Monday, March 15, 2010

What to see in Tokyo

A friend asked for suggestions where a first-time visitor to Tokyo and Kyoto should go, an impossible question. Tokyo is like New York City; it is overwhelming and there is something for everyone. Indeed, lots of somethings for every taste, so one could spend one's entire week looking at art, going to theater, checking out fashion, visiting shrines and temples, go clubbing, or just sitting around and people-watch. That said, here's what I suggested:

Tokyo National Museum in Ueno Park. A collection of the best of Japanese art.

International Forum Building. A contemporary architectural marvel beside Yurakacho Station on the Yamanote (circle train) Line.

Tsukliji Fish Market. Overwhelming, but go first thing in the morning--and stay out of the way of the people who are working.

Sensoji Temple, Asakusa. Famous temple at the end of the Nakamichi, a shopping street where Japanese tourists buy their souvenirs.

Edo-Tokyo Museum. Close to Sensoji (a cheap cab ride); the building is extraordinary and the museum covers the history of the city from its founding to the 1962 Olympics.

Meiji Jingu (Park and Shrine). A lovely park in the center of the city dedicated to the emperor who started the modernization process.

Harajuku (a train station and area) at the entrance to Meiji Park is where the most fashion-forward teens hang out on weekends.

Akihabara (train station and area), "Electric town" with scores of electronics shops.

National Museum of Science and Emerging Technology on Odaiba, an island in Tokyo Bay. Get there by monorail, which is interesting itself, and we found the museum and its exhibits fascinating. Odaiba also has one of the world's largest Ferris Wheels.

Finally, I would go to one of the big Ginza department stores—Takashimaya, Mitsukoshi, or even Tokyu Hands. Arrive before opening and be welcomed by bowing sales clerks when the doors open, check out the kimono department (and the prices!), the art exhibit on one of the top floors, and stay for lunch in one of the restaurants.

No comments:

Post a Comment