deep gratitude that I can see them. I’m “big fan” of the eastern religions and the calmness. I think lot of people could benefit from the buddhist way to work with the mind (or actually not let it lead it), it’s not a big surprise that these days meditation became that popular, there’s too much violence, stress around us, which cannot lead to any good thing.
Asakusa’s other big strength is food. You can find amazing restaurants offering : ramen, sushi, dumplings, vietnamese, indian, etc. for a good price.
If you feel the rhythm, go up on the Sky Tree. With the height of 634 m, the tower has an ultimate view to the town of Tokyo. The price is not cheap, but it’s worth it. You can save on going just until the first observatory, but to tell you the truth, I would spend that extra 1000 yen to go more up . Here’s a tip: go, when the weather is clear, there is more chance that you can see Mt. Fuji, the and best timing is before sunset, them you can watch with some others how the sun is falling slowly behind the mountain.
A bit like Sjibuya, but also different. Electronic stores with 7-8 floors, massive culture, food and skyscrapers. Shinjuku station is serving the most people in Tokyo, so expect some crowd there.
Besides lot of things you should visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, there you can enjoy a full view of Tokyo as far you can see. As I said at the Sky Tree, the best time to visit observatories is before sunset
Shinjuku is really a lively area, if you like to play, you should visit one of the arcades, you can play many video games for 100-200 jpy. Our favorite is Mario Kart, and the drum game, this one is even more fun, because you can only choose from japanese songs, and the harder ones are equal to a visit in the gym.
Next time you can read about more areas. I hope you didn’t believe there are just 3 of them. 🙂
Are you interested in more posts about Japan? Here you can find them:
- Tokyo Neighbourhood Guide – Part 2,
- 10 surprising things in Tokyo
- Top 10 Japanese Foods You Must Try