Tourist Attractions Tokyo
An Insider’s Guide to Living in Tokyo
This Tokyo relocation guide has been designed with the explicit intention to provide expats and travellers with all they need to know about moving to Tokyo.
This exciting chapter covers Tourist Attractions.
As with any city, there are a whole range of attractions in Tokyo to see and take part in. From all the insightful museums and galleries to the luscious greenery of the parks, there’s much to enjoy throughout your stay in Tokyo whether you’re here in the long term or short term.
By the end of this chapter, you’ll know the best Tokyo tourist attractions, where to go in Tokyo and the best places to visit in Tokyo. Some of the attractions may well cost whereas others will be free. Regardless of this, all are worth your interest.
The history of the city stretches back about 400 years. Originally, Tokyo was called Edo and became a prominent force in Japanese politics and culture after Tokugawa Ieyasu established the Tokugawa Shogunate in the city in 1603. However, the Shogunate was overthrown during the Meiji Restoration in 1868 and the Emperor of Japan became the sole ruler (having resided in Kyoto during the Shogunate) of Japan. Thereafter, Edo was renamed Tokyo and became the capital of the nation.
Assimilating the advances of Western civilisations, Tokyo and the rest of Japan went through development for the first time in many decades, if not centuries. Through to the 20th century, the city suffered heavy losses when Japan entered the WWII; being bombed many times and losing about 50% of its population by the end of the war.
Rising from the ashes, it became the centre of economic growth in the coming decades, and, by the 80s, had become the centre of innovation and technology. Now, it is one of the big economic hubs of the world and plays a vital part in the global economy.
The Imperial Palace
With exquisite 17th-century parks surrounded by walls and moats, this is one of the pinnacle attractions in Tokyo. Much like Buckingham Palace in the UK, the Imperial Palace is still in use by the Royal family. Interestingly, it stands on the site where, in 1457, the Feudal Lord Ota Dokan built the first fortress, the focal point from which the city of Tokyo gradually spread. The palace was destroyed in WWII but was rebuilt to with the same design.
Tours of the grounds are open to the public, taking place Tuesday through Thursday and on Saturday and Sunday.
Arguably Tokyo’s most famous Shrine, the Sensō-ji Temple is dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of compassion. Established in AD 645, it retains its original appearance despite having been built numerous times throughout the centuries. To breathe in the history of the city, this is where you need to go.
Tickets are free, and the surrounding area offers many delights that can be purchased, including; masks, carvings, combs made of ebony and wood, toys, kimonos, fabrics, and more.
The Meiji Shrine
A spectacular historical and religious monument, the Meiji Shrine is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken. Like a lot of structures and attractions, it was destroyed during WWII but was rebuilt in 1958 and remains one of Tokyo's most important religious sites. It is surrounded by a 175-acre evergreen forest and includes an Inner Precinct (Naien) with a museum containing royal treasures, and an Outer Precinct that is home to the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery.
There is no entrance fee for the shrine precinct, but there is a 500 yen fee for access to the Inner Garden.
Tokyo has plenty of sports that will keep you going, from the obvious ones to the some other more traditional ones. Baseball, sumo wrestling and more can be enjoyed throughout the city.
The home of football teams, FC Tokyo and Tokyo Verdy, ths stadium is where you ca get your footy fix. Watch all the action as teams battle it out to be master of the pitch. With a capacity of 49,970, this stadium in Chofu is one that all the footy fans should visit. Rugby and American Football are also played here.
Love baseball? Then you’re in luck. This is the home of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, and promises to be a place where tension and excitement are all rolled into one. It shouldn’t surprise you that the Japanese play baseball, in fact, the Yakult Swallows have few American players on their team. Even if you’ve never watched a game of baseball, this is one arena you should learn all the rules in and become a superfan.
Another baseball arena, the Tokyo Dome is the the playing grounds of the Yomiuri Giants. With a great capacity of 46,000 for baseball games, you can be part of an intoxicating atmosphere of excitement as the team smash their way to becoming the top of their division. You can also watch music events and other sports activities here.
One of the great sumo wrestling arenas, the Ryōgoku Kokugikan where you can watch the famous sport up close in all its intense and formidable glory. Take in the spectacle with 11,098 people as the two opponents grapple try to force each other out of the circular ring or to touch the ground with anything other than the soles of their feet.
This indoor arena is primarily used for martial arts and all of their championships. So if you want to see some professional judo, kendo, karate, aikido, or any of the other forms of martial arts, then this is where you need to go. Who knows, maybe you’ll watch a match featuring a future martial arts star.
6.3 Parks and Recreation