Guide to Tokyo’s Neighborhoods

Tokyo was the first city I visited in Asia and felt like I was in another world really, even more vibrant an amazing than I’ve ever imagined. I’ve wanted to visit Japan for so long, so it was a dream to finally be here. Since that trip I desperately want to go back as soon as I can, Japan it’s definitely one of my favorite countries in the world. 

You’ll find so much culture, colorful food, and a never-ending energy in every corner, being the world's most populous metropolis you could easily spend a lifetime exploring it, and since most of us only have a couple of days here’s a quick list of points of interest within Tokyo’s major neighborhood’s. 

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CENTRAL TOKYO

MARUNOUCHI 丸の内

Located in the heart of Tokyo, is filled with older office buildings and banks you can also find the JR Tokyo Station. Bordering the west side of Marunouchi is the Imperial Palace and the beautiful East Garden, which is free to the public.

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AKIHABARA 秋葉原

Akihabara “Akiba” is the iconic electric town of Tokyo the Mecca for otaku (geek) sub-culture. You’ll find massive amounts of game arcades, video game stores and anything you can imagine relating to anime and manga, including the Tokyo Anime Center and over 200 electronic shops.

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GINZA 銀座

If you are looking to go shopping for luxurious goods, Ginza is where you’ll want to go. Ginza is known for being the most expensive place in the world, and many luxury fashion brands such as Gucci, Channel, and Louis Vuitton have stores in this upscale area. 

The famous Tsukiji Fish Market is also just 2 stops from the Ginza neighborhood and it is also in Ginza that you will find Kabuki-za, a famous theater for Japanese Kabuki drama.

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NORTHERN TOKYO

ASAKUSA 浅草

At the heart of the Taito District is Asakusa with its impressive Senso-ji Temple. This beautiful seventh-century traditional temple is Tokyo’s most famous, is a neighborhood with an interesting history, was once a massive pleasure district until it was destroyed in World War II. 

It’s now known as the old part of town and where you can find Sensoji the largest Buddhist temple and home to several cultural treasures, you can find a recognizable giant lantern of Kaminarimon. Leading up to the temple is Nakamise Dori, where you can buy souvenirs and try different kinds of food. The new Tokyo Skytree is also easily accessible from Asakusa Station.

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UENO 上野

Ueno is a great place to experience old Tokyo atmosphere is filled with traditional homes and narrow streets, including nearby Ameyoko, a lively street market. However, what Ueno is most famous for is Ueno ParkUeno Zooand the Tokyo National Museum.

IKEBUKURO  池袋

Ikebukuro is another Tokyo neighborhood that's massive beyond comprehension. It's second only to Shinjuku in terms of size and crowds, well known for its haunted skyscraper and nerd girl shops.

WESTERN TOKYO

SHIBUYA 渋谷

The Times Square of Tokyo, right outside the of the Shibuya station you’ll find Shibuya Crossing, which also happens to be the world’s busiest crosswalk. Grab a coffee at the Starbucks overlooking the intersection and enjoy the rush.  You can expect bright lights and all the major brands for shopping, also be sure to check out the Hachiko statue and Moyai statue.

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HARAJUKU 原宿

Harajuku is the place to find all the latest trends in street fashion. If you’re brave, venture out to Takeshita Dori this shopping street is the epitome of Kawaii (cute) Japanese culture! It’s lined with Japanese boutiques, dessert shops, and fun restaurants. 

Meiji Jingu Shrineis a shire dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken, located a ten minute walk from both the southern entrance near Harajuku Station and the northern entrance near Yoyogi Station. Then entry to the shrine grounds is marked by a massive torii gate, after which the sights and sounds of the busy city are replaced by a tranquil forest.

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SHINJUKU 新宿

Shinjuku is a very popular business district and where Tokyo’s tallest skyscrapers are located, including the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Shinjuku is well known by Japanese locals for its nightlife, as it’s where Kabuki-cho, Tokyo’s red light district, and Shinjuku Ni-chome, Tokyo’s premier gay bar district, are found. You can also find here the Robot Restaurant where you’ll have an unique experience. 

In Shinjuku you can also find Golden Gai which is a very cool hangout with more than 200 bars crammed into six ultra-narrow streets, every bar has its own unique theme and atmosphere. You’ll find a blend of businessmen, celebrities, tourists, and everyone else looking for a fun night out.

SOUTHERN TOKYO

ROPPONGI 六本木

Roppongi is Tokyo’s best-known nightlife district for foreigners. Filled with an endless assortment of nightclubs, these party doesn’t stop here until the early hours of the morning. During the day, Roppongi is an urban center filled with offices, apartments and shops. Roppongi Hills, a 27-acre complex, is the most famous with over 200 shops, restaurants, entertainment facilities and apartments.

Standing 333 meters high in the center of Tokyo, Tokyo Tower. Prices 900 yen (main deck only) and 2800 yen (both decks). The best view spots of Tokyo Tower depending on which angle is your favorite: Shiba Park,  Zojoji Temple, Tokyo City View & Sky deck @Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, Sakurada Dori Street and the one I visited which was the World Trade Center’s observatory deck.

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 ODAIBA お台場

Odaiba is Tokyo’s newest neighborhood, built on a man-made island in Tokyo Bay. Connected to the mainland by Rainbow Bridge, you’ll find plenty of entertaining options throughout this modern oasis of futuristic buildings.

Around Odaiba you’ll also find various museums, the Panasonic CenterToyota’s Megaweb, the Fuji TV Building, as well as Tokyo Big Sight, Tokyo’s international convention center and one of the most amazing Mori Building Digital Art Museum.


OTHER PLACES TO VISIT

Koishikawa Korakuen | Yasukuni Shrine | Tokyo Dome City | Yurakucho | Kanda | Rikugien | Sugamo | Shinjuku Gyoen | Sengakuji Temple


THINGS TO KNOW

  • Most people in Tokyo speak limited english but will find english signs around the city.

  • Free public Wi-Fi isn’t common in Tokyo.

  • The currency is Japanese Yen - around 111 yen per 1 US dollar.

  • Many smaller spots don’t accept cards, so it’s good to have cash on you

  • When you are on public transport, stay off your phone and keep it on silent. If you see a young child, pregnant woman, elderly person, or someone disabled, give up your seat to him or her (it’s the law!).


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We’ve even created a free printable bucket list:

Click in the link below to download our Tokyo Bucket List.
 
 

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Have you been to Tokyo? Which is your favorite neighborhood?

Or which one would you like to visit? Let’s us know in the comments below.