Tokyo: Ancient to Modern



Description:

Tokyo is a full-fledged megalopolis, teeming with sights to see and places to visit. Add to that a labyrinthian transportation network, crowds to make even the most seasoned city-dweller gape, and endless layers of hidden treasures, and you have one of the most ambitious destinations in the world. To ensure that your first trip is not overwhelming, take some time to piece the city into bite-sized chunks and key destinations. You'll end up with a satisfying overview that you won't soon forget. Staying in Asakusa offers a couple advantages. First, it's on the east side of the city, more convenient for the traveller coming in from Narita airport. Second, it's the heart of Tokyo's traditional culture, and offers a quiet, comfortable respite from the city's hustle and bustle.

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Author: Alex


Day 1 - Tokyo


Your first day takes you from the very old to the very new. Kikuya Ryokan provides a satisfying, traditional Japanese breakfast of rice, fish, and miso soup for a very reasonable price. After fueling up, hit the streets of Asakusa right next door and tour the main drag of vending stalls leading up to Senso-ji Temple. Munch on some freshly cooked sembei (rice crackers) while perusing all those kitschy Japanese souvenirs to take back for your friends. At the temple, pay your respects and don't forget to pick up a fortune (in English) from the little stand to the left of the altar – locals insist that the ones here make only the most reliable predictions. When you've had your fill of old Tokyo, hop over to the Sumida River and take a cruise on the water bus. It will take you under the river's famous bridges and gives you a great overview of the city's skyline. Go all the way to ultra-modern Odaiba, a man-made island with a completely different take on Tokyo. Here, go to the Miraikan Museum (http://www.miraikan.jst.go.jp/en/) for a look into the future. Don't miss the 3D Dome Theater on the 6th floor; tickets are free, but get snatched up quickly. Head to Icho for a romantic dinner, and then walk down to Odaiba's beach to watch the sun set behind Tokyo. Board the Yurikamome monorail at Tokyo Teleport station and head back to the mainland across Rainbow Bridge. You'll end up at Shimbashi station, where you can make a quick hop on the Toei Asakusa line back to your hotel.


1

Kikuya Ryokan

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Location:

2-18-9 Nishi-Asakusa
Taito-ku
111-0035 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3841 4051
fax: +81 (0)3 3841 6404


2

Senso-Ji Temple

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Location:

2-3-1 Asakusa
Taito-ku
111-0032 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3842 0181


3

Asakusa Shrine

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Location:

2-3-1 Asakusa
Taito-ku
111-0032 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3844 1575
fax: +81 (0)3 3841 2020


4

Tokyo Bay Harbor Cruise

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Location:

Hinode Pier, 2-7 Kaigan
Minato-ku
105-0022 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3457 7830


5

Icho

Location:

Hotel Nikko Tokyo
1-9-1 Daiba, Minato-ku
135-8625 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 5500 5500
fax: +81 3 5500 2525


6

Rainbow Bridge

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Location:

Tokyo Bay
Minato-ku
105-0023 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3301 3331


Day 2 - Tokyo


Today you'll start early... really early. Your goal is to take in the Tsukiji Central Fish Market, Tokyo's lively, chaotic peddling paradise for everything aquatic and edible. Recently re-opened to the public, and scheduled to be moved to a new location in 2012, Tsukiji is not to be missed. The fish auctions (the real sight to be seen) start around 5am, and the action comes to an end before 8am. Not so inconvenient if you're suffering from jet-lag. Take the earliest Asakusa line train to Ningyocho and change to the Hibiya line to Tsukiji. Tradition calls for a sushi breakfast at any of the market's surrounding restaurants. Although you won't find the lowest prices here, locals insist that the price-to-quality ratio of the sushi here is the best to be found in Tokyo. After breakfast, take in a couple temples, and be on your way. Your hectic, early morning calls for a relaxing, rewarding remainder for the day. It's a quick skip to Tokyo station, where you can take in the city's historic transportation hub and see a great early example of Western architecture in an Asian capital. The station is undergoing some renovation right now, but the building's exterior and surrounding historic Marunouchi neighborhood are well worth a look. From here, it's a pleasant stroll over to the Imperial Palace, where you shouldn't miss the gardens. If you happen to be there on the 23rd of December, the Emperor's birthday, you'll get access to the inner palace and even a speech from the man himself.


