A quick guide to Tokyo's neighborhoods

10:32 AM

As a travel writer, I always want to see every single thing available in the cities I visit. Believe me, in Tokyo it is impossible. No matter how many days you are ging to spend there, you will only see the whole city only if you dedicate a full year or so! 

The best way to see a great part of Tokyo is to explore it by neighborhoods. So here we go, this little neighborhood guide will definitely help you and sum up the most important things to see and do. 

Check it out! 


SHINJUKU: the lively neighborhood

One of the most lively districts in Tokyo is undoubtedly Shinjuku. The heart of nightlife but also a place of great tourist attractions you will pass through it various times. Here you will find Tokyo Metropolitan Government building, the (very touristic) bars of Golden-Gai, the Robot restaurant and many department stores

This is the great view from the observatory on the 45th floor of Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Admission is free, check hours of opening at their official web site. 
Shinjuku area is full of bars and restaurants and is never silent or sleeping. 
The kitsch lobby of Robot restaurant. Being a tourist trap and given its price 80 euros per person, is does not really worth. Full description of our experience is coming up to one of my next posts. 

HARAJUKU: live your kawaii dream

The most typical japanese district (and my favourite one) is Harajuku and especially Takeshita street, the heart of kawaii style. A street full of quirky shops, with lots of young people, eateries, the famous Santa Monica crepes and a colorful lifestyle. It is the most exciting district to shop, eat amazing sweets, watch locals passing by and spot their style. 
Here you will find Santa Monica crepes, Marion crepes, Sweet box, Cute Cube department store, Pompurin cafe, 6% Doki Doki, Totti Candy factory, Zaku Zaku Harajuku, Candye Color Hairsalon.

At the lower part of Takeshita street, there is a Harajuku Tourist Information Center. Pay a visit for useful maps and information. Also you can find some funny souvenirs.
A very famous cafe of a very famous kawaii character. We did not try the food but the waiting queue was quite big so this might be a good sign. 
A typical kawaii shop in Takeshita street. Normal outfits.
Oh yes! yes yes yes. It was heaven!

SHIBUYA: the world famous crossing

If Shibuya district is famous for anything, that's for its weirdly huge crossing that goes in all directions. Try to cross it and try to avoid hitting other people while you do it. This place gets crazy when the light goes green. 
For the best view go to the second floor of Starbucks cafe. Here you will also find the department store Shibuya 109, Tokyu Hands, Shibuya Parco, Shibuya Hikarie, Occitane cafe, Don Quijote, Loft, Mark City, Disney store, Seibu and amazing department store Tokyu Plaza. 

Shibuya crossing panorama
The amazing entrance of Tokyu Plaza


ASAKUSA: the traditional neigborhood 

For an overdose of japanese culture head to Asakusa. My other favourite district where you will find little local shops selling traditional shoes, yukatas (summer kimonos) and food
Here you find the amazing Sensoji temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo, the perfect souvenir area Nakamise shopping street, the beautiful orange street and a little further down Kappabashi Dori, the kitchen shop street. 

In case you want to buy traditional things, Asakusa is the best area. 
The amazing Orange street in Asakusa is another attraction.  Lined with local shops left and right you will find traditional matcha tea and yukatas.
The oldest temple in Tokyo, Senso-ji dates back in 628. It is an absolute must-visit and is famous for its main Kaminarimon Gate with the giant lantern.
From Kaminarimon Gate to the Hozomon Gate towards the temple you will find Nakamise shopping street offering 90 stores with souvenirs and food dating from the Edo era. No wonder it is full of tourists every single day!


SUMIDA: Tokyo skytree Town

Tokyo's new landmark is Tokyo Skytree Tower, the tallest broadcasting tower in the world. A view of the entire Kanto region well as Mount Fuji - if you are lucky and the sky is clear - can be enjoyed from the two observation decks one at 350 metres and 450 metres! So high you think you are on a plane! 
Here you can also see the amazing department store Tokyo Solamachi with 300 shops of fashion, souvenirs and restaurants. You can also enjoy a view of the Tokyo Skytree tower from the 31st floor of the department store. 
The tallest freestanding broadcasting tower in the world is 634 meters tall.
You can ascend to the two observation decks (one at 350 meters the other at 450 meters) and have a view of Kanto region including Mount Fuji when the sky is clear.
Admission fee: 3,000 YEN (about 30 EUR) for 350 metres/ 4,000 YEN (about 40 EUR) for 450 metres)
video


UENO: one day in the nature

Ueno is the most green district in Tokyo because of the beautiful Ueno Park (Shinobazu Pond). Walk along the area and visit Ueno zoo, row your duck at the river, see Kaneiji Temple and Yushima Tenmangu Shrine and take a stroll through Yanesen area.
This was an amazing experience! I totally recommend it.
Exotic wildlife at Ueno zoo

AKIHABARA: the electronics district 


Fun of technology, cables, internet and gaming? Get lost at the sounds of electronic games and in the floors of huge electronic department stores you will find in Akihabara. For every geek here is like heaven! You can spend hours and not realise how the time has passed. If you are a fujifilm instax camera owner then you can buy some films in great prices!!!

Japanese people are going to Taito stations to hang out and play electronic games. They seem like childish casinos but they are very popular among adults.  Taito Stations are located everywhere around Tokyo and offer a great variety of games
Inside one of the many multiple-floor electronic departments. If you are a fan of Fujifilm instax cameras like me, you will love it here! Also you will find very cheap film! 

GINZA: luxurious shopping& Tsukiji fish market

Luxury shops are located at Ginza Shopping District with amazing architectural buildings. Every fashion brand has its own flagship store that is an architectural masterpiece. Even if you are not in the mood of spending a fortune, you can walk along the area and admire them from the outside. 
Here you will also find Kabukiza Theater, the only kabuki theater in the world. You can also see a play if you wish here. 
At last, dont miss out Tsukiji fish market, a popular place to eat fresh sushi from famous gourmet shops (be careful some are really expensive!). 

Even if you are not in the mood for designer shopping, walk along Ginza, the shops have also architectural interest!
Among skyscrappers and luxurious shops, the colorful Kabuki theater attracts a great amount of viewers and tourists every day. It surely stands out!
Tsukiji area is known as one of the world's largest fish markets. There are many kinds of fresh fish and seafood, sushi restaurants and local atmosphere that make Tsukiji Market a major tourist attraction. 
Want to visit the tuna auction? You have to wake up early (or not sleep at all) and get at Tsukiji market at 5 a.m.! 


 TOKYO TOWER: no, you are not in Paris!

Reminding us of the Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Tower that is 13 meters tallerwas built in 1958, as a symbol of Japan's rebirth after World War II. Today it is used like a broadcast antenna. 
Once was Japan's tallest structure until Tokyo Skytree surpassed it in 2012. One can ascend at the main observatory at 150 meters or at 250 meters for nice views at the city. 
Opening hours: 9:00 to 23:00 (entry until 22:30) 
Admission fees: 900 YEN (main observation deck only) /1600 YEN (both observation decks)
Right next to Tokyo Tower there is Zojoji Temple, built in 1393 and moved to its present location in 1598 by Tokugawa Ieyasu who selected it as his family temple. 
A mausoleum of the Tokugawa family can be found on the temple grounds 

Watch our Tokyo videodiary:




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