In Tokyo, tourism is an enormous industry. The city offers an attractive and unique blend of history, culture and nature. With so many incredible things to see, deciding on what to do in Tokyo can be a challenge. To help, the team at AirportPreCheck.org has put together a list of the top places to check out while on your Tokyo vacation.
Tokyo Imperial Palace
The Tokyo Imperial Palace serves as the historical and contemporary residence for the Emperor of Japan. Visitors can tour the Palace’s outer grounds, which include a park area, motes and bridges. On two days of the year, Dec. 23 (the Emperor’s birthday) and Jan. 2 (the New Year greeting), visitors can enter the palace’s inner grounds and even catch a glimpse of the Imperial Family.
This Buddhist temple, which holds the title of the most visited temple in Tokyo, contains several shrines and beautifully carved statues. Built in 1649, the temple offers an outstanding example of early Edo architecture. The team at AirportPreCheck.org recommends visiting in the evening if you wish to avoid the crowds at this normally busy attraction.
Meiji Jingu Shrine
The Meiji Shrine is dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and the Empress Shoken, who reigned over Japan’s industrial revolution during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The shrine is one of Japan’s most popular, offering a mix of fine architecture and carefully cultivated natural settings. Along with the shrine and gardens, visitors can explore a teahouse, a museum and other interesting sites. The team at AirportPreCheck.org recommends visiting the shrine’s Iris Gardens if you’re there in May or August, when the purple and white flowers are in bloom.
If you need a green escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, head over to Shinjuku-gyoen. The park was completed in 1906 as a retreat for the Imperial family, but it is now open to the public. Among other attractions, the park has a greenhouse with incredible orchids. The park is an especially incredible destination during cherry blossom (sakura) season in the spring.
Tokyo National Museum
The oldest and largest museum in Japan is made up of six separate buildings that contain art and artifacts spanning Japan’s entire history. In the Tokyo National Museum, you’ll find samurai armor, pottery, swords and paintings. If history isn’t your thing, walk across the way to Ueno Zoo and see one of the world’s few remaining pandas.
Tokyo Tower & Tokyo Skytree
These two landmarks offer amazing bird’s-eye views of the city. The 1,091-foot Tokyo Tower, completed in 1958, is the tallest self-supporting steel tower in the world. The 2,080-foot Tokyo Skytree is the second tallest structure in the world. Each tower has two observation desks for visitors to get a glimpse of Tokyo’s breathtaking skyline.
Shibuya Crossing & Hachiko
The Shibuya district is the most famous district in Tokyo. Right outside of Shibuya Station is the world-renowned Shibuya scramble crossing. When all of the traffic lights turn red at this intersection, crowds of pedestrians from all sides simultaneously flood out into the streets. While waiting for the Shibuya scramble, visit the bronze statue of Hachiko, the famous Akita dog that awaited his deceased master’s return to Shibuya Station every day for nearly 10 years.
After spending a few days in Tokyo, you’ll know the city well enough to check out the Edo-Tokyo Museum, which focuses on the city’s history. The museum brings historical periods of the city to life using extremely detailed large-scale and small-scale models.
Tsukiji Fish Market
The Tsukiji Fish Market is the world’s largest market for wholesale fish and seafood. Every day, more than 2,000 pounds of fish are handled in the Tsukiji Fish Market. Connoisseurs can visit the market’s many stalls and restaurants, which offer some of the best sushi and sashimi anywhere. Even those who aren’t fans of sushi will be amazed by the excitement and energy of the market. The team at AirportPreCheck.org recommends arriving at the market between 5 a.m. and 6:15 a.m. in order to witness the surprisingly interesting fish auctions from a designated viewing area.