Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tourist Attractions in Tokyo

Tokyo is Japan’s capital and the country’s largest city. Tokyo is also one of Japan’s 47 prefectures, but is called a metropolis (to) rather than a prefecture (ken). The metropolis of Tokyo consists of 23 city wards (ku), 26 cities, 5 towns and 8 villages, including the Izu and Ogasawara Islands, several small Pacific Islands in the south of Japan’s main island Honshu. The 23 city wards (ku) are the center of Tokyo and make up about one third of the metropolis’ area, while housing roughly eight of Tokyo’s approximately twelve million residents.

Tourist Attractions
1. Tokyo Tower
With 333 meters, Tokyo Tower is 13 meters taller than its model, the Eiffel Tower of Paris, and the world’s tallest self-supporting steel tower. It was completed in the year 1958 as a symbol for Japan’s rebirth as a major economic power, and serves as a television and radio broadcast antenna and tourist attraction.
Visitors can ascend to the main observatory at 150 meters and the special observatory at 250 meters to get a bird’s eye view of Tokyo. Under good weather conditions, Mount Fuji can be seen in the distance. An aquarium, wax museum and several more attractions can be found on the ground floors of the tower.
2. Tsukishima
Tsukishima (lit. moon island) is a man made island in Tokyo Bay, just across the channel from Tsukiji fish market. It was created over 100 years ago using earth that was dredged from the bay during the construction of a shipping channel.
In the last few decades, areas of the island were redeveloped into residential high-rise complexes; however, you can still find remnants of the atmosphere of old Tokyo if you poke around the back alleys and lanes, especially around Sumiyoshi Shrine.
Tsukishima is best known for monjayaki, a kind of runny pancake with different ingredients, such as seafood, meat, and vegetables, mixed into the batter. The island has a large concentration of monjayaki restaurants along Nishinaka Street, just a few steps from Tsukishima station.
3. Tokyo Dome City
Tokyo Dome City is a leisure complex in central Tokyo consisting of the:
  • Tokyo Dome baseball stadium seating 55,000, is the home stadium of the Yomiuri Giants and Nippon Ham, two professional baseball teams. Concerts, festivals and other events are held in the stadium when there are no games. Tokyo Dome, nicknamed “Big Egg”, was completed in 1988 and replaced the former Korakuen Stadium.

  • The LaQua Spa, is a highly popular relaxation oasis in the center of busy Tokyo, featuring real hot spring pools, saunas, relaxation space and various massage and beauty services. The hot spring water is brought to the surface from a depth of more than one kilometer.

  • A variety of shops and restaurants and Tokyo Dome Hotel –  Opened in June 2000, the Tokyo Dome Hotel consists of 43 floors and 1006 guest rooms. The rooms on the upper floors and the restaurant on the hotel’s top floor offer great views of the city. The hotel includes ten restaurants and bars, several banquet rooms and a broad range of business and leisure facilities.

  • Tokyo Dome City Attractions is an amusement park featuring various rides and entertainment facilities. Among the main attractions are the Thunder Dolphin roller coaster which reaches speeds of 130 km/h, a ferris wheel, a hanging type roller coaster named the Linear Gale and the Tower Hacker, dropping riders from a height of 80 meters.

4. NHK Studiopark
NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai = Japan Broadcasting Group) is Japan’s public television and radio broadcaster. Its headquarters are located in Shibuya, Tokyo, next to Yoyogi Park. At NHK Studiopark, visitors can observe how television programs such as the popular morning drama, the historical Taiga Drama and the kids program “Okaasan to issho” are being recorded. On weekdays from around 1pm, visitors can watch the nationwide live broadcast of the talk program “Stadiopark kara konnichiwa” from behind the scenes.
Furthermore, there are attractions which introduce various broadcasting technologies such as dubbing, computer graphics, digital broadcasting and 3D images, and illustrated information about popular programs of the past, NHK announcers and broadcasting history. Finally, there is a shop where NHK related goods, tapes and books can be purchased.

