Nestled between skyscrapers, parks and railways is an abundance of Tokyo activities. Step back in time at Edo Castle, walk the surrounding parklands, or experience a rush of adrenaline on Tokyo Dome City’s hair-raising rollercoaster.
Immerse yourself in old Japan by touring grand temples, sacred shrines, and gorgeous gardens. Then, for a taste of modern Tokyo, wander shopping malls, visit a cat or owl cafe, and buy noodles and a beer from a vending machine.
At 634 metres, Tokyo Skytree is the world’s tallest free-standing tower. You can see 100 kilometres away from the observation deck and all the way to Mt Fuji on clear days. The panorama from the lower observatory is truly breathtaking, with glass floor panels in one part allowing you to peer down at the ground below. At the base of Tokyo Skytree is Solamachi, where you can shop at a variety of stores and dine at Western restaurant chains.
Stand at Shibuya Crossing to get a true feel for the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. It’s arguably the world’s busiest intersection. With every light change, hundreds of people dodge each other effortlessly. The neon lights and giant video screens flashing behind the mass of people is a true spectacle – Shibuya Crossing is a sight that can’t be missed. For the best vantage point, slip into the Starbucks on one corner and try to get a seat at the upstairs window.
Catch a train to Tokyo Station and walk to the Imperial Palace grounds, once the residence of Japan’s Imperial family. Here you can take a guided tour. The impressive site, a large park surrounded by moats and towering stone walls, is a beautiful area to stroll around – particularly on a clear, spring day. Be sure to see the Nijubashi double bridge at the entrance to the inner palace grounds.
Have your camera at the ready for picturesque Senso-ji, Tokyo’s most visited temple. Enter the complex by passing through the red Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) and soon you’ll be overshadowed by a five-storey pagoda and giant incense cauldron – many believe the smoke bestows health. While you’re in the area, pick up some souvenirs for loved ones back home in the temple precinct’s shopping street, Nakamise-dori.
For a peaceful day out, visit Meiji Shrine, Tokyo’s grand Shinto shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Meiji Shrine is a great place to experience Japan’s rich history, as it was destroyed in World War II air raids and rebuilt in 1958. Relax in the ground’s strolling garden, breathe in the scent of the flowers, and admire the 12m torii gate made from 1,500-year-old Taiwanese Cyprus.
Marking the centre of Japan’s capital is majestic Tokyo Tower. The tower stands at 333m high and offers great views of the city from its observatory at 150m. To reach the observatory, take a cruisy elevator ride up the tower or challenge yourself with a 600-step climb. Tokyo Tower, now a popular tourist spot, serves as a broadcast antenna and is an important symbol of Tokyo’s post-war recovery.