Toyko in 10 Neighborhoods

We finally made it to Japan in November 2014!  This one has been on our bucket list for a while and there is no better time to go.  The yen is at a historic low relative to the U.S. Dollar which means you can travel around this notoriously expensive country for 20-30% less than you could even a year or two ago.  We started out in Tokyo which we discovered was a city of neighborhoods.  Here are our impressions of Tokyo in 10 unique neighborhoods.

1. Shibuya

We stayed in Shibuya which is known for its famous crossing.  The intersection just outside the train station floods with people every couple of minutes all surging in six directions to get to their destination.  High rise buildings and flashing signs greeted us as we exited the train station.  This neighborhood is centrally located for exploring Tokyo and we enjoyed our stay at the Shibuya Tokyu Inn.  The room was small (no surprise) but quiet and the staff were extremely friendly greeting us with ohayo goziamasu! when we came down in the morning and konbanwa! upon our return each evening.  Shibuya is also good for department store (depāto) shopping and cheap eats.
Shibuya - Tokyo

2. Roppongi Hills

Known for being a bit upscale and posh, Roppongi Hills is home to a number of multinational companies.  Many, including my own company, have offices in the iconic skyscraper, Mori Tower, that dominates the skyline in this part of town.  Even though we were on vacation, we popped into the office to visit an old friend that I worked with in Dublin.  We emerged from the train station onto a grassy oasis lined with a park.  I jumped when I rounded a bend and was confronted by a giant spider...a sculpture of a giant spider.  We also took the elevator to the top of Mori Tower.  There is a helipad and viewing platform that you can reach for a rather steep fee (2000 yen per person = $17 at the time of writing).  Hey, you only live once, so we paid the fee and had a look around.  We also enjoyed the manga and other art exhibits around the tower.  There was one where you could go into a room with a green screen and then draw virtual graffiti on a board in time to music.  The result was pushed to Facebook.  

We also checked out the art museum at the top of the tower.  There was an interactive exhibit on entitled Lee Mingwei and His Relations: The Art of Participation - Seeing, Conversing, Gift-Giving, Writing, Dining and Getting Connected to the World.  My favorite part was the bed of flowers set out on a table.  You could select one and take it with you but only if you promised to (a) leave a different way from whence you came (b) give it to a stranger on the street.  After a couple failed attempts, I gave mine to a little old Japanese lady on the street in Roppongi.  She smiled and tucked it into her bag.  She didn't speak English and I don't speak Japanese but I made myself understood and she made herself understood in return.
Roppongi Hills, Tokyo

3. Asakusa

Asakusa is a neighborhood of contrasts.  A lot of Japanese restaurants have displays of perfect looking 'food' in their windows to describe and tempt you without words with what's on offer. Well, that 'food' has to be bought somewhere! Walking over from the train station, we marveled at the array of plastic food shops lining the street.  It was also quite expensive with a small piece of plastic sushi going for the equivalent of about 8 USD.   Further into Asakusa there is a strip of establishments shouting out in bright flashing neon.  We stopped at Don Quijote, an inexpensive department store/supermarket to look for interesting local souvenirs.  We also stopped into our first pachinko parlour which was one of the loudest, most over-stimulating places I've ever been to.  More on that in a future post.  Interestingly, just a few blocks away in Asakusa is an oasis of calm in Sensō-ji temple.  We took some time to wander the grounds, waft some incense over ourselves for luck and to explore the shop stalls set up just outside the temple walls.
Asakusa, Tokyo

4. Tsukiji

Tsukiji is famous for its fish market; the largest in the world.  We were out late playing pachinko the previous night so decided not to get up and go for the 4 am tuna auction.  Instead, we arrived around 9 am which is when the 'floor' of the food market opens up to visitors.  We strolled aisle after aisle of fish, dodging lorries and fish guts as we went.  It's a fascinating place to visit.  There are plans to relocate the market from its current location to Toyosu.  In fact, the move was supposed to be complete by the time we visited but lucky for us, we got to see the fish market in its original spot.  In the 'outer market', you can wander a warren of alleyways lined with retail shops and food stalls selling sushi and more.  This part of town is definitely worth a look.
Tsukiji Fish Market

5. Shinjuku

By day, Shinjuku is all business.  The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building features two viewing platforms, one in each of the twin towers which can be accessed for free.
Ginza - Tokyo

At night. Shinjuku is Tokyo at its most stereotypical craziest.  The flashing neon lights are so bright they are almost blinding.  Risque performances (the level varies) run up and down the street.  This is where you'll also find the world famous 'Robot Restaurant'; an over-the-top show featuring scantily clad girls riding larger-than-life fighting robots with loud music blaring in the background.  We were intrigued by this video we found on YouTube before the trip but were torn about going given the high price tag (was it really worth 50 bucks a person?).  In the end, the choice was made for us because the show was sold out on the night we were in town.

