Top 5 Must Do's in Tokyo

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Whether you’re going to be in Tokyo for an extended vacation or a short stay, there are scores of things to do. But before you depart this massive city, here are five sites to take in that will ensure you leave feeling like you’ve seen the best that Tokyo has to offer.

Tsukiji Market

Perhaps the most famous—and certainly largest—fish market in the world, Tsukiji Market is a bustling center of activity from as early as 4 a.m. The tuna auction takes place each morning between 5 and 6:15 a.m. Remember to stay in the designated ‘visitor’ areas, and refrain from using flash photography. Though the inner market is not suitable for children due to intense traffic and potential for injury, the outer market is replete with restaurants and vendors that operate at a more serene pace. There you can complete your visit with the freshest sushi available in Tokyo. The market is closed on Sundays and holidays.

Phone:                   +81 (3) 3541-2640         

Metro: Oedo Line—Tsukijishijo Station

Tokyo Tower

Take in the entire panoramic view of Tokyo from its famous tower, modeled after Paris’ Eiffel Tower. Open year round, the main observatory operates from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. with the last entry permitted at 9:45 p.m. Entry tickets are 820¥ for adults, 460¥ for children. You can also ascend to the special observatory tower for an additional 600/400¥. Please note that the special observatory’s last entry is at 9:30 p.m., and may be closed in inclement weather. Housed in the main building below the tower are additional exhibits, such as the Wax Museum and the Guinness World Records Museum, Tokyo, which can be entered for an additional fee.

Phone:                   +81 (3) 3433-5111         

Metro: Oedo Line—Akabanebashi Station

Tokyo National Museum

Open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., the National Museum houses Japanese art and archaeology, as well as the Horyuji Treasures (Buddhist artworks). From silk paintings to woodcarvings and from clothing to samurai swords, you can view Japan’s entire history in one place. Please note that when a national holiday occurs on a Monday, the museum will be open on Monday and closed on Tuesday. Entry is 600¥ for adults, 400¥ for university students, and free for those 18 and under.

Phone:                   +81 (3) 5405-8686         

Metro: Ginza/Hibiya Lines—Ueno Station

Asakusa Shrine

Also known as Senso-ji Temple, this sacred shrine is open daily from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. When you enter the main gate, be sure to stop at the incense station to inhale the smoke for good fortune. To your right you will then see a large stone fountain available to wash your face, hands and mouth for good luck. Don’t swallow the water, just rinse and spit! You can then enter the shrine to throw coins and ask for blessings, taking a moment to look up and admire the ceiling art. Admission is free and it is also worth wandering through the area after hours, when there are no crowds and the buildings are all beautifully lit.

Phone:                   +81 (3) 3844-1575         

Metro: Ginza/Asakusa Lines—Asakusa Station

The Imperial Palace 

Entry to the outer gardens of the Palace is free and open daily, though the East Gardens—the prize of the area—are closed on Mondays and Fridays. You can book a free tour in advance at during which you will receive information about the various buildings, but it’s worth a wander through even without a guide to experience this lush oasis within Tokyo’s fast-paced metropolis. Kids will love the swans that patrol the mote, and can stretch out on the grass with an ice cream.

Phone:                   +81 (3) 3213-1111         

Metro: Chiyoda/Mita/Tozai Lines—Otemachi Station


- Tiffany M Parker

September 02, 2009 change by tiffanymparker

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