A journey through Japan starts in the capital Tokyo. And who does not have this great metropolis high on their list of destinations they would like to visit at some point in their life? And a few associations with this city are easily made: skyscrapers, technology and one of the safest cities in the world. But there is more. It also has a rich history, each district is different, of course you can have delicious meals and it has some amazing sights that you should not miss during a visit. Have you become enthusiastic about Tokyo? Get inspired and discover in the Tokyo Travel Guide where to go…
What would you like to know about Tokyo, Japan?
- History – 5 facts about Tokyo – Did you know…?
- Sightseeing – What to do in Tokyo?
- Accommodation – Where to stay in Tokyo?
- Transport – How to get there?
5 historical facts about Tokyo – Did you know…?
- Tokyo was called Edo until 1868?
- In 1600 Edo was just a small fishing village that did not play any significant role in Japanese politics?
- Tokyo became the new capital of Japan in 1868?
- An earthquake in 1923, called the Kanto earthquake, killed more than 100,000 people and largely destroyed the city?
- More people were killed by the bombing of Tokyo in World War II than by the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined?
Sightseeing – What to do in Tokyo?
On a trip through Japan, you usually only plan a few days in Tokyo. OK, maybe enough to see the highlights of the city, but like Paris and London, a week is not enough. With 35 million inhabitants, Tokyo is so big that there is a lot to see and do. Here are a few historical sights that you should definitely not miss.
Sensoji Temple in Asakusa: This is the best known and busiest temple in the city. It is located in the Asakusa district and is completely dedicated to a mysterious golden statue.
Meiji Jingu Shrine: This is the best attraction of the city. Located in Yoyogi Park, this shrine was built in honour of the country’s 122nd emperor, Emperor Meiji (1852-1911).
Imperial Palace (Kokyo): The centre of the city is formed by the emperor’s palace, Kokyo. This was once Edo Castle, from where the Tokugawa family ruled over Japan for 250 years. The palace cannot be visited, but the imperial gardens can.
Edo-Tokyo Museum: Tokyo has a number of special museums. The most well-known are the National Museum of Tokyo and the Edo-Tokyo Museum. Especially the latter gives a glimpse of the 400 years of history of this metropolis.
Shibuya and the statue of Hachiko: You go to Shibuya for the busiest intersection in the world and the statue of the dog Hachiko. And this little dog might be the most loyal dog that ever lived on earth.
Wondering what else to do in Tokyo? Read our article about the 15 best historical sights for more information and backgrounds.
Accommodation – Where to stay in Tokyo?
Tokyo is so big, so the question is where to stay. Basically, every district is easy to reach by metro. I myself slept in Grids Akihabara Hotel and hostel, but due to the corona crisis it is temporarily not bookable. However, there are various locations and personally I found the Asakusa district to be the best in the city. This district is less hectic and you can still find a wide range of traditional Japanese hotels here, the so-called Ryokans. And you can also sleep here on a thin Japanese mattress, the futons. But luckily, most rooms also have regular mattresses…
Transport – How to get to Tokyo and around?
By Air: Tokyo has two major airports. For international flights, the main airport is Narita International Airport. This airport is located about 60 kilometres east of Tokyo. It takes about 1 hour by train to reach the city centre.
International flights also arrive via Haneda International Airport. This airport is located 20 km south of Tokyo and is one of the busiest in Asia. Japanese people use the aeroplane more than the high-speed railway line. And that has everything to do with the cheap price of air tickets. In general, Haneda Airport is used for domestic flights.
Metro: The Tokyo metro is extremely convenient (and necessary). There is a difference between a private company (Tokyo Metro) and the government one (Toei Subway). Tickets are available for 24, 48 or 72 hours.
Train/Bus: Tokyo has a number of major train stations. The most important and central station is JR Tokyo Station in the Maranouchi district. Next to the station is also a bus station (JR Expressway Bus Terminal) for long distance buses to Kyoto and Osaka, among others. Other large train stations can be found in Sjinjuku and Ueno.
When does my train leave?
Use the Hyperdia website to plan your route through Japan. The website tells you exactly where you have to change trains and what the price of your journey is. Handy, right?
Next destination in Japan?
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