Tokyo

Donovan Leong
Apr 7
Tokyo is the world's largest metropolis. While you can feel the greatness of these surroundings from anywhere in Tokyo, the grandeur of its cityscape is best viewed from above.

Ueno is accessible from either the JR Yamanote or Keihin-Tohoku lines. You can also catch the train directly to Narita airport from here. The Park is directly across from the train station.

If on a budget, do try staying at one of the capsule hotels around Tokyo for a truly unique experience. Situated a five-minute walk from Ueno and Okachimachi stations or a three-minute walk from Ueno and Naka-Okachimachi stations on the Tokyo Metro Line, The Nell offers great accessibility. It costs about $30 a night and has all the amenities available, such as wifi, charging points, bag storage.

Start your day at the Imperial Palace.  The Imperial Palace, where their Majesties the Emperor and Empress reside, is situated in the center of Tokyo. The palace is surrounded by a water-filled moat and tree-covered grounds - a precious taste of nature within the bustling metropolitan city. The outer gardens are all open to the public free of charge.

This is a good place in Shinjuku to enjoy the free observation decks which provide good panoramic views of Tokyo and beyond. The 243 meter tall building has two towers, and each houses an observatory at a height of 202 meters. It used to be the tallest building in Tokyo.

It is a television broadcasting tower and landmark of Tokyo. The highlight of the Tokyo Skytree is its two observation decks which offer spectacular views out over Tokyo. You can see the whole downtown area of Tokyo from the observation deck.

Asakusa is one of the most historical districts of Tokyo, with plenty of old buildings wedged between modern restaurants and apartments. The Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) is one of the most iconic Japanese landmarks. While it is very touristy, do check out the cool souvenirs on offer.

The long shopping street leads to Sensoji, the striking red temple, a great place to sit, relax and watch the locals. There are often market stalls here that sell cheap street food including Takoyaki (octopus balls) and noodles. Across the river is the Asahi Beer factory, otherwise known as the golden turd. There are great views over the river, especially at night.

The most famous crossing in Tokyo and a good place to do a time lapse video. Sit at Starbucks on the second floor and watch people cross in all 8 directions. It would be a shame to come to Tokyo and not take a walk across the famous intersection outside Shibuya Station. On sunny afternoons or clear evenings, the surrounding area is packed with shoppers, students, young couples and commuters. There are also some nice places in this area for dinner, after which you can indulge in some shopping too. 

The Meiji shrine is Tokyo's most famous Shinto shrine which is wonderfully serene and austere. It is not colorful or flashy like other Asian places of worship, and is less of a tourist trap than Senso-ji, the big Buddhist temple across town in Asakusa.

Shinjuku is the young and hipster area. In late March and early April, cherry blossom season, the central lawn areas of the garden are particularly stunning. Consider bringing a picnic lunch. You can buy a variety of take-away items at the gourmet food hall in the basement level of Takashimaya department store, just south of the Shinjuku Station

Do some last minute shopping at this place, known for cheap snacks and Japanese stuff to bring home. Many Asian tourists come here to stock up on goodies, and when I was there I bought countless green tea stuff because they are so good and much cheaper than back home.

Also, take a stroll to nearby Ueno park to enjoy the cherry blossoms if you come in spring. It is a nice relaxing area. 

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