What should I see in Tokyo?
January 17, 2004 10:22 AM   Subscribe

What to see in Tokyo? I'll be traveling in Asia in March and staying in Tokyo, Japan (Ginza) for 5 days. Any Tokyo savvy mefites have suggestions for places to visit? I'm interested in getting a feel for both the historical as well as modern cultural aspects of Japan.
posted by jsonic to Travel & Transportation around Tokyo, Japan (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I debated whether or not to respond to this because it is not a direct answer to your question...and surely somebody else can give you the answers you want...but whenever I travel to Japan I tend to avoid Tokyo because it seems to me to be primarily a place to shop. The Japanese train system is really phenomenal and I think you should really try to make a trip to Kyoto, which is gorgeous beyond belief, and Mt. Fuji as well. Sorry I can't help you more.
posted by vito90 at 11:31 AM on January 17, 2004

Hmmm... I thought Kyoto was an utter drag myself, with the exception of the wonderful Obanzai restaurant.

I recommend checking out the Ueno neighborhood, especially the Shitamchi Museum. It's a fairly down to earth part of Tokyo (as opposed to the flashy Shibuya). You'll also be near Asakusa where you'll find Senso-ji, Tokyo's oldest Buddhist temple.
posted by ursus_comiter at 11:44 AM on January 17, 2004

Kyoto is beautiful, but hard to get around in. Tokyo is, admittedly, a commercial paradise, but there's so much more to it than that.

Hang out on Omotesando on a Saturday just for the people-watching. That's a fun neighborhood to wander around. The Ota museum of art is tucked away behind La Foret (a whacky shopping mall), and both are worth a visit. Saturday night, go one or two stops down to Shibuya and marvel at the feeling of actually being in the movie Blade Runner. Crazy sensory overload. I know this little underground joint in Shibuya where you can get deep-fried deserts...if only I could explain how to get there.

Check out the Asakusa neighborhood (not to be confused with Akasaka).

And in Ginza, you'll be near one of my preferred Indian restaurants, Ashoka.
posted by adamrice at 12:00 PM on January 17, 2004

Go to the Skyscraper district (I forget the name of the district), and go to the Tokyo Metropolitan Building's 52nd floor observation tower for a nice view of Tokyo. Akihabara is nice if you like lots of computer stuff. Shinjuku is nice to go to for a night, as well as Roppongi.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:01 PM on January 17, 2004

Is the akihabara in tokyo? Gadget heaven.
posted by mecran01 at 12:16 PM on January 17, 2004

I highly recommend visiting Harajuku and the surrounding area. The Meiji Shrine is nearby, but the real attraction is the people and their crazy attire. The shops and resturaunts in the area are quite fun as well, from what I remember. Also, the Tsukiji fish market has been on my "to do" list for some time... if you're willing to get up early and deal with a lot of dead fish, it looks pretty impressive.
posted by madag at 1:15 PM on January 17, 2004

jsonic doesnt have an email listed so I will do a small self-post here. I was asking some of these same questions myself and various people gave me a bunch of interesting recommendations.

Gen Kanai weblog: Suggestions for Tokyo visitors?
posted by gen at 5:32 PM on January 17, 2004

Though I'm sure you've been recommended it before, Akihabara has to be seen to be believed. It is truly the wet dream of all geeks.

But really, don't worry; Ginza is an amazing neighborhood to be in. There's tons of stuff to do here - shopping (new Apple store :-), clubs, amazing restaurants, and on and on. Plus you're in the hub of transportation right between Shimbashi and Tokyo station. This'll give you access to the JR lines and others to get to outside of the city. There's also a massive, gorgeous Kabuki theater near Tsuskijoshijo (sp?) station with plays all the time.

vito90 - Don't you think it's um, insane to write off one of the biggest cities on the planet as "a place to shop"? That's pretty narrow-minded, or something.
posted by LukeyBoy at 6:42 PM on January 17, 2004

LukeyBoy...shopping was the first thing you listed as well. I don't think it's narrow minded, I was just relating my impressions based on my experience. I'm pretty sure everytime I have visited Tokyo I did so with an open mind. And, as I said, I was counting on others to correct me, which they did.
posted by vito90 at 7:08 PM on January 17, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. Keep 'em coming :)
posted by jsonic at 7:23 PM on January 17, 2004

Heh, no prob vito. Shopping was the first thing mentioned due to the fact I was still milling over your comment ;-)
posted by LukeyBoy at 8:15 PM on January 17, 2004

I second the recs for Omotesando, Shibuya and Harajuku/Meiji Jingu during the day. I'd avoid Odaiba. For dinner, one of my favorite restaurants is Tsukinokura in the Shinjuku Center Bldg on the 53rd floor. It has amazing views of the city. The food (modern Japanese) and wine list are excellent as well.
posted by shoos at 8:58 AM on January 18, 2004

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