Shinjuku at Night, Tokyo

6. Harajuku

Home to Japanese 'Cosplay', Harajuku is the place to go to see locals decked out in fantastical costumes.  It was late and raining when we visited so we didn't see anything too wild but the shops give tantalizing suggestions of what we might find on a good day.  Apparently, the Cosplayers shop for their outfits here too.
Harajuku, Tokyo

7. Akihabara

Akihabara is known as the electronics district of Tokyo.  We were expecting huge department stores selling all manner of gadgets.  To be honest, there is more of that in other neighborhoods like Ginza.  Akihabara has almost limitless small shops selling everything from random cables to LEDs.  This also seems to be maid-cafe-central.  On nearly every corner, girls in fantastical French maid outfits try to entice passersby in for a show that seems a bit like a cheerleader's convention from this glimpse I got through the window (see video clip below).
Akihabara, Tokyo

8. Ginza

Ginza is known for shiny high rises and posh shopping.  It's also adjacent to Tokyo Station and ideal when heading to Narita airport which is why we decided to stay here on the last night of our trip.   After suffering through an afternoon of rain, the sun emerged and put things in a whole new light.  We even discovered an Okinawan grocery store as we whiled away the time on our last day in town.
Tokyo in 10 Neighborhoods - Ginza

9. Ueno

One thing that surprised us about Tokyo was the fact that there are so many respites of calm in this otherwise crazy city.  We had a great time exploring the park at Ueno.  Here we found a temple where visitors were feeding frenzied carp.  I also loved the marshy wetlands with skyscrapers beyond.  It was possible to take a quiet moment and reflect on the vibrant, humming city in the distance.
Ueno - Tokyo

10. Rikugien Park

Rikugien Park is another oasis of calm in Tokyo.  It's also known as an amazing place to see Autumn foliage.  We got there just a bit too early and didn't see the peak colors.  Still, we really enjoyed strolling along the lake watching the ducks luxuriate in the water.

Rikugien Park - Tokyo

We love variety when we travel which I think is one of the reasons we liked Tokyo so much.  It was simply a matter of hopping on the subway and entering a whole different world each day.  I hope you enjoyed these vignettes about ten neighborhoods we explored in Tokyo.  

If we were to go back again, are there other neighborhoods you'd recommend?

Sharing is caring...

