Tokyo's Top Attractions

Tokyo Skytree

At 2,092 feet in height, the world’s second-tallest structure towers over eastern Tokyo, providing breathtaking views across the city from its observation 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 and entertainment complex has transformed the city’s skyline.

Tosho-gu Shrine

This beautiful UNESCO World Heritage–designated 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

Roppongi's two modern urban developments, the towering Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown complexes, are home to several major art venues (Mori Art Museum, the Suntory Art Museum, and 21_21 Design Sight), while a short walk away is the sleekly designed National Art Center. This bastion of artistic and architectural gems hosts the fantastic Roppongi Art Night festival every spring.

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.

Takeshita-dori in Harajuku

This pedestrian-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.

Mt. Fuji

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 the Japanese and their visitors. The dormant volcano sits between Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures, dominating the skyline from miles away. In nice weather, it can also be viewed from Tokyo and Yokohama. For a closer peek, head to the Hakone region or Fuji Five Lakes area; you can also climb it in summer or see it from a Shinkansen bullet train traveling between Tokyo and Kyoto.

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