These two wards are located east from central Tokyo across the Sumida river (Koto) and further east across the Arakwa river (Edogawa). Although these wards are relatively remote and were not of much interest for me while i stayed abroad, i feel that it is still necessary to write about these two wards, especially since the well known Toyosu fish market and the digital museum Teamlab Planets are located in one of those wards.
Koto is the ward area which lies between the rivers Sumida and Arakawa.
This garden is located in the northern part of the Koto ward. It basically consists of a big pond taking around 80% of the garden’s area. One of the features i especially liked was the fact that there were more stones used as paths across the pond than in other gardens. Going along this path you can discover a lot of turtles but be careful because they might bite. It’s easy to spend 30 to 60 minutes here. Ticket fee: 150 Yen
Toyosu Fish Market
In the past the main fish market was at the Tsukiji fish market located in the Chuo ward. If you want to see a street fish market with food stands and culinary seafood offerings then this will be probably enough for your needs. However the main inner fish market has been relocated to the Toyosu area which can be reached conviniently by train at the Shijo-Mae station. There are 3 market buildings which offer different products. The highlight is the real Tuna auction which starts at 05:30 am and is located at the Fish intermediate wholesale market. As long as you don’t want to have an on the spot tour which you have to sign in for in advance, there is a platform provided to have an overview of the auction. The rooftop offers a huge green area with astonishing view over all this high and tall structure. It might be one of the bestpicknick places in late spring or early autumn, if not for it being so remotely located
Teamlab is a digital arts museum project which utilizes interdisciplinary knowledge of arts, computer science, engineering and more to provide a unique experience. There already exists a lot of Projects mainly across North East asia the most well known being the Teamlab borderless. This project however is only limited until Fall 2020. You can just enjoy the beautifulness of the room as well as the complexity of the setup. There was one room filled with water on which fish were projected on. To cross the rooom you had to wade through the kneedeep water. When the fish projection collide with people it would turn into flowers and scatter. To top that of the trajectory of the fish are actually determined by the presence of the people. This is just an example on how highly dynamic and interactive the exhibitions are designed
This park is huge and freely accessible. It does not offer too many sceneric spots however the paths are well maintained enough to have a nice bicycle ride. Since it is on the east coast of the Edogawa Ward you can see into the wide ocean and also seems to be a popular place for bird watching.
This is a really small public park, however what makes it ineresting is the attached small zoo which is freely accessible for the public. Unfortunately when i came by it was closed due maintenance, however i could get a glimpse of the penguins playing around in their basin.
Tower Hall Funabori
You can get to the observation deck of this tower hall at 115m for free! It offers a 360° view. Especially if you look towards the west you can see the whole beautiful skyline of Tokyo from the skytree up to a tiny barely visible Tokyo Tower. More pictures are provided in Compilation: Viewpoints of Tokyo.
Meguro is more of a residential area in the South West of Tokyo. Contrary to its name, Meguro station is actually nto located in the Meguro Ward but slightly off on its eastern border. I believe the main attraction Meguro is known for is its beautiful Sakura viewing spot in Naka Meguro during spring.
Naka Meguro is probably most famous for its superb Sakura Viewing opportunity. A small river goes through this part of the city setting up a perfect scenery for the lantern lights and the white-pinkish Sakura flowers. Be careful however, the streets are quite narrow and everyone wants a piece of this perfection. My impression and more photos of the Sakura viewing in my diary post.
Meguro Sky Garden
The Meguro Sky Garden is a freely accessible garden area and directly located at a highway. If you wouldn’t actively looking for it you would probably not stumble upon it making it a little bit of a secret spot i guess. For more pictures go see this.
Formerly known as the downtown area of Edo-Tokyo and main commercial center, the Chuo Ward continues to build on this reputation today. Makes sense to name it Chuo (中央) where both Kanji mean ‘center’.
Ginza shopping street
This street offers a lot of named brands which are all located in tall buildings though not as uniquely shaped as in Omotesando. I did had some problems to find any reasonable priced restaurant though and had to walk a bit out of this area.
Ginza six – shopping mall and rooftop garden
The Ginza Six shopping mall is located at the Ginza shopping street mentioned above and provides a free rooftop garden at the 13.th Floor. Not too high but high enough to get a view above most roofs and has a very calm garden area. For more info and pictures see here.
Nihonbashi the bridge is the “Zero mile stone” anchor point for any measurement of distance to and from Tokyo. It is the starting point for many old trails leading to old Tokyo such as the Tokaido trail.As such it started out very early to be a business area and today a lot of tall office buildings decorate that district.
Locaeted in the south of the Chuo ward the Hamarikyuu garden is directly connected to the ocean and fills its pond from that water. This area was actually once used as a falconry ground of the Shogun family in the middle of the 17th century. Since 1945 it is under the Tokyo Metropolitian Government administration and is now accessible for a small entrance fee. See more impressions here.
Japanese Stock Exchange
As part of the course Japanese company introduction we visited the Japanese Stock Exchange. It is freely accessible and we were offered a guided tour. In the past it used to be filled with people but nowadays technology took over and there are only some people left monitoring the events. In 2012 the Tokyo Stock Exchange merged with the Osaka Securities Exchange forming the Japanese Stock Exchange which is now the third biggest stock exchange in the world (wiki, 08.11.2019)
Bunkyo (文京) uses the Kanji for culture (文) and capital (京) and indeed has some very fancy aristocratic gardens and is home of the Tokyo University – the first imperial university and now known as one of Japan’s most prestigious universities (wiki, 02.11.2019 ).
Bunkyo City Hall
The Bunkyo City Hall is in its core a government building for residents of Bunkyo however it also provides a free city view platform at the 25.th floor. Since it is in the center of Bunkyo and Bunkyo again is quite in the center of Tokyo you can get a free overview of Tokyo’s landscape. More pictures can be seen in this post: Compilation: Viewpoints of Tokyo.
The Rikugien Garden is said to be one of the best gardens in Tokyo. It showcases 88 spots of literary significance and special meaning. Located in the north of this ward, it is easily accessible by public transportation. More impressions can be seen in this post: Compilation: Garden and parks in Tokyo.
Higo Hosokawa Garden
The Higo Hosokawa Garden is freely accessible and provides a small poond as well as a grass area on which you can dp picknicks. However due its lack of trees it can get quite sunny and hot in the summer. More impressions can be seen in this post: Compilation: Garden and parks in Tokyo.
Hotel Chinzanso Garden
This very luxurious hotel has its own private garden which can be accessed freely even as outsiders. It is located just 100 m away from the Higo Hosokawa Garden and if you wouldn’t know you could enter you would just pass it making it a perfect secret tip. More impressions can be seen in this post: Compilation: Garden and parks in Tokyo.
Koishikawa korakuen Garden
This garden is actually not too far away from the Bunkyo Town Hall it is also said to be one of the best gardens of Tokyo. Unfortunately i visited it in August and only wittnessed a green landscape. I would say the trails were more unique and immersive. Furthermore the existence of maple trees indicates, that this is definetely worth a visit in autumn. More impressions can be seen in this post: Compilation: Garden and parks in Tokyo.
The Nezu Shrine is a little bit of a secret place. Although not comparable with the Fushimi Inari in Kyoto it is still impressive. This shrine area is relatively big and also possesses a lot of Tori gates.
Hachiko statue of the Tokyo University
Hachiko was a dog who was very loyal to its owner a professor who was teaching in the Tokyo University at the Faculty of Agriculture. When the professor would go to official trips Hachiko would welcome him back home at the Shibuya station. Unfortunately the professor while at work suddenly passed away. Hower Hachiko knowing that the professor would always come back from long term trips at Shibuya station continued to wait for him at this said station for the next 10 years until his death – which is why there is such a well known statue in honor of this loyal friend at Shibuya station. This statue however shall depict the happy moments when Hachiko welcomes his owner as usual at the ticket gate of Shibuya station.
Tokyo Dome and theme park
The Tokyo Dome and an interesting themepark going through high buildings are also located near the Bunkyo town hall.
Seen as a wide green area on google maps in central Tokyo is the Imperial Garden and together with the Yasukuni Shrine, Hibiya Park and National Museum of Modern Arts it actually makes up for 22% of Chiyoda’s area (wiki, 01.11.2019).
Imperial Palace East Garden
There is a huge green area on the map of Tokyo which marks the imperial palace and its surrounding royally land. Unlike in Kyoto you can’t just enter into the imperial palace because the emperor actually still lives there with his family. However the Imperial Palace East Garden which was the former side of the inner most castle is now open to the public. In the center is a huge flat grassy area where the castle once stood and it is surrounded by flowers and different plants and trees.
As it appears the Hie shrine is a famous spot to pray for Safe delivery and a steady love (i guess). It also features a monkey under the name Masaru which means “Surpass something you fight” or “Keep evil spirits away” according to jw-webmagazine.com (accessed: 04.10.2019). Nonetheless impressive shrine with some tori gates and greenery in the midst of Tokyo city.
This park is freely accessible and as i experienced part of it is always off limits because of several different festivals. It is one of the bigger parks in Tokyo and located in the midst of tall buildings and busy roads. Thanks to all the trees it is not as noisy as you would expect it to be in central Tokyo.
