Things to do in Tokyo
Tokyo is an enormous city filled with ancient temples and palaces. The Temple of Senso-ji honors Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. While the statue is not on public display, the beauty of the temple itself makes the trip worthwhile. Senso-ji, meanwhile, is right across from Nakamise-dori, a street lined with craftspeople selling their wares.
Another Tokyo icon is the grand Imperial Palace. It's in the very center of the city and was actually built to replace the original, which was destroyed during World War II. The emperor of Japan and his family still live there and so it is only open to the public on January 2nd and December 23rd (the emperor's birthday). Book ahead to tour the spectacular imperial grounds.
But one of the greatest pleasures here is simply exploring the city on foot, not only wandering into Buddhist temples but also into funky boutiques, noodle shops, and farther-flung residential neighborhoods. Fashion is a huge part of the culture here and you can find some of the more cutting-edge getups on Harajuku's Takeshita Street where people play dress up to a delightful extreme.
The Tokyo National Museum in Ueno Park is the largest repository of Japanese art and artifacts in the world, with collections spanning thousands of years and ranging from textiles and ceramics to armor, painting, sculpture, and calligraphy.
The first Disney resort to be built outside the US, Tokyo Disney Resort receives more annual visitors than any of Disney's other international locations.
The pastry boutique was designed by Wonderwall, the cutting edge design firm behing Uniqlo stores.
The neighborhood of Tsukishima, on a man-made island of the same name, is an off-the-beaten-tourist-path destination for local food.
New York-born Ivan Orkin's 12-counter-seat ramen house opened in 2007, originally drawing customers curious about a gaijin "noodle man," and later because of the flavor of his dishes.
Tachinomi, casual, inexpensive bars without seating, is a trend with a formula: low-key atmosphere, countertops and no chairs, bumping music. It works, keeping customers (many of them young) coming in for a few drinks and small plates.
On the day of your purchase, please take the receipt for the goods purchased at Daimaru Tokyo store on the same day and your passport to the Tax Exemption Counter on the 9th floor.
Located on the former site of the 15th-century Edo Castle, the Imperial Palace is the official residence of Japan's royal family. First constructed in 1888, the palace was rebuilt several times, most recently in 1968.
A traditional onsen (hot springs) resort that dates back to the 1870's, Arai Ryokan has a serene, old-world feel, evoked by the traditional Japenese wooden-beam architecture, covered walkways and bridges, and wooded surroundings.
Escape the throngs of Ginza shoppers at this sleekly modern tearoom and shop.
Ukiyo-e woodblock prints, a uniquely Japanese art form, are the focus of this niche museum collection, bequethed by the estate of Seizo Ota, the late chairman of a major Japanese insurance company.
Jugetsudo Japanese tea house opened its doors in 2003 in the Tsukiji district of Tokyo, next to the parent company Maruyama Nori. There you can savor delicious green tea in an atmosphere of natural and harmonious Japanese decor.
Sushi chefs who arrive at the crack of dawn for the finest-grade tuna and yellowtail in the massive, centrally located Tsukiji-Jogai Market head to Sugimoto, sandwiched between other specialty stalls, to have their knives professionally honed.