COMMENTS

Name

#DrJSabbatical #pigsonparade #SligoFoodTrail #tasteoftravel 1916 Rebellion a City Break Absolut Fringe Adelaide Adriatics Africa Agra Aix-en-Provence Alameda Alamo Square Alfama Algarve Alliance Francaise Americas Amnesty Amsterdam Andolu Kavagi Android Ann Arbor Antwerp Argentina Arizona Art Gallery Arthur's Day Asia Asia Pacific Athens Augsburg AUNZ AUNZ_Archive Auschwitz Austin Australia Austria Auto Awesome Avignon Baixa Baltics Bangkok Barcelona Barrio Alta Basel Basque Basque Country Bath Bazaar Beijing Belem Belfast Belgium Bellagio Bergamo Berlin Bern Bernal Heights Best of Beyond Dublin Bidart Big Island Bird Watching Birmingham Blackrock Market bleisure Bloco de Dublin Blogger Fiesta BloggerFiesta Bologna Bonn Boston Brad Pitt Bray Brighton Bristol Bruges Brussels BTW Bucharest Budapest Buffalo California Camargue Cambodia Cambridge Canada Canary Islands Cannes Cannonball Cannonball Run Canterbury Cape Town Carcassonne Cardiff Carnival Castro Catalonia Catalunya Cats Central Europe Central Richmond Chemistry China Chinatown Christmas Christmas Market City Break Itinerary Civic Center Cobh Coffee cole valley Cologne Comedy Club Commute Chronicles Connemara Copenhagen Cork Costa Brava County Kerry Cow Hollow Critical Mass Croatia Culture Night Cyprus Czech Republic Dalkey Dalkey Castle Danang Delft Delhi Den Haag Denmark Denver Derry Diamond Head Disneyland Dolores Heights Donegal Dover Downtown Dresden Dublin Dublin Castle Dublin Culture Night Dublin_Archive Dubrovnik Ducks Dun Laoghaire Dusseldorf Eastern Europe Edinburgh Eindhoven England Eruption Estonia Europe Europe_Archive Evora Fado Fall Foliage Faro Faversham Festival Film Film Festival Financial District Finland Fisherman's Wharf Flanders Florida Flugtag Food France Frankfurt French Riviera Fringe Fringe Festival Galway Gandhi Gdansk Gdynia Georgian Dublin Germany GhostBus Gig Girona Glasgow Glen Park Golden Gate Park Google Plus Granada Grand Canal Greece Greece and Cyprus Guest Posts Guiness Storehouse Guinness Gurgaon Half Moon Bay Halloween Hamburg Hangzhou Hanoi Hawaii Hayes Valley HCMC Helsinki Hermanus Hilo Ho Chi Minh City Hobart Hoi An Holland Honolulu Hula Hungary Hurling Hyderabad Ice Cream Sandwich Iceland ICS India Inner Richmond Inner Sunset Ireland Ireland_Archive Istanbul Italy Itinerary Izmir Jackson Square Jaipur Japan Japantown Johannesburg Kaunas Kenmare Kilauea Kilkenny Kilkenny Cats Killarney Kiluaea Kona Krakow Kuala Lumpur Kyoto Lake Como Lake Street Languedoc Lanzarote Las Fallas Las Vegas Latvia Laurel Heights Leeds Leinster Leipzig Lemesos Let's French 2011 Liechtenstein Limerick Lincoln's Inn Lisbon Lithuania Liverpool Lloret de Mar London Los Angeles Louisiana Lower Pacific Heights Lübeck Lucerne Lyon Mackintosh Madeira Madrid Mainz Malaga Malaysia Mallorca Malta Manchester Marina Marrakech Marrakesh Marseille Massachusetts Mdina Med Melbourne Menton Milan Mission Bay Mission Dolores Modena Monaco Monte Carlo Montenegro Monterey Montpellier Morocco Munich Munster Music NA_Archive Naples Netherlands New Orleans New Year 2011 New Year Festival New Years Eve 2010 New York New Zealand Nice Nicosia Nob Hill Noe Valley NOPA Nordics Normandy Norrkoping North America North Beach Northern Ireland Nuremberg Oahu Oakland Oktoberfest Oliwa Olympics On The Road Osaka Outer Richmond Outer Sunset Oxford Pacific Heights Padua Palafrugell Palma Panorama Paphos Paris Parma Pearl Harbor Pennsylvania Perth Philadelphia Pingyao Pittsburgh Poland Porto Portugal Potrero Hill Prague Presidio Presidio Heights Pride Provence Queensland Rabat RAF2010 Rainbow Ranelagh Ranelagh Arts Festival Recent Red Bull Regensburg Reims Restaurant Review Reykjavik Riga Ring of Kerry Rochester Roman Ruins Romania Rome Rotterdam Rugby Russia Russian Hill Salt Lake City Samba San Diego San Francisco San Sebastian Sand Castles Santa Cruz Scandinavia Science Gallery Science Museum Scotland Seattle Segovia Seoul Seville SF - Further Afield SF_Archive Shakespeare Shave Ice Sicily Siem Reap Silent Film Festival Singapore Sintra Sligo Snow SOMA Sonoma Sopot South Africa South America South Beach South Korea South San Francisco Soweto Spain SPWC St. Petersburg Stellenbosch Stirling Stockholm Strasbourg Street Performance Stuttgart Sultanahmet Sweden Switzerland Sydney Tallinn Tasmania Tavira TBEX Telegraph Hill Temple Bar Tenderloin TenderNob Tenerife Texas Thailand Thames Festival The Haight The Kruger The Mission Theatre ThisIsAthens Tipperary Tokyo Toledo Toronto Toulouse Trad Trad Sessions Transylvania Trinity College Turkey UBTD10 Uganda UK Ulster Bank Theater Festival Union Square United States Uruguay Utrecht Vacation Rental Valencia Valletta Venice Vienna Vietnam Vilnius Volcano Volcanoes National Park Waikiki Wales Walking Walking Tour Warsaw Washington Waterford Western Addition Western Australia Westerplatte Westfield Where's Wally? Whiskey Whitsundays Wicklow Wine Tasting Wisconsin World Record World War II Wroclaw WWI WWII Xi'an York Ypsilanti Zurich
false
ltr
item
Sidewalk Safari: Toyko in 10 Neighborhoods
Toyko in 10 Neighborhoods
A tour of Tokyo, Japan through the lens of 10 neighborhoods. Written by travel blogger Jennifer (aka Dr. J) from Sidewalk Safari.
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-lVXn-dojpeM/Vvee3Xx31JI/AAAAAAABC_E/UHPlOdjSmQUINnVY7N-xPICGNrsoRiJKA/s640/Tokyo%2Bin%2B10%2BNeighborhoods%2B%25281%2529.jpg
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-lVXn-dojpeM/Vvee3Xx31JI/AAAAAAABC_E/UHPlOdjSmQUINnVY7N-xPICGNrsoRiJKA/s72-c/Tokyo%2Bin%2B10%2BNeighborhoods%2B%25281%2529.jpg
Sidewalk Safari
https://www.sidewalksafari.com/2015/01/toyko-in-10-neighborhoods.html
https://www.sidewalksafari.com/
https://www.sidewalksafari.com/
https://www.sidewalksafari.com/2015/01/toyko-in-10-neighborhoods.html
true
2802498442123035908
UTF-8
Not found any posts VIEW ALL Read more Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS CONTENT IS PREMIUM Please share to unlock Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy