The area within and right around the JR Yamanote train loop is a mish-mash of government and corporate offices, landmarks (like Tokyo Tower and the Imperial Palace), and shopping districts (like Tokyo Mid-Town) that can be best described as Central Tokyo. It's the heart of Tokyo, hosting some of the city's most important sights, even if it's difficult to pin a single characteristic on this urban core.
One standout neighborhood here is Marunouchi, Tokyo's oldest financial district. This is a place clearly built to compete with the West: the broad, tree-line avenues and boulevards packed with modern boutiques and shopping arcades seem a bit out of place in Tokyo. Tokyo Station – an impressive example of classical western architecture smack dab in the middle of town – is also in Marunouchi. It's home to the impressive Shin Marunouchi Building, home to over 150 stores.
Most people come to central Tokyo to work in the big centers like Marunouchi, Akasaka, and Aoyamaitchome, but there is one Tokyo celebrity who actually lives here: the Emperor. His digs take up a huge plot of land right in the center of the Yamanote loop, and even the subway lines don't dare encroach on his territory. Come here on the Emperor's birthday (December 23rd) or New Year's Day to gain rare access to the inner palace grounds.
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