Tokyo Sights

From the crush of the morning commute to the evening crowds flowing into shops, restaurants, and bars, Tokyo’s image is that of a city that never stops and rarely slows down. It is all too often portrayed as a strange carousel of lights, sounds, and people set on fast-forward, but these days there is a greater focus on cultural development and quality of life.

For a time it seemed that Tokyo

was becoming the city of the future—compact urban life, surrounded by high-tech skyscrapers, the world’s densest rail system, and a 3-D network of highways overlapping and twisting above the city. Twenty years of gradual economic stagnation have cooled that vision, but if Tokyo no longer sees itself as the city of the future, it seems to have settled comfortably into being a city of the present.

While parts of the city such as Shibuya or Shinjuku’s Kabuki-cho continue to overwhelm with a 24-hour cacophony of light, sound, and energy, other neighborhoods are surprisingly relaxed. In Ometesando and Aoyama, people are more likely to be sipping wine or coffee with friends at an outdoor café than downing beer and sake with coworkers in an izakaya (a bar that serves food). The people are as varied as their city. Residents of Aoyama may wear European fashion and drive fancy imports, but those residing in Asakusa prefer to be decidedly less flashy.

Even the landscape is varied. The city hosts some of the most unsightly sprawls of concrete housing—extending for miles in all directions—in the world, but offsetting all the concrete and glass is a wealth of green space in the form of parks, temple grounds, and traditional gardens.

Whether you're gazing at the glow of Tokyo's evening lights or the green expanse of its parks, this is a city of astonishing and intriguing beauty. If you're a foodie, artist, design lover, or cultural adventurer, then Tokyo, a city of inspiration and ideas, is for you.

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Ueno 18

Greater Tokyo 13

Imperial Palace District 11

Asakusa 10

Roppongi 8

Odaiba 7

Akihabara 7

Shinjuku 6

Tsukiji 4

Nihombashi 4

Harajuku 4

Yanaka 3

Shibuya 3

Marunouchi 3

Aoyama 3

Shiodome 2

Ginza 1

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Amusement Park/ Water Park 6

Arts/ Performance Venue 5

Bath/ Hot Spring 1

Beach–Sight 1

Bridge/ Tunnel 1

Building/ Architectural Site 7

Cemetery 1

Commercial District 1

Educational Institution 1

Film Studio 1

Garden/ Arboretum 5

Government Building 2

Historic District/ Site 1

Market/ Bazaar 5

Memorial/ Monument/ Tomb 1

Military Site 1

Museum/ Gallery 32

Nautical Site/ Lighthouse 1

Neighborhood/ Street 2

Park (National/ State/ Provincial) 3

Park/ Playground 2

Plaza/ Square/ Piazza 1

Public Art (Mural/ Sculpture/ Statue) 3

Religious Building/ Site/ Shrine 20

Scenic Drive/ Tour 1

Store/ Shop/ Mall 8

Tour–Sight 1

Transportation Site (Airport, Bus, Ferry, Train) 1

Viewpoint/ Scenic Overlook 5

Zoo/ Aquarium 5

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Family 19

Tokyo Sights

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21_21 Design Sight

  • Museum/Gallery

This low-slung building hosts rotating exhibitions focused on cutting-edge art and design. Designed by architect Tadao Ando, the subdued...

Advertising Museum Tokyo

  • Museum/Gallery

The unique Japanese gift for graphic and commercial design comes into historical perspective in these exhibits featuring everything from...

Ame-ya Yoko-cho Market

  • Market/Bazaar

The sprawling stalls have become especially famous for the traditional prepared foods of the New Year, and, during the last few days...

Asakura Museum of Sculpture

  • Museum/Gallery

Reopened in 2014 after years of renovation, the museum houses the most famous works of local sculptor Fumio Asakura. Formerly Asakura's...

Asakusa Jinja

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

Several structures in the famous Senso-ji shrine complex survived the bombings of 1945. The largest, to the right of the Main Hall, is...

Asuka-yama Oji Paper Museum

  • Museum/Gallery

The original paper mill that once stood here (Japan's first) is long gone, but the memory lingers on through exhibits that cover 2,000...

Backstreet shops of Tsukiji

  • Neighborhood/Street

If you have time for only one market, this is the one to see. The three square blocks between the Tokyo Central Wholesale Market and...

Bank of Japan

  • Museum/Gallery

The older part of the complex is the work of Tatsuno Kingo, who also designed Tokyo Station. Completed in 1896, on the site of what had...

Belfry

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

The tiny hillock Benten-yama, with its shrine to the goddess of good fortune, is the site of this 17th-century belfry. The bell here...

Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery

  • Park (National/State/Provincial)

High on the edge of the Imperial Palace moat, this cemetery holds the remains of thousands of unknown soldiers and is famous for its...

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