5. Takaosan (Mount Takao)
Still located within metropolitan Tokyo, the densely wooded Takaosan (Mount Takao) is one of the closest natural recreation areas to central Tokyo, offering beautiful scenery, an interesting temple and attractive hiking opportunities. From Shinjuku, it takes 370 Yen and 50 minutes to reach the foot of the mountain.
A network of numbered and well marked hiking trails, ranging from the broad and paved hiking trail number 1 to narrow nature trails, lead up the slopes and through the valleys of Takaosan. The peak is 599 meters over sea level and offers views of Tokyo, Mount Fuji and as far as Yokohama on clear days. There is a cablecar and chair lift leading half up the mountain.
Considered a sacred mountain, Takaosan has been a center of mountain worship for more than 1000 years. The attractive temple Yakuoin stands near the mountain’s top. Visitors pray there to Shinto-Buddhist mountain gods (tengu) for good fortune. Statues of the gods, one with a long nose and one with a crow beak, can be found at the temple and all over the mountain.
6. Ueno Park
Ueno Park is a large public park just next to Ueno Station. It was opened to the public in 1873, and offers its visitors a large variety of attractions. At the park’s south entrance stands a statue of Saigo Takamori, an important personality of the late Edo and early Meiji Period. He played a central role in realizing the Meiji Restoration of 1868.
Ueno Park is famous for its many museums, especially art museums, namely the Tokyo National Museum, the Orient Museum, the National Science Museum, the Shitamachi Museum, the National Museum for Western Art and the Tokyo Metropolitan Fine Art Gallery.
Ueno Park is home to Japan’s first zoological garden, which dates back to 1882. In 1972, it became the home of panda bears, gifts from China on the occasion of normalization of diplomatic relations. However, the zoo’s last panda bear died in 2008, leaving the zoo without its most popular attraction.
Shinobazu Pond is a large pond in Ueno Park. A temple for the goddess of Benten stands on the island in the middle of the pond.
Toshogu Shrine is a shrine dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Edo shogunate, which ruled Japan from 1603 to 1867. It is well worth paying the 200 yen admission fee in order to enter the inner shrine area and main building.
Last but not least, Ueno Park is famous for its more than 1000 cherry trees. During the cherry blossom season, Ueno Park becomes one of the country’s most popular and crowded spots for hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties.
7. Sensoji Temple
Sensoji (also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple) is a Buddhist temple located in Asakusa, the center of the shitamachi (lit. “low town”).
The legend says that in the year 628, two brothers fished a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, out of the Sumida River, and even though they put the statue back into the river, it always returned to them. Consequently, Sensoji was built there for the goddess of Kannon. The temple was completed in 645, making it Tokyo’s oldest temple.
8. Ghibli Museum
The Ghibli Museum is the animation and art museum of Miyazaki Hayao’s Studio Ghibli, one of Japan’s most famous animation studios. They have produced many feature length films with worldwide distribution such as My Neighbor Totoro, Castle in the Sky, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away and Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea.
Located in Mitaka, just outside of central Tokyo, the museum is a must-see for fans of the films. The museum itself is whimsically designed in the distinct style of the studio’s films, and many of their famous characters are there, including a life-sized robot from Castle in the Sky on the rooftop garden.
The first floor of the museum has a permanent exhibit on the history and techniques of animation as well as a small theater which shows Studio Ghibli shorts that are exclusive to the museum. The films are rotated monthly, and your entrance ticket gets you admission to one viewing.
The second floor houses special exhibits that change yearly. Previous exhibits include Laputa: Castle in the Sky; Pixar Animation Studios (Toy Story, Finding Nemo); and Aardman Studios (Wallace and Gromit). The museum also has a The Straw Hat Cafe, a Catbus children’s play area, a rooftop garden and gift shop.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I love the scenery in Tokyo! Your place was very beautiful!

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