Strictly saying and contrary to common believe this shrine area does not serve as a memorial to honor fallen Japanese soldiers but to give them a last resting place. However it is sometimes not seen as such and is critically viewed especially by korea or china when high ranking people come to pray at this shrine since fallen Japanese soldiers also include war criminals.
One of the more impressive festivals, the Mitama Matsuri, is held here in mid July.
Mitama Matsuri with a lot of lanterns.
National diet building
As part of the course Japanese company introduction we visited the National diet building. When no official meeting takes place, guided tours through the building are offered. Unfortunately they were all in Japanese.
Today the in the west located Shinjuku ward is the commercial and administrative centre of Metropolitian Tokyo. A variety of areas can be found here ranging from business, shopping to leisure and food.
As of 2019 the Docomo Tower with its 240m is the fourth tallest building in Tokyo right after the Tokyo Metropolitian Government Building (wiki, accessed: 04.10.2019). However in terms of recognizable, especially at night, it is on par with the Tokyo Tower or the Tokyo Skytree.
Shinjuku being Shinjuku
When you think about Shinjuku you might think about a lot of shops with flashing lights and a lot of cities. Although this only accounts for a small part of Shinjuku City i still wanted to give you some impressions of it. These photos are taken not far away from Shinjuku Station. A famous place in Shinjuku is also Omoide Yokocho which is more narrowish and old but offers a lot of small shops and has this ancient vibe to it.
Shinjuku Gyoen Park
The Shinjuku Gyoen Park located near the Shinjuku station is probably the biggest paid garden area in Tokyo and feature different styled themes. Here you can just relax, picknick or take a nice (long) stroll. More pictures and impressions here.
Tokyo Metropolitian Government building
This building is just 3 meters taller than the Docomo tower (wiki, accessed: 04.10.2019) and therefore the 3rd. tallest building in Tokyo. Governmental work is being conducted here however it also offers a free city view on the 45th floor. For more impressions and photos Compilation: Viewpoints of Tokyo.
Meiji Jingu Gaien
The Meiji Jingu Gaien is a baseball stadium. Baseball is quite popular in Japan and as it happened my university (Keio) did had a match with its arch enemy (Waseda) at this stadium. I guess it is a middle tier stadium not compareable with the Tokyo Dome but still big enough to held a lot of people
Yotsuya Suga shrine
This shrine is quite special however probably not for everyone equally. It is featured in the advertisement posters of the movie Kimi no na wa – Your name.
Sitenote: there is another place, a crossing, just near the Tokyo Government Building which also features another scenery of the movie Your Name.
Shibuya is probably one of the more famous wards in Tokyo. Hearing that name, one of the world’s most busy crossroads and streets filled with blinking advertisements and clothing brands come to one’s mind. However additional to that busy shopping part, there is also this big busy greenery park offering ahuge space for recreational activities.
The infamous Shibuya crossing is located right after the Hachiko exit of Shibuya Station. There seem to be a lot of possible ways, but if you just want to get a quick shot of the crossing you can go to the Starbucks coffee shop. Unsurprisingly, this coffee shop is said to have the highest crossing revenue. You can get to the 2nd floor which has a panorama window with seats for customers only but will also work out if you blantly squeeze in there to take some photos. The building in which the Starbucks resides however has a lot more to offer and mainly sells music cds. Also on the top floor is a rather luxurious but small cafe.
The dog statue shown in the picture below is of the dog Hachiko, who is rembered as a remarkablly loyal companion. Ever day Hachiko would accompany his owner to the nearby Shibuya Station as well as greet him from his way back home. Unfortunately his master died while at work, however this didn’t stop Hachiko from waiting. He would come every day at the exact time to wait for his owner for the next 10 years until he died . Nowadays there are some series which reference Hachikos life, one of them is in the series Futurama .
The shopping area is just next to the Shibuya crossing in front of the Shibuya station. This area is filled with both blinking banners and the people who the banners try to pursuade. The streets are rather narrow and not in a grid but don’t really follow a pattern. You can find a lot food stalls in between the shopping stores and unlike Ginza or Omotesando the stores offer fabrics in the middle prize range.
Going further to the north we will encounter a large park area. The Yoyogi park is freely accessible and even at night quite busy. In summer 2019 every weekend a different country themed food festival took place at the west side.
Omotesando is a brand driven luxurious shopping street opposite to Harajuku station. The people definetely dress differently than people in Ginza and the buildings are more uniquely shaped. The Tokyu Plaza at the end of the street has a fascinating entrance with a wierdly shaped glass wall.
