Old and new collide in Tokyo, Japan’s dazzling metropolis and capital city that spreads out in a seemingly endless sprawl. Take a look at some of the city’s cultural icons and hidden gems.
On clear days, it’s possible to see Mount Fuji, Japan’s tallest peak, from many an observation deck throughout Tokyo.
The Jimbocho ward is home to a cluster of universities and, therefore, a healthy demand for books. The neighborhood is now one of the largest bookshop districts on the planet, with some 200 bookstores.
As many as 2,500 people make their way across Shibuya Crossing (a.k.a. the Shibuya Scramble) in Tokyo every two minutes at its busiest times, making it one of the world’s busiest intersections.
For the best views and photo ops of the busy Shibuya Crossing, head to the observation deck of Shibuya Scramble Square. Visitors enjoy 360-degree views of the surrounding city.
No trip to Tokyo would be complete without a meal of yakitori: grilled chicken skewers cooked to order over charcoal. This inexpensive dish is typically served alongside a glass of cold beer.
Step back in time in Tokyo with a stroll down Harmonica Alley. This narrow warren of alleys and covered streets, illuminated by red lanterns, is a popular spot for after-work drinks and snacks.
Spend some time wandering around Harajuku Station, and you’ll likely come face to face with Japan’s teenage fashion culture. Takeshita Street is a hub for trend-setting youth.
Visitors to Tokyo might be surprised to see an icon much more closely associated with the United States. A smaller replica of the Statue of Liberty sits along the waterfront in Odaiba.
Like many of the world’s great cities, Tokyo has its own iconic bridge: the Rainbow Bridge linking Odaiba and Shibaura Pier. Once the sun goes down, the bridge lights up with multi-hued lights.
For a modern metropolis, Tokyo has a number of appealing green spaces. Inokashira Park ranks among the best, with a pond, row boats, wooded walking paths and a shrine to one of Japan’s lucky gods.
The Japanese archipelago remains volcanically active, and that activity has created mineral hot springs. You don’t have to stray far from Tokyo to enjoy a soak in one of these traditional onsen.
People looking for some retail therapy won’t have to look far in Tokyo. For some one-stop shopping, head to the open-air Ameyoko market, where you’ll a bit of everything, all at famously cheap prices.
Tokyo’s bustling Akihabara district is ground zero for otaku culture. Shoppers will find numerous shops and boutiques dedicated to anime and manga, as well as electronics.
Bonsai, potted miniature trees, have garnered popularity around the world, but they originated in Japan. Keep an eye out for them as you wander around town.
Springtime means one thing in Japan: cherry blossoms. Chidorigafuchi ranks among the best viewing spots in Tokyo, with more than 260 sakura trees of several varieties.
Cherry blossoms aren’t the only thing blooming in Tokyo. Nezu Shrine hosts the Azalea Festival each spring, when the shrine’s 3,000 azalea plants are in full bloom.
Come autumn, Tokyo’s ginkgo trees turn a bright golden color. Many Tokyo streets have the trees growing on either side, creating tunnels of fall foliage.