1

Daiwa Sushi

Location:

Tsukiji Market Building No.6
No.6 Chuo Shijo Building
Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 3 3479 5820


2

Tsukiji Honganji Temple

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Location:

5-2-1 Tsukiji
Chuo-ku
104-8435 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3541 1131
fax: +81 (0)3 3541 7071


3

Sumiyoshi Jinja Shrine

Location:

9-88 Ueno Park
Chuo-ku
104-0051 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3531 3500


4

Tokyo Station

Location:

Marunouchi 1-chome
Chiyoda-ku
100-0005 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 50 2016 1603


5

Imperial Palace jogging course

Location:

Chiyoda-ku
Chiyoda-ku
various Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3201 3331 (Tourist Information)


6

Imperial Palace

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Location:

Kokyo Higashi Gaien
Chiyoda-ku
100-0001 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3213 1111


Day 3 - Tokyo


You've spent two days exploring eastern and central Tokyo; now it's time to dive in to the trendy, fast-paced west. Shibuya and Shinjuku are two of the cities hottest neighborhoods, and they're close enough to each other for a walk, speckled with plenty of sights along the way. Start at Shibuya station, and through famous Hachiko Crossing to Center Gai, Shibuya's packed and dazzling shopping street. Up the street a way, you'll find the Shibuya location of Tokyu Hands, billing itself as Tokyo's “Creative Life Store.” Stop in for floors and floors of oh-so-Japanese gadgets and do-it-yourself projects. There's even a whole floor dedicated to model kits. Head north on Omotesando Dori and eventually you'll come to – where else? - Omotesando, where you'll want to loiter for a while, taking in the ultra-chic boutiques along the pleasant, tree-lined street. Just past Omotesando is Harajuku: hipster heaven. Follow the crowds down some of the districts small streets, but don't stay too long: there's much more ahead of you. Harajuku straddles Yoyogi Park, Tokyo's largest and home to Meiji Shrine – Tokyo's most famous. The shrine can be viewed quickly, leaving you some time to inch your way through Yoyogi's expansive grounds. If you continue heading north, eventually you'll end up in Shinjuku – hopefully just in time to catch the evening awakening of eastern Shinjuku (or, Kabukicho). Finish off your day in Nishi-Shinjuku (the skyscraper district) at Kuu, for some classy Japanese nibbles and sake with a stunning view of all that turf you just crossed.


1

Hachiko Statue

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Location:

Hachiko Plaza
Shibuya, Shibuya-ku
150-0000 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 3 5321 3077


2

Shibuya

Location:

Area around Shibuya Station
Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 03 5321 3077


3

Dior Omotesando Building

Location:

Jingumae 5-9-11, Shibuya-ku
150-0001 Tokyo, Japan


4

Harajuku

Location:

Area around Harajuku Station
Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 3 5321 3077


5

Yoyogi Park

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Location:

2-1 Yoyogi-Kamizono-cho
Shibuya-ku
151-0052 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3469 6081


6

Meiji Jingu Shrine

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Location:

1-1 Kamizono-cho
Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku
151-0053 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3379 5511


7

Yoyogi Hachimangu Shrine

Location:

5-1-1 Yoyogi
Shibuya-ku
151-0053 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3201 1331 (tourist info)


8

Kuu

Location:

Nishi-Shinjuku 2-6-1
Shinjuku Sumitomo Building, Fiftieth Floor
163-0212 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 3 3344 6457


Day 4 - Tokyo


Ebisu and Daikanyama, situated just south of Shibuya, offer a decidedly more upscale walking tour than the one you took yesterday. Start at JR Ebisu station and out the East exit to the Skywalk. You'll soon hit the Ebisu Garden Place, a beautifully designed study in urban planning. Here, you shouldn't miss the Yebisu Beer Museum. Although the museum isn't all that big, it offers a quick look into Tokyo's early-20th century history. A beer tasting room downstairs serves up a wide selection of Yebisu's gourmet brews. Get the tasting selection to add a boozy kick to the rest of your tour. Now it's back to the station for lunch. Ippudo (Hiroo 1-3-13) is perhaps the best-loved ramen shop in Japan, and for an authentic Tokyo lunch experience, it's hard to beat. Plus, it's only a 5-minute walk from the station, so go there and order a bowl of their pork-based soup and thin noodles. Back through the JR station, take the West exit and trek up to Daikanyama. This playground for the privileged is where in-the-know Tokyoites seek out funky restaurants, chic boutiques, and original wares. Get your shop on and lose yourself in the narrow, twisting alleys and quaint scenery that this hidden gem of a neighborhood has to offer. Head to the Miyako Hotel for a rewarding, traditional dining experience that will please everybody, then settle in to the Tableaux Lounge and rest those aching puppies to the tune of some classy jazz and a cigar.


