Great neighborhoods to explore

AKIHABARA AREA

Akiba4

 The famous electronics district

Maid cafés • Electronics superstores • Comic book & anime stores (including fan fiction) • Handcrafted wooden keyboards • Robot & character model shops • Gundam & AKB48 Cafés • Cosplay costumes, wigs & makeup

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AOYAMA-ITCHOME AREA

Unexpected pleasures

Ninja restaurant • Best place to see & buy traditional goods from all over Japan • Amazing promenade of gingko trees in the fall

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ASAKUSA AREA

If you only have one day in Tokyo, this is where I’m going to take you.

Giant Buddhist temple (Senso-ji) • Asakusa Shrine (Shinto) • Impressive festivals in every season • Traditional shopping • The most beautiful lollipops in the worldGood luck cats matchmaking shrine • Rice crackers and taiyaki made while you wait • River and temple beautifully lit up at nightSecret garden only open in the spring for cherry blossom season

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ASAKUSA-BASHI AREA

SQStairs

Beautiful sacred dolls

Handmade Girls’ Day doll sets • Carp banners & armor sets for Boys’ Day • Deluxe beading stores • Eight-story packaging store with great only-in-Japan wrappings

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EBISU AREA

4Ebisu

Lively, fun part of town, with good streets for strolling and checking out the wide selection of eateries and drinkeries

Yebisu Beer MuseumThe jellyfish & shark bar • Xmas Illuminations are excellent

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GINZA AREA

GinzaDesserts

The famous department store shopping district

My favorite department store food hall • 9-story stationery store • Mikimoto Pearl Museum • The best cup of coffee in the world

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HARAJUKU AREA

Where all things young & fashionable meet classic traditions

Yoyogi Park dishes up the best free entertainment in Tokyo every Sunday afternoon • The Meiji Shrine – the most important and elegant shrine in Tokyo • Best place to see weddings and festivals • Lolita, Gothic Lolita and all kinds of cosplay boutiques on Takeshita Street  • Harajuku-style crepes

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IKEBUKURO AREA

Ikebukuro4

Crazy experiences galore

Dare your compadres to try some really crazy ice cream flavors: wasabi, curry and eel & more • The most famous dumplings from all over Japan • Toys from another planet at the LABI electronics superstore & the Loft store • J-World comic book & anime theme park

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INARI-CHO AREA

A funeral goods district that’s anything but dreary.

Shinto household shrines • Buddhist altars • Heavenly incense • Buddhist rosaries • Hearses with elaborate shrines on the back

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KAMAKURA DAY TRIP

Want to get out of Tokyo for the day and see the most entertaining shrines and temples in Japan?

Great photo ops • Biggest bronze Buddha in Japan • The fox shrine to end all fox shrines • The dish-breaking shrine • The money washing shrine • The divorce temple • The moss temple • Tea at the Bamboo Temple • Ten foot tall gold-leafed figure of Kannon • Catch your own noodles

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KAMIYA-CHO AREA

4Kamiyacho

Bring your camera or you’ll be sorry.

Tokyo Tower • Hundreds of stone Jizo figures at Zojo-ji Temple • Amazing tofu restaurant • My favorite Chinese restaurant in the world

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KAPPABASHI STREET

4Kappabashi

Don’t miss the street where they sell plastic food!

Plastic food model stores • Make your own plastic food •  The flavoring store • Ultra-sharp knives • Lacquerware • Japanese cooking equipment • Random dinosaur heads

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KIYOSUMI-SHIRAKAWA AREA

An undiscovered gem of a neighborhood, where you can feel what it was like to live in a slower and gentler age

Shitamachi museum with a life-sized samurai-era town you can walk around in • Serene Japanese garden with a large lake, gorgeous steppingstones, trickling water basins & exquisite views

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KOMAGOME AREA

A 17th century garden and a neighborhood filled with shops that have been in business for generations.

Rikugi-en garden is beautiful in every season • It’s open at night and lit up during cherry blossom and fall leaf seasons • There’s a stand selling miso dango in autumn and winter • Kyu Furukawa’s Japanese garden is beautiful all year, and its formal rose garden blooms in the summer • There’s a shop where you can dye your own indigo handkerchief

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KORAKUEN AREA

4.Korakuen1

Stroll in a 17th century Japanese garden, cheer with the world’s craziest baseball fans, or ride a roller coaster that goes straight through a Tokyo skyscraper

Koraku-en garden is my favorite garden in Tokyo, in every season • Lots of photo-worthy bridges, flowers & gorgeous views • The Yomiuri Giants play at the Tokyo Dome, but the fans are almost as fun to watch as the game • Tokyo Dome City amusement park has roller coasters, dancing fountains and excellent holiday illuminations (Nov-Jan)

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KOSHIKAWA KORAKU-EN GARDEN

In this beautiful garden, you’ll forget you’re in the middle of the world’s largest city

Lots of bridges and ponds • Walk through many styles of gardens, each more beautiful than the last • Especially good in mid-late Feb (plum blossoms), late-Mar to early Apr (cherry blossoms), late-Apr to early-May (wisteria & peonies), late Sep (native red amaryllis), mid-late Nov (autumn leaves) & if it snows

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KOSHINZUKA STREET MARKET

4Koshinzuka

Let’s go to a market where they still sell goods from a bygone era!

