Exploring one of the biggest metropolis of the world is no easy feat. If you come here for the food, then stay, because no lifetime is long enough to sample everything this city has to offer. If you don’t have a lifetime to spend here, five to six days will be enough to get a decent impression. Two of these days will be spend on trips outside the city. One day trip to Kamakura and one to Nikko. Read our one-week Tokyo itinerary for more information.
Toyosu Fish Market
Tsukiji fish market has moved to the Toyosu Market some 2 kilometers away. The whole tourist experience a much more regulated and you can only view everything from viewing decks. There are still some shops and restaurants for tourists at the upper level. So if you’re really into it, go there and have the freshest sushi breakfast ever. For the best options available, follow the queues. Wherever you go in Japan, you can spot the popular and best restaurants by the length of the queues. But almost all food is of high quality, so decide for yourself if it is worth the extra wait. At least experience it once to enjoy the anticipation which comes with the waiting.
When you’re done with the fish, head over to the Hama-rikyu Gardens next to the old market. After the bustling market, the gardens feel like a peaceful oasis. At least when you’re lucky enough to avoid running into an amplified guided tour. You can enjoy some Japanese green tea in the tea house that seems to float above the pond. The peony garden, the plum tree grove and the cosmos fields provide a colourful palette to photograph.
End your tour of the park in the bottom right corner next to the water. Here you can buy a ticket for the waterbus, which will bring you all the way up town to Asakusa. The boat ride is a good opportunity to rest your legs and enjoy Tokyo from a different point of view.
Asakusa and Sensō-ji
At the Asakusa water bus stop you’ll have a great view of the Tokyo Skytree and Asahi beer’s headquarters. Although the Skytree has the highest viewing platform in Tokyo, other views are better and cheaper. Walk through Kaminarimon to enter Sensō-ji, one of the oldest and most magnificent temple complexes of Tokyo. As you walk along Nakamise-dōri you are treated to a host of shops selling local delicacies and a lot of souvenirs.
Take the metro from Asakusa to Ueno, the park is home to a couple of museums, shrines, temples and a zoo. It’s also one of the prime locations to watch the cherry-blossom during the spring. The Tokyo National museum has the biggest collection of Japanese art in the world and is definitively worth the visit. The museum consists of five different buildings which all have a different focus. If you have limited time, at least visit the ‘Honkan’ building. It contains a chronological exhibition of the highlights of Japanese art. Another worthwhile place is the ‘National museum of Western art’. It has an impressive collection of Impressionist paintings. Tōshō-gū is the shrine in memory of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. It is a great place to visit during the golden hour!
Take the circular Yamanote line to Shibuya where you can watch the famous crossing. The area is also filled with an enormous range of restaurants, so it’s a good idea to get something to eat here. If you still have some energy left, you can browse the area for some shopping or visiting an art gallery.