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World Travel Guide > Guides > Asia > Japan > Tokyo

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Things to see in Tokyo

Tourist Offices

Tokyo Tourist Information Center (TIC)

Address: Chiyoda-ku, 1F, Shin Tokyo Building , 3-3-1 Marunouchi, Tokyo,
Telephone: +81 3 3201 3331.
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1700.

Website: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng

The Japanese National Tourist Organisation (JNTO) runs Tourist Information Centres (TIC) in Tokyo and Narita Airport. English-speaking staff can book your accommodation commission-free and are a fantastic source of local knowledge.

Tourist passes

There are no sightseeing passes as such in Tokyo, but a number of guides printed by the Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau offer discount vouchers to foreign visitors. The Tokyo Handy Guide covers more than 30+ affiliated attractions. Collect these in one of the tourist offices or print them directly from the JNTO website. The Japan Rail Pass (www.japanrailpass.net/en) also offers discounts on hotels.

Attractions

Tokyo Sky Tree

Tokyo's Sky Tree is the second tallest building after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. It stands at 634m (2,080ft) and opened its doors in 2012. It has broadcast offices and fancy restaurants, but really it's all about the observation deck. Reach the top and be blown away by the sheer scale of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, the largest city in the world.

Address: Sumida, 1-1-2 Oshiage, Tokyo,
Telephone: +81 570 550 634.
Opening times:

Daily 0800-2200.

Website: http://www.tokyo-skytree.jp/en
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Ueno-koen

Ueno-koen is Tokyo's largest park, with 1,000 or so cherry blossom trees. It also feeds museum fever, housing the Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum of Western Art, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, the National Museum of Nature and Science, and the Shitamachi History Museum. There's also a zoo and the Tokyo 'branch' of the Nikko Toshogu Shrine.

Address: , Taito-ku, Tokyo,
Telephone: +81 3 3828 5644.
Opening times:

Daily 0500-2300.

Website: http://www.tokyo-park.or.jp
Admission Fees:

No (yes for the museums)

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Sensoji Temple

This is Tokyo's most revered Buddhist temple - though its size, noise and commerce may surprise you. Giant lanterns watch over smoking incense, swirling crowds and teeming shops. Originally founded in AD628 to enshrine a statuette of the Kannon Bodhisattva (the Goddess of Mercy), damage from bombing raids mean that today you'll find a lavish, five-storey reconstruction. Smoke from the huge incense burner in front of the temple is said to have healing powers.

Address: Taito, 2-3-1 Asakusa, Tokyo,
Telephone: +81 3 3842 0181.
Opening times:

Daily 24 hours (grounds), 0600-1700 (hall).

Website: http://www.senso-ji.jp
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Edo-Tokyo Hakubutsukan

Housed in what looks like a colossal white spaceship, the Edo-Tokyo Museum is a wonderful place for visitors to get a feel for Tokyo's history and culture. The permanent exhibition is divided into three distinct areas, while temporary exhibitions regularly spice things up. The 'Edo Zone' opens with a replica of Nihombashi 'Bridge of Japan', which takes you on the tour throughout Tokyo's post-war reconstruction, political challenges and changes to everyday life.

Address: Sumida-ku, 1-4-1 Yokoami, Tokyo,
Telephone: +81 3 3626 9974.
Opening times:

Tue-Fri 0930-1730, Sat 0930-1930, Sun 0930-1730.

Website: http://www.edo-tokyo-museum.or.jp
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Tokyo Tower

Opened in 1958, this 333m (1,092ft) red-and-white tower is an almost exact replica of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, albeit a little taller. However, it's not only the extra height that's made the difference, the Tokyo Tower also includes an aquarium, several gift shops and a waxwork exhibit. The 250m-high (820ft) observation tower offers views as far as Mount Fuji, but you'll need a very clear day if you want to see that far.

Address: Minato-ku, 4-2-8 Shinbakoen, Tokyo,
Telephone: +81 3 3433 5111.
Opening times:

Daily 0900-2300.

Website: http://www.tokyotower.co.jp
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Tokyo Tocho

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Offices may not sound exciting, however the extraordinary architecture and free observation decks on the 45th floor make up for the boring name. Designed by Kenzo Tange, one of Japan's top architects, the monumental twin towers apparently took inspiration from Notre Dame in Paris. To everyone else, Batman's Gotham City springs to mind. The observation decks (one in each brooding, granite tower) have high-speed lifts to their spectacular city views. When the Tokyo mist lifts, you can even see the legendary Mount Fuji.

Address: Shinjuku-ku, 2-8-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, Tokyo,
Telephone: +81 3 5321 1111.
Opening times:

Daily 0930-2300 (north deck), 0930-1730 (south deck).

Website: http://www.metro.tokyo.jp
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Meiji-jingu

One of Japan's finest examples of Shinto architecture, the atmospheric Meiji-jingu (Meiji Shrine) is tucked away in the centre of a dark, cool forest - an unexpected oasis in the centre of the city. Passing through a vast wooden torii gate (a traditional Japanese gate found at shrines), you'll follow a wide gravel path deep into the forest and then onto the shrine itself. Look out for the rather unexpected homage to French wine – in honour of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken and their approach to modernisation and harmony with the outside world.

Address: Kamizono-cho, 1-1 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku,
Telephone: +81 3 3379 5511.
Opening times:

Daily dawn to dusk (usually 0500/0600-1600/1700).

Website: http://www.meijijingu.or.jp/english
Admission Fees:

No (charge for the Gyoen Inner Garden)

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Yasukuni-jinja

Perhaps the most controversial of all Tokyo's sites, this shrine houses the souls of those killed in various Japanese wars. The controversy arises over whether or not war criminals are inappropriately honoured here. Perhaps unlike other shrines you may come across in Japan, the Yasukuni-jinja is a more serious and sober affair, although still a place of beauty. Peaceful paper lanterns stand next to bold bronze statues of kamikaze pilots and information about the rise and fall of the samurai.

Address: Chiyoda-ku, 3-1-1 Kudankita, Tokyo,
Telephone: +81 3 3261 8326.
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1700 (museum 0600-1800).

Website: http://www.yasukuni.or.jp
Admission Fees:

No (charge for the museum)

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Tokyo Disney Resort

Tokyo Disney Resort is a faithful replica of the Californian original, complete with Adventureland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, as well as shows, parades and firework displays. The unique DisneySea Park, set against the backdrop of Tokyo Bay, offers several country-themed areas and is proving popular with the more mature crowds.

Address: Urayasu-shi, 1-1 Maihama, Tokyo,
Telephone: +81 45 330 5211.
Opening times:

Daily 1000-1800.

Website: http://www.tokyodisneyresort.co.jp/en/index.html
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Shinjuku-gyoen

For an impressive blend of Japanese, English and French gardens, head to Shinjuku-gyoen. Originally created for the royal family, these may well be the most beautiful gardens in Tokyo. It's a tradition here to picnic with your family and hang around the gardens on a sunny day. If the weather's not so good, there's also an imperial villa and a tropical greenhouse to explore. Visit in the spring if you can to catch a glimpse of that iconic Japanese bloom: cherry blossom.

Address: Shinjuku-ku, 11 Naito-cho, Tokyo,
Telephone: +81 3 3350 0151.
Opening times:

Tues-Sun 0900-1630.

Website: http://www.env.go.jp/garden/shinjukugyoen/english
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No