1

Yebisu Garden Place

Location:

Ebisu Gardens
Shibuya-ku
150-6090 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 5489 3670


2

Beer Museum Yebisu

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expert pick

Location:

4-20-1 Ebisu
Yebisu Garden Place, Shibuya-ku
153-0062 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 5473 7255


3

Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography Museum Shop

Location:

Ebisu Garden Place
1-13-3 Mita , Meguro-ku
153-0062 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3280 0099


4

Miyako Hotel Tokyo

Location:

1-1-50 Shirokanedai 1-chome
Minato-ku
108-8640 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3447 3111
fax: +81 (0)3 3447 3133


5

Tableaux Lounge

Location:

Sunroser Daikanyama B1
11-6 Sarugaku-cho, Shibuya-ku
150-0033 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 3 5489 2202


Day 5 - Tokyo


Your last day on your first Tokyo trip should be spent taking in every last drop of culture and history that you may have missed so far. Get one last feel for Tokyo's famous old/modern dichotomy by hitting Akihabara and Ueno. Head to Ueno Park – Tokyo's oldest public park – first. The sprawling, well-kept, beautiful grounds make for a pleasant morning stroll, especially during hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season. It's a logical choice for the culture vulture, as it is home to numerous temples and shrines, and some of Tokyo's most important museums, all in an easily covered space. If you wish, you can also rent a boat to tour the large pond at the park's south end. There is a lot to see here, and the National Museum in particular is not to be missed, but be careful as most museums close at 5pm. After Ueno, hop on the Hibiya line for 3 minutes to Akihabara, Tokyo's “Electric City.” Although other neighborhoods now rival Akihabara for sheer quantity of electronics stores, this is still the place for hardcore electronics shoppers. A two-story arcade underneath the JR tracks houses everything from LED lights to antique Walkmans. Walking Akihabara in the evening is the ideal time to get a feel for Japan's otaku (uber-geek) culture; manga cafes, funky/alternative toy stores, and video game arcades abound. The Franziskaner Bar & Grill is just a short walk away, near Ochanomizu station. Drink away the day's walking and indulge in some excellent sausages: something you've probably missed in Tokyo. After the last few days trekking Tokyo, it's time for your final reward: a well-deserved and infinitely relaxing soak in a traditional sento (Japanese-style bathhouse). Jakotsu-yu is close enough to your home-base for a wobbly walk to your room on jelly legs.


2

Ueno Park

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Location:

Ueno Koen
Taito-ku
110-0007 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3201 3331 (Tourist information)


3

Kiyomizudo Temple

Location:

1 Ueno Koen
Taito-ku
110-0007 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3201 1331 (Tourist Information)


4

Bentendo Temple

Location:

2 Ueno Koen
110-0007 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 3 5321 3077


5

Tokyo National Museum

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Location:

13-9 Ueno Park
110-0007 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3822 1111
fax: +81 (0)3 3821 9680 (Business development section)


6

National Science Museum

Location:

7-20 Ueno Park
110-8718 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 3 3822 0111


7

Shitamachi Museum

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Location:

2-1 Ueno Koen
Taito-ku
110-0007 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3823 7451
fax: +81 3 3823 3870


8

Ueno Zoo

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Location:

9-83 Ueno Park
Taito-ku
110-0005 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3828 5171


9

Akihabara

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Location:

Soto-Kanda 1,3 & 4-chome
101-0021 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 3 3201 3331


11

Sato Musen

Location:

1-15-9 Sotokanda
Chiyoda-Ku
101-0021 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3253 5171
fax: +81 (0)3 3253 2749


12

Franziskaner Bar & Grill

Location:

3-1 Kanda-surugadai
Zato Building
103-8520 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 3 5283 6846


13

Jakotsu-yu

Location:

1-11-11 Asakusa
Taito-ku
111-0032 Tokyo, Japan

Contact:

tel: +81 (0)3 3841 8645


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