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At 2,092 feet in height, the world’s second-tallest structure towers over eastern Tokyo, providing breathtaking views across the city from its observations decks. Opinion is split on the design merits of Tokyo Skytree and its white-metallic lattice frame, but what can’t be disputed is how the communications tower–cum entertainment complex has transformed the city’s skyline.
This beautiful complex set within a forest in Nikko, 130 km (81 miles) north of Tokyo, is the mausoleum of Ieyasu Tokugawa, who began the Tokugawa Shogunate that reigned over the nation between 1603 and 1868. Decorated with gold leaf and numerous wood carvings, the compound also includes multiple Shinto and Buddhist buildings, many of which are acknowledged by the government as Important Cultural Properties.
Art Triangle Roppongi
Two modern urban developments, the towering Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown complexes, are home to major art venues (Mori Art Museum, the Suntory Art Museum, and 21_21 Design Sight) and the sleekly designed National Art Center. This bastion of artistic and architectural gems hosts the fantastic Roppongi Art Night festival every March.
Senso-ji (Senso Temple)
Tokyo’s oldest temple—supposedly founded in the 600s to hold a statue of Kannon found by two fishermen in the nearby Sumida River—is a marvelous piece of architecture. On the way to the main building, visitors walk under two roofed gateways (one 40 feet high and the other 73 feet) that are separated by a colorful shopping street, before passing a five-story pagoda. All this makes the perfect backdrop for the numerous festivals held here, including the Sanja Matsuri in May.
Tsukiji Fish Market
If it lives in the sea, chances are that it can be found at Tsukiji, affectionately referred to as "Tokyo's kitchen." Thousands of wholesalers and buyers broker deals for crabs piled in buckets, squirming eels, bagged clams, and endless varieties of fish at this chaotic market. The biggest draw is the tuna auction, which gets underway in the wee hours of the morning and features rapid-fire bidding on hundreds of frozen carcasses weighing up to 200 kilograms (441 pounds).
Takeshita-dori in Harajuku
Popularized on a global scale by Gwen Stefani's song "Harajuku Girls," this pedestrians-only street outside JR Harajuku Station features various shops selling some of Japan's trendiest and most garish clothing to swarms of Tokyo youth. Since the target is teenagers, prices are low, at least in comparison to the upscale boutiques found in nearby Aoyama and Omotesando. Takeshita-dori is only about 500 yards long, but the shopping hordes are so dense and relentless on weekends that it can take 20 minutes to navigate from one end to the other.
At an elevation of 12,388 feet, Mt. Fuji is the nation's highest peak. It's also one of Japan's most famous symbols and is a point of inspiration for Japanese and their visitors. The dormant volcano sits between Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures. In nice weather, it can be viewed from Tokyo and Yokohama. For a closer peek, climb it in summer or see it from a Shinkansen bullet train traveling between Tokyo and Osaka.Updated: 01-2014
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