When most travelers think of Japan, they think of Tokyo, with its alluring blend of past and present. In fact, seven of Japan’s most visited attractions can be found in Tokyo. It’s difficult to narrow down this city’s thrilling attractions to just a few must-sees, but here are some of the city’s top attractions to get your sightseeing started.
The Imperial Palace
This majestic palace is the official residence of the Japanese Emperor and home to the royal family. Originally constructed in the 19th century, the palace was also once the site of Edo Castle, residence of the shogun and military of capital of Japan during the Edo period. Surrounded by gardens, museums and ancient stone bridges, the Imperial Palace is one of Japan’s most important cultural and historical landmarks.
If you’ve come to Tokyo to see Japan’s legendary advanced technology, then your first stop should be in Akihabara. Also known as Akiba, the area is famous for its shops selling electronic goods and Japanese pop culture memorabilia. You can shop for cell phones, computers, computer parts, and everything else associated with internet and multimedia, or simply wander the neon-lit streets after dark and be mesmerized.
Ueno Park houses numerous shrines, temples, galleries, and museums, making it one of the best places in Tokyo to get a feel for Japanese culture. The park is also home to street shops and food vendors, so it’s almost always busy with tourists visiting the Tokyo National Museum and the Toshogu Shrine, as well as shoppers hunting for bargains. Ueno Park is well-known for its cherry blossoms, which attract thousands of visitors every early April.
The Ginza neighborhood is one of Tokyo’s most famous shopping districts, home to upscale shops selling both Japanese and foreign goods, as well as restaurants, art galleries, night clubs and cafes. The fourth most visited place in Tokyo, most shops are open every day, but the neighborhood is best visited on weekend afternoons when the main street is closed to non-pedestrian traffic.
Longing to get your hands on the newest and the latest in Japanese fashion? Or maybe you just want to people-watch and see some of Japan’s edgiest street fashion in person. In Harajuku, you’ll find shops selling teenage fashion styles, particularly along Takeshita Street, which is lined with numerous trendy shops, fast food joints, fashion boutiques, crepe stands, and used clothing stores. On Sundays, anime fans engage in “cosplay” around the station, which is a great opportunity to see and experience anime fashion at its most extreme. Harajuku is also home to some historic attractions, including the much-loved Meiji Shrine.