This street is not too far away from Harajuku station. It is a narrow street with a lot of exotic shops. The street is not too long but it takes time to walk through the crowds. At the end of the street if you turn left you will see a rather hidden entrance to a hotel which provides a small pond and park area. While the street you just exited 2 minutes ago was loud and busy this area is contrary verey calm and you can almost hear nothing from the busy outside.
There are different entrances to the Meiji Shrine area one is at the Harajuku station on the right side. The Tori gate welcoming both tourists and locals is said to be the biggest wooden Tori gate in Japan (tabiscrap.com, accessed 13.10.2019). Following the Edo era came the Meiji era. Emperor Meiji encouraged various industries and supported technological development leading to industrial growth and modernization in Japan. In his honor his soul has been enshrined here. To pay respect several sake breweries donated their sake which are displayed a couple meters right after the entrance (source: information board). In front of the shrine on the left side you can see two trees tied to each other by ropes. Those are in fact sacred and called “couple camphor tree”. Bound by one another it is said they bring good luck in relationships.
Minato is located in the south of Tokyo and is home to various embessies and domestic companies such as Honda, Sony, NEC and Toshiba. One of Tokyo’s symbol, the Tokyo Tower, is located her not far away from the KEIO university which i used to attend in my exchange semester (wiki, 02.11.2019).
The Tokyo Tower is probably one of the most iconic building in Japan. And this absolute figure of a tower is just magnificient although just slightly copied from France. With 333 meters it is the second most tallest building in Tokyo right after the Skytree (wiki, accessed: 04.10.2019). It costs 900 Yen to get to the main deck (150m) and 2800 Yen to get to the top deck (250m) (tokyotower.co.jp, 04.10.2019).
Sitenote: On children’s day Koi carp streamers are flying in front of Tokyo Tower. Koi cars swimming upstream is being used as a symbol of determination and strong willpower – the same attributes which parents wish for their children to have ( japantravelmate.com, accessed: 04.10.2019).
In this current year 2019 the Manga One Piece celebrated its 20th anniversary and there was a special exhibition at the Tokyo tower. I don’t know whether these are permanent stores but there was also a merchandise and one piece themed restaurant at the basement.
Odaiba is easily one of my favourite place within Tokyo. It has so much to offer that i made a seperate post. The highlight is the beach side with a beautiful view over the rainbow bridge and an even more beautiful view of the sunset. The only downside is, that it is quite expensive to get there and a bit too remote to just walk and come over.
The Roppongi Hills Mori Tower is the 6th highest building in Tokyo (wiki, accessed: 04.10.2019) and is place of frequently changing exhibitions. There are 2 observation platforms one being on top of the building and one being the floor of the exhibition itself. For slightly more information go to Viewpoints of Tokyo.
An honorable mention of the university i attended during my exchange semester. It is not too far away from the Tokyo tower and you can even see it on your way to or back from university.
In my personal opinion Taito is the best wards out of all wards in Tokyo, though of course i might be biased since i used to live here for 3 months. The popular district of Asakusa and Akihabara are located here as well as the Ueno park and Shinobazu pond which look great everytime i came by and especially great in the Sakura season. As i understood the rent prices are not too high and the environment not too busy.
The oldest and probably most impressive Temple, the Senso-ji temple, is located in Asakusa from where you can also get to the Skytree in a decent amount of time. If you are looking for a souvenir there is also a street seemingly dedicated to kitchenware such as pans, bowls and teapots. A detected post can be found here.
The once center of electronic products is today more known as an Otaku district. A lot of high buildings with lots of blinking lights decorate the main street accompanied by young girls dressed in mostly maid outfits standing on the sidewalk and trying to lure people into their bars. The theme of anime is more spread in this area than anywhere else in Tokyo.
The Ueno station located in the Ueno district is a major train station in northern Tokyo and one of the stations where you can hop onto the Shinkansen. The nearby Ueno park and Shinobazu pond are popular places for Sakura viewing and offer even off-sakura season a good place to take a relaxed stroll. A dedicated post around Ueno can be found here.
I used to live in Ikenohata which is located at the most western border of Taito bordering the Bunkyo ward. The neighborhood was very calm and there was a vegetable shop, a supermarket and a wholesaler which i frequently came by to get groceries.
One of the famous landmarks in Tokyo and utilized as orientation mark since it is visible from far away is the Skytree. With its 634 meter it is the tallest tower in Tokyo and the second tallest in the world right after the Burj Khalifa (wiki, accessed: 06.10.2019). A ticket to both the first (350m) and second (450m) observation deck costs 3100 Yen (tokyo-skytree.jp, accessed: 06.10.2019)