Things to Do in Kanto - page 2
Ameyoko can be translated as “candy store alley,” but you’ll find much more than candy at this business hub these days. This is the place to go for fresh and dried seafood as well as clothes, accessories, and cosmetics. One of Tokyo’s most popular and vibrant shopping streets, Ameyoko is also great for bargain hunting.
Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine (Yasukuni Jinja) was built in 1869 to commemorate Japan’s war dead, and nearly 2.5 million people are currently enshrined there. Among those whose names are listed on the shrine are soldiers, students, relief workers, wartime medics, and, controversially, 14 class-A war criminals, including Hideki Tojo, army general and Japanese prime minister during World War II.
Rikugien Garden dates back to 1695, and was once the residence of Japan’s feudal leaders. It follows a traditional design, so it’s a delightful place to appreciate Japanese aesthetics while relaxing or strolling in nature. This garden is especially popular during the autumn leaf-viewing season, but is a beautiful destination year-round.
Of all the rail stations in Japan’s capital, Tokyo Station (Tokyo Eki) is the most elegant—the neoclassical design of the station’s red-brick facade is said to have been inspired by Amsterdam Central Station. The station sits near the Imperial Palace grounds in Chiyoda Ward’s Marunouchi business district.
Yanaka is one of Tokyo's most charming and traditional districts. The neighborhood is dotted with some 70 temples, which were moved to the area during the Edo era to spare them from frequent fires in the city's more populated parts. Today, the street is home to Yanaka Ginza, a bustling shopping street that runs through its center and that is lined with many of the same butcher shops and produce vendors who operated there decades ago.
Stroll through the neighborhood's backstreets to visit galleries, cafes and craft workshops featuring Japanese pottery, ink prints, textiles, jewelry, and stationery. Tranquil paths wind through the vast Yanaka Cemetery, where sakura trees shade some 7,000 graves, making it a popular spot for a quiet walk and a great location to view cherry blossoms in spring.
Located in the lively Shinjuku district, Tokyo’s Memory Lane (Omoide Yochoko in Japanese) is packed with one-room eateries selling yakitori, ramen, and other Japanese dishes. A visit here is an atmospheric—and delicious—way to experience authentic Tokyo.
Golden Gai is a very popular collection of tiny bars that are crowded into a network of narrow alleyways in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district. More than 200 small bars—many no bigger than a closet and most only large enough for a handful of customers—are clustered in the district, and each one has a distinct character all its own.
In the Shinjuku district of the Japanese capital, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building—more commonly known as Tocho—is one of the most distinctive buildings on the Tokyo skyline. It’s made up of three structures, each of which take up an entire city block
Made in the 13th century, the imposing Great Buddha of Kamakura can be found inside the Kotoku-in temple complex in the seaside city of Kamakura. It’s the second-largest Buddha in Japan and a popular tourist attraction.
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Tokyo’s Rainbow Bridge is a suspension bridge connecting the Shibaura Wharf and the Odaiba district in Tokyo Bay. It’s white during the day, but after dark it lights up with colorful solar-powered lights. Cross the bridge on the Yurikamome line train, by car, or by walking along a pedestrian footpath.
Known for its impressive botanical garden, intricate Iemitsu mausoleum, and ornate Toshogu Shrine (a UNESCO World Heritage site), Nikko National Park is an area of incredible natural beauty with plenty to see and do. In addition to shrines and temples, the park is home to numerous lakes, elaborate bridges, excellent hiking trails, and two stunning waterfalls—all set against a backdrop of dramatic mountain scenery.
Omotesando is an attractive, well-groomed, tree-lined street between Shibuya and Minato in Tokyo. Designed as an entranceway to Meiji Shrine, the street pays homage to the deified spirits of Emperor Maiji and his wife, Empress Shoken.
In modern years, Omotesando has earned a reputation as one of the most fashion-forward neighborhoods in the world, with high-end shops all within close range of one another. Some of the brands featured in this area include Louis Vuitton, Prada and Dior. Due to its chic style, Omotesando is also a prime location for people-watching. Many of Tokyo's elite can be found shopping and dining here.
Hanayashiki, opened in Tokyo in 1853, is Japan’s oldest amusement park. It was originally a flower park but developed over the decades to include the rides, shops, and cafés that appear there now. Among its many attractions are the oldest steel-track roller coaster in Japan, rideable robot pandas, a haunted house, and a 3D theater.
Flowing from Arakawa River and running for eight miles (27 kilometers) through the capital before emptying out into Tokyo Bay, the Sumida River (Sumida Gawa) is Tokyo’s lifeblood. Passing under 26 bridges and feeding a network of scenic canals and waterways, Sumida River offers magnificent views of Tokyo.
With Mount Fuji as its dramatic backdrop and the stunning Lake Ashi below, Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park is magnificent from all angles. A popular detour for travelers visiting Tokyo, the park has ample opportunities for trekking and boat cruises.
Sumo is Japan’s most popular sport, and there’s nothing quite like joining 10,000 sumo fans for a match to learn about this ancient form of wrestling. The best place to experience sumo is at the Kokugikan Sumo Stadium (Ryōgoku Kokugikan), Tokyo’s largest indoor arena, where three of the six official national tournaments are hosted each year. Discover sumo’s place in Japanese culture at the attached Sumo Museum (Nihon Sumo Kyokai).
The dense Aokigahara Forest lies at the northwestern base of Mount Fuji, the iconic, near-symmetrical cone-shaped mountain that rises in eastern Japan. It holds the grim distinction of being the second-most popular destination for people intent on dying by suicide. Despite this, it’s a peaceful place to hike and enjoy nature.
Tokyo’s Harajuku district is known the world over for the youthful crowds that gather there to flaunt their wild fashions. This is where you can spot local teens dressed up in colorful and outlandish punk, goth, and anime costumes. But there’s even more to Harajuku than over-the-top street style.
The Hakone Open-Air Museum is a 200-acre park dotted with fascinating sculptures. When it opened in 1969, it was Japan’s first open-air museum; now its collection includes more than 1,000 sculptures, with about 120 on permanent display. Artists whose sculptures are exhibited include Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, and Constantin Brâncuși.
Engaku-ji, one of the most important Zen Buddhist temples in Japan, is considered by some to be an almost-perfect example of Chinese-inspired Zen architecture. It was founded in 1282 by a Chinese monk and is now classified as a Japanese National Treasure. Located in Kamakura, it’s a convenient place to visit on a day trip from Tokyo.
The Fuji Five Lakes (Fujigoko) are a group of lakes situated at the northern base of the majestic Mount Fuji, around 100 kilometers west of Tokyo. These lakes are Lake Motosu, Lake Shoji, Lake Sai, Lake Kawaguchi, and Lake Yamanaka. Along with its incredible scenery, the area offers ample opportunities for hiking, camping, and fishing. It also features hot springs, museums, and even one of Japan's largest and most popular amusement parks, Fuji-Q Highland.
Lake Kawaguchi is easily accessed and offers a wealth of things for visitors to see and do. It’s also a great starting point for climbing Mount Fuji for those inclined to do so, and also popular with Tokyo locals escaping the heat and pace of the city, particularly during the summer. The largest lake is Yamanaka, while perhaps the most picturesque is the horseshoe-shaped Shōji. Elsewhere, Sai and Motosu are great spots to set up camp and enjoy water-based activities such as boating and fishing.
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