Tokyo is one of the most famous cities in the world and for good reason – amazing culture, stunning landmarks, and beautiful gardens are abundant throughout the city.
It’s also a microcosm of Japan, where the hypermodern sits easily alongside the traditional. You can go for an early morning visit to an ancient temple, then marvel at its gleaming skyscrapers in the afternoon, before ending the day with a bowl of noodles in a tiny izakaya.
Tokyo Skytree is one of the tallest towers in Japan and has two observation decks which offer some of the best views over the city. It also has a few attractions and shops in the vicinity of its base, making it a must-visit for any visitor to Tokyo.
Unlike many tall buildings, the Tokyo Skytree is not just designed to function as a broadcasting tower but is also a major tourist attraction. Its two observation decks at 350 and 450 meters, respectively, offer spectacular panoramic views of the city.
Aside from its main role of providing stable radio waves to the Kanto area, it has an extensive cloud and lightning observation function. This is useful for scientific research, especially in light of the area’s frequent earthquakes and typhoons.
The building is painted in a unique color called “Skytree White”, which resembles traditional Japanese blue. It also has a few special lighting patterns, such as the traditional Edo purple and gold illuminations, as well as Valentine’s Day.
Shibuya Crossing is one of Tokyo’s most popular districts, a shopping and dining mecca. It’s also known for its lively energy and fun vibe.
The area’s streets are the birthplace to many of Japan’s fashion and entertainment trends, and are home to a range of department stores and retail outlets. You’ll find longtime trend setters such as Shibuya 109, along with a street called Center Gai that’s lined with youth subculture hotspots like izakaya, pachinko parlours and fast food.
During rainy days, Shibuya Crossing is an unforgettable spectacle: umbrellas scramble against each other in a few minutes of confusion as the lights change direction. It’s one of the most popular places for photography, with the plexiglass-screened Mag’s Park arguably offering the best views of the frenetic intersection.
On exiting Shibuya Station, you’ll also see a statue of Hachiko, the dog who waited for his master at the train station for nine years, nine months and 15 days before he died. He’s a beloved icon of the district, and the Hachiko mascot can be found on countless buses and vending machines throughout the city.
Tsukiji Fish Market
If you’re a foodie, Tsukiji Fish Market is a must-see. This massive wholesale market is one of Tokyo’s top attractions and attracts thousands of visitors each day.
This popular area is a busy place and is best explored in the morning when it’s most alive. Tours are available that take you around the stalls and allow you to sample some of the seafood on offer.
Despite its reputation as a tuna auction, the inner part of Tsukiji (famed for this) closed in 2018 and relocated to Toyosu; however, the outer market is still bustling and full of dozens of food stalls and restaurants offering fresh seafood dishes.
Aside from the stalls and restaurants, Tsukiji is also home to a shrine that dates back to the time of the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923. The shrine, Namiyoke Inari Shrine, is a traditional shrine where many locals pay their respects.
Tokyo Station is the main hub for inter-city railways, serving a wide variety of high-speed Shinkansen trains and regional commuter lines. It also links up with Tokyo Metro’s Otemachi subway system.
A major renovation was completed in 2012, restoring the original red and white brick design by architect Tatsuno Kingo to its former glory. The Neo-Baroque inspired ceilings under the large domes are a highlight, with warm yellows and unusual eagle and zodiac designs.
The building has several interesting attractions inside, including the Tokyo Station Gallery run by the East Japan Railway Culture Foundation. It hosts about five exhibitions a year on modern art, often with themes related to Tokyo Station itself.
There’s also a helpful JR East travel service center in the Marunouchi side of the station, where you can get currency exchange and luggage storage services. It’s also a good place to get your bearings before catching a train.