Handmade bamboo ear cleaners • Crispy cricket drinking snacks • Poisonous dried snake tea • Togenuki Jizo healing temple • The Honorable Duck Butt of Sugamo • Big Red Underwear Store

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KUDANSHITA AREA

4.Kudanshita

The most controversial Imperial shrine in Japan and an unforgettable place to see cherry blossoms

Yasukuni Shrine has seasonal festivals with free demonstrations of traditional music and dance, an annual free amateur sumo tournament, a traditional Japanese garden & a fascinating WWII museum • Imperial Palace moat is amazing during cherry blossom season

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MONZEN-NAKACHO AREA

Red-hot fire ceremonies and a lantern-lit, secret, cherry blossom stroll

Fukugawa Fudo-san temple has fire ceremonies with taiko drums, a hall with 10,000 crystal figures of Fudo-san, a room full of glow-in-the-dark saints, and a dragon fountain that grants wishes written on dissolving amulets • Nearby canal is lined with cherry trees and lit up with lanterns during cherry blossom season

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MT. TAKAO

4.MtTakao

Tokyo has its very own mountain, still within the city limits!

Less than an hour from Shinjuku station • Beautiful hiking • Monkey park and shrine at the top • Annual firewalking festival in march • Seasonal beer garden with views from the top from July-October

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NAKANO AREA

A geek heaven to rival Akihabara

Figure & model stores • Comic book shops • Rare and antique J-pop goods • Cosplay supplies • Grill-at-your-own-table restaurant

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NIHONBASHI AREA

4Mitsukoshi

Famous shopping district & home to the best summertime event ever

The mother of all department stores • Best place to see kimonos and all the trimmings • Food hall can’t be beat • In cherry blossom season the buildings are lit up in pink • In the summertime you can go to Art Aquarium

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NIHON MINKA-EN THATCH-ROOFED HOUSES

4Minka-en

This village of restored thatch-roofed houses is just a short train ride from central Tokyo

23 thatch-roofed houses • You can go inside • Visitor center showing how they are made • In a beautiful park

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ODAIBA AREA

I can’t let you leave before you do some of the most memorable things in Tokyo

Borderless (the TeamLab Digital Museum) • Trick Art Museum • Oedo Onsen Hot Springs • Miraikan • Sony Explorascience Museum • Smile Fight •  Toyota MegawebHistory Garage vintage auto museum

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ROPPONGI AREA

From incredible holiday illuminations to hedgehogs, Roppongi is more than skeezy nightlife

Holiday illuminations (Nov-Dec) • Cherry blossom tunnel in Ark Hills (Mar-Apr) • Mori Art Museum and the Tokyo National Art Center put on provocative exhibitions year-round • Roppongi Art Night all-night art event • Harry Hedgehog Cafe

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RYOGOKU AREA

4.Ryogoku

Sumo wrestlers & the Edo-Tokyo Museum – two must-see Tokyo experiences!

You can get tickets to a sumo tournament in Ryogoku every January, May & September • The Edo-Tokyo Museum is all about everyday life in samurai times vs. how it changed after Japan opened to the West • Incredible detailed models of cities and towns • Full-scale rooms showing how people lived

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SHIBUYA AREA

4Shibuya

Weird, wild, unforgettable

Famous 5-way intersection: 1,000 people cross every minute • Love Hotel Hill • Extreme pancake café • Butler café • Trendy fashion for men and women at 109, Men’s 109, Parco & Marui • Everything-under-the-sun at Tokyu HandsLoft and Don Kihote

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SHIMO-KITAZAWA AREA

4shimokita

This is my favorite neighborhood for barhopping, trying out eateries that don’t break the bank, and playing with the bunnies at the rabbit café

Quirky, inexpensive bars & restaurants, many with live music • Vinegar bar & café • Village Vanguard store for wacky only-in-Japan gifts • Ohisama Rabbit Café

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SHINJUKU AREA

4Shinjuku

The biggest and wildest entertainment district in Tokyo

Cat cafés • Golden Gai  theme bars • Princess Style kimonos • Host clubs, hostess bars and adult entertainment

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UENO AREA

A grand public park, art and history museums, and my favorite Tokyo toy store

Large public park, famous for cherry blossoms and museums • Five-story toy store with many toys you’ll never see outside Japan

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YANAKA AREA

Let’s go to my favorite Tokyo shrine, then walk around the old-fashioned neighborhood.

Incredible azalea festival during the month of April at the Nezu Shrine • Tunnel of orange torii gates you can walk through • Festivals have lots of free traditional entertainment • Chiyogami paper store • Handmade wooden buckets • Calligraphy brushes • Air-conditioned pillows • Cat map store

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YOKOHAMA DAY TRIP

4.Yokohama

A venerable garden that’s lovely in every season and filled with interesting historical buildings

Okurayama Park is famous for plum blossoms (Feb) • Excellent Pokemon Center • Art lights up the night at the Yokohama Smart Illuminations every year

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