There is much to tell the world about the country of the highest landmass in the west coast of Europe, and a lesser known but equally beautiful island in Asia that is still full of natural beauty. As you walk down the streets or explore Tokyo, let’s talk about some places that people should visit when they’re here in Japan!
It’s pretty easy to see why Tokyo has always been referred to as “Silicon Land,” considering how much it has grown over the centuries and has a long history. The city has never looked so modern, with its futuristic buildings and many different types of shops and restaurants. While most tourists wouldn’t think twice about going there for shopping, especially at night time, and there will be plenty of opportunity to explore this modern city. It’s also worth mentioning that if you’re looking to go out and enjoy nature with your group of friends then there are plenty of places to do this around Japan. For those who are interested in being outdoorsy people and exploring their surroundings, then there are two great spots to visit in Tokyo.
Tokyo Subway- Take the bullet train from Shinjuku station to Shinjuku station on the underground metro system. Most trains run between 7PM-11AM and 9PM-1AM depending upon the time of day and how much time you have. With an extra fee of 1.75 JPY, and with a limited number of seats, Tokyo Subway can only accommodate up to eight people, which is far more than what I would have expected considering it’s such a small area. If you’re looking for something larger, then you could opt for the Chuo Line that stops on Otsuka. Although neither of these options really has any type of food available. However, they both offer great views.
If you want to try something different then you can find ways to live life and enjoy a bit more without living up to society’s expectations by simply getting the subway or even walking into a new restaurant. Just be careful not to spend too much money and get yourself some good tasting food to enjoy while you’re out. You could use Tokyo Subway to access many other areas of Tokyo, including the Imperial Palace and Hakata Zoum Seiji Shrine. This way you get to witness one of the greatest historical sites to date while also enjoying the view of some gorgeous palace buildings. Be sure to get past the big statue (which is located on top of the Imperial Palace) and you’ll end up finding another place to pay your respects to Emperor Baidu, who ruled China in the 11th century.
If you’re lucky enough to obtain tickets to the Jindaiya Temple, then you can go inside and see all the famous Buddhist statues that have stood there for centuries. Also, consider checking out the shrine grounds to see the remains of Zen Buddhism in ancient times while taking the stairs to visit the temple. Aside from the main temple, it’ll be your pleasure to watch all the old photographs that the former Samurai or Monks took of the garden and the Japanese traditions. That could give you ideas on how to make your own photography.
If you want to experience Tokyo’s rich culture, then visit the National Museum of Modern Art, which is situated in the central part of the city. Not just the collection from various countries around the globe, but pieces by Picasso, Koonsaku, Matisse, and many others. Here you can experience one of the oldest museums in the world along with beautiful works of art ranging from ceramics, sculptures, photography, film, and even literature. Many of the items in this museum have already been imported from various countries around the globe, so it is definitely worth your trip to see them before they become expensive.
You should also check out the Sanrio Museum, which houses several exhibits inside the building like the Japanese flag, kabuki, and the history behind popular American comic books/movies. Since I was born in the United States, my parents have also seen lots of things, whether it’s in person or through their children, so they definitely have some knowledge about the Japanese cultures and traditions and it’s nice to know. Also, remember you can catch a ferry from the Imperial Palace to the zoo of the Monkey King.
If you’re not able to buy tickets for your tour, then you can rent bikes from around the whole city. Remember, you can purchase some free bicycles for hire in front of the tourist information centers at various places and the rental cost is very affordable. On top of the bicycles, there is also free Wi-Fi in some of them so it’ll be easier to have communication while traveling around Tokyo.
If you want to bring your travel bags and clothes, then it’s advisable to rent a cute teddy bear to take out with you next time. Yes indeed, cuddly are often quite useful during vacation days in Japan for making memories while seeing beautiful monuments and visiting attractions. If you want to try bringing your purse, then renting a large puffer jacket can be a great idea and can save you a lot in the long run when you are having to go with souvenir bottles of sakari.
As mentioned earlier, you can rent a canoe to go surfing around Tokyo Bay after you purchase tickets. These can be found near many parts of the town where the water is clear enough to go surf in the ocean. They’re also handy while hiking around the city. If you want to avoid the crowded beaches, you can take a boat to visit some nearby islands. But you can’t really rent boats and visit more tourist places as the water in the bay is extremely salty and dangerous from pollution, so don’t try anything fancy like renting one of those.
As for transportation, cars are allowed while using public transit or using the elevators and escalators but don’t forget to bring your own water bottle. Some buses will charge you extra, so choose carefully when taking public transport. And if you’re willing to be patient, a sub for a car might be your best bet when going downtown without having to worry about running out of gas. So consider taking a local taxi or ride-sharing service to go somewhere downtown. Or if you just want to go shopping, then you can park a bicycle everywhere except for going outside the metropolitan area to take the bus or the Elevator/Interchange, and then you could easily find a bike anytime you need to go somewhere in Tokyo.
So what about travelling? Well for some reason, I thought it’d be cool to share some of my favorite places to visit in both Tokyo and Kyoto. Let’s start with Kyoto since that’s the capital of Japan. Even though it’s a smaller city compared to Tokyo, I’m sure it would be easy to get lost in the scenery of this large metropolis.
Kyoto Station – Take the Kyogoku line from JR East Gate Station and JR Central Station, and you’ll arrive at Kyoto Station right away. Located at 2-Tsubo Road, the building consists of a huge concrete structure topped by a giant metal plate that looks like the sky. I’ve stayed there for three times because of the breathtaking view of the city and the surrounding mountains. If you haven’t yet visited Kyoto, I highly recommend you do so!
Eboshi Castle- You can walk through the castle and discover amazing structures to admire at Eboshi Castle. I visited at least four times and I think that it’s probably the largest castle in Japan. This castle offers more than 100 rooms, and several stories to immerse myself and relax in it. There’s also also a playground where kids can play and entertain themselves. You can also enjoy a few meals at the elegant dining hall and take photos from the unique interior design.
Chinanagae – This is an incredibly popular spot in central Tokyo, but even after walking into the impressive Chinanagae Market, you can’t miss to look at Minamisato Museum or learn about the unique lives of artists in the 20th century. The museum is so full with artistic and unusual materials and exhibits from the 19th century to today. Plus, there are plenty of unique booths and other stores to explore. Besides taking a pleasant stroll around the market, I’d suggest you take a break to the nearby mall and buy some goodies for yourself like sweets or beverages.
Akihabara Shrine- This place seems to have everything and more. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time because of its unique architectural style of construction. Indeed, this place appears to belong to a previous era because of that. At first sight, the whole area looks like a maze of carved stone, leaving visitors to wonder what went into creating it all. Once you get there, you’ll notice that the ground floor is completely covered in stone, which makes me wonder if the entire building was built by hand. A place to enjoy leisure time during your weekend, you can visit this important shrine, which serves as the mausoleum of Shigemori Hayashi-Nogi who was popularly called the “father of modern Japanese painting” in the 18 th and 19 th centuries.
There are even more places to visit in Kyoto than in Tokyo so it would be wise to plan ahead and book a flight beforehand. This will allow you to cover your entire schedule due to the constant flights being arranged once or twice a week. So consider adding some time to your stay within the last few hours before the plane leaves. Do you think this is worth it? I hope you gave this post a good read and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did while staying here in Kyoto.