When we think of Japan, we think of the following: Anime (Manga), Sushi, Geisha, and “Konnichiwa!.” We know Japan for their advanced technology, food, animation and their culture of respect. They are pioneers in lots of things, and we have been using what they have offered the world.
There’s no denying that there are so many places that you’d want to visit and explore around Japan. From Hokkaido in the North to Nagasaki in the South. There’s Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya… and much more. However, most of us would always begin our journey in Tokyo, especially if it is your First time to Japan. I admit that I’ve never been to all the places around Tokyo, and this is something that is on my wishlist on my next globetrotting adventure in Japan. For now, I will be featuring Three of Tokyo’s memorable and symbolic icon. If you had to choose the First Three places to visit in Tokyo, then I would definitely recommend these Three places:
1.) Asakusa (Asakusa Station – Ginza Line)
When I learned basic Japanese language at University, I saw photos of Asakusa. I used to call it the “Big Red Lantern” and I didn’t even know what it was called back then, until a former Japanese colleague at work told me that it’s called Asakusa.
The First time I visited Asakusa felt very surreal. I could not stop staring at the huge lantern. Asakusa is an entrance into Sensoji (Buddhist Temple), and is called Kaminarimon (Kaminari Gate). Before you make your way in, make sure to take photos.
As you make your way in, you’ll be walking a shopping street called Nakamise where it offers local delicacies as well as traditional Japanese souvenirs. It gets busy at some point, but the atmosphere can feel like a blast from the past.
As you carry on walking, you will then see Sensoji, a popular Buddhist temple. In Japanese, “Ji” stands for “The Temple.”
Asakusa gives that busy yet solemn atmosphere. It attracts more and more local and foreign tourists in here. When coming to Tokyo, definitely put this in your “Must-Do!” list.
2.) Shibuya and its Crossing (Shibuya Station)
A visit to Tokyo would not be complete if you have not visited Shibuya. It’s a popular shopping district known for its famous, quirky yet, remarkable crossing. At a busy time, you will be amazed to see people crossing from left to right. I was fascinated the First time I saw this crossing and had to experience it for myself. To enjoy the view of the crossing, I suggest you head to the Second Floor of Starbucks in the building called “Tsutaya.” It should be across where the Green Train is (Tourist Information Desk).
They say, that the best time to appreciate the crossing is at night. Unfortunately, I have not been lucky to experience viewing the crossing by night. If you do get the chance to visit Shibuya Crossing, please don’t hesitate to share your pictures here in the comments section below.
3.) Meiji Jingu (Harajuku Station)
If I had only one choice to take a friend or a loved one in Tokyo to visit within a day, I would definitely take them to Meiji Jingu (Meiji Shrine). Meiji Shrine is a Shinto temple Meiji Shrine that is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken. This shrine is within the Shibuya district, so if you started from Shibuya and the crossing, then make your way here.
It’s important that before entering the Shrine or Temple, to do the cleansing ritual. Follow this link for more information on Etiquette before entering Japanese Shrines and Temples here.
Around the Shrine, you will find one of these tablets hanging, called Votive tablets. These tablets are where you write your prayers and wishes. You can purchase one of these for ¥500 (Yen) at the gift shop by the shrine. You can write this in the language you are comfortable with.
This place is very relaxing and solemn. As you make your way to the Shrine, you will feel like walking into a mini forest, which gives that therapeutic vibe.
Tokyo is a unique city and has a lot to offer. A place I would go back again and again, and more places to visit which will be featured in my future blog posts about Tokyo.
If you had to choose Three places in Tokyo that you would like to visit, please don’t hesitate to share them in the comments section below. Likewise, please don’t hesitate to share your experiences in One of these Three places I’ve mentioned in this blog! Thank you, everyone! As they say in Japanese “Arigatou Gozaimasu!” (Thank You) and “Sayonara!” (Goodbye!).
If you would like more information on Asakusa, Shibuya and Meiji Jingu, as well as other attractions in Tokyo, Please visit this site here.
For Downloadable Tokyo Metro Maps in English, please click here.
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