I visited Japan for 15 days in the autumn of 2018. I spent four days in Tokyo, however I spent only two days exploring the city. I took a day trip to Nikko and a day trip to Kawaguchiko.
To read about day trip to Nikko, follow the link below:
coming up shortly
To read about he trip to Kawaguchiko, follow the link below:
coming up shortly
I took the Platt Kodama(comparatively slower and cheaper shinkansen) from Kyoto station to Tokyo. Inside Tokyo, I travelled by metro. To read more about how to navigate by metro in Tokyo, follow the link below:
While I somehow missed out on the most obvious places, such as the Imperial palace, Koishikawa-Kōrakuen, a beautiful Japanese garden and view of Tokyo from top of Metropolitan government building(free), I managed to visit a few sites.
Most places in Tokyo and I think in Japan in general are closed on Monday. I reached on a Sunday and could not visit certain sites because of it and spent much time traveling. I also found the metro system complicated because the train lines are operated by different companies and it is tough figuring out the pass system. To read about transportation by metro in Tokyo, follow the link below:
I still managed to visit some beautiful places which are listed below:
1. Meiji Jingu or Meiji shrine: No entrance fee
Get down at Ometasando exit of he Harajuku station and a beautiful avenue lined by zelkova trees will take you to the Meiji shrine. The Meiji shrine is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji, who brought the Meiji reformation, and his wife Empress Shoken. The traditional structures built in wood and copper, surrounded by trees make for a peaceful ambience. People come to pay their respects here.
2.Meiji Jingu Inner garden: Entrance fee: ¥ 500
This garden was initially a part of residence of Kiyomasa Kato, a powerful political and military figure in Japanese history. During the Meiji period, the gardens were taken over by the Japanese government. It is a peaceful place to relax. The garden must look beautiful during the spring, summer and fall months. In the month of June, irises are said to be in full bloom, however as I went there in October, the leaves hadn’t yet changed colours and there were no flowers either. There is a quaint tea house, elegant without being overly furnished, a characteristic of Japanese aesthetics, a fish pond with many fishes in it and Kiyomasa well, a small well that is said to bring good vibes and peace to the visitors. There are many benches along the way and provides a restful environment to those looking to escape the hectic city life.
Shibuya crossing: It is the busiest crossing in the world. 2500 people are said to cross when the traffic stops. You can see it from first floor of the mall built on the same side as Shibuya station Hachikō exit. While you are there, don’t miss the statue of Hachikō, the faithful Akita dog who met Professor Ueno everyday when he returned from work at Shibuya station, even after he passed away. If you are on a budget, you can grab a bite at Genki sushi, a conveyor belt sushi restaurant. Vegetarian options are available.
Yoyogi Park: No entrance fee
Located close to the Meiji shrine, Yoyogi park is a spread over a large area. You can sit here and relax or exercise as the locals do. You might even see a couple of rabbits on leash.
Shinjuku Gyoen National park: Entrance fee: ¥ 500, closed on Mondays
The Shinjuku Gyoen National garden has a formal French garden, a landscape English garden and a traditional Japanese garden with a tea house. It has woods and several ponds as well. You can easily spend about half an hour here.
Tokyo National museum: Entrance fee: ¥ 620, closed on Mondays
Located inside the Ueno park in Taito, it is one of the biggest art museums in the world with special emphasis on Japanese arts. There are four or five different sections housed in four different buildings. Artifacts from China, Korea and India can also be found. I spent about 3 hours there and they were not enough, even though one exhibit was closed to the public that day. I still rushed through one off the exhibits and had to leave out almost an entire exhibit in one of the buildings because it was already time for museum to close. I tend to spend a lot of time in museums. There were old tapestries, paintings, costumes that were worn back then , weapons in addition to all the other artifacts.
Sensō-ji temple: Located in Asakusa, this temple is the oldest temple in Tokyo and is very significant which attracts millions of visitors every year. It is dedicated to Avlokiteshwara, Bodhisattva o compassion and is associated with Tendai sect of Buddhism. A number of small shops selling souvenirs and street food line the street that leads to the temple. There is a five storied pagoda outside the temple. The temple also houses some artifacts. You can easily spend half a day here. The temple was destroyed during the WW II but was rebuilt after that as a symbol of rebirth and peace for the Japanese people.