Japan, the country of the Rising Sun was and always will stay one of the most exotic, unique and enchanting places on the globe. Thousands and thousands of tourists visit the country every year. You may wonder why Japan is so extraordinary, yet the answer is very simple. The history, culture and traditions of the country are one to its own. Japan is a marvelous land where West and East meet, unite and yet do not cancel out one another. It is simply a given that a country with such an amazing historical and cultural heritage as Japan is a beloved touristic spot in each and every part of the world.
Yet the country is quite large and the touristic spots worth visiting are countless. Even one’s lifetime may not be enough to explore the whole country. Most Japanese themselves do not get to visit Kyoto, the majestic former capital of the country from the Middle Ages filled with hundreds of unspeakably beautiful shrines and temples, until they are in their late 20s, or even 30s. Most Japanese might use the Golden and Silver Weeks, as well as the extended weekends to travel through the country. In case you are a foreigner studying or working in Japan, this is probably going to be the case for you too.
Then again, a question arises: Where should I go? It is not an easy feat to answer this question, but let us try and list some of the must-visit places while your stay.
The first thing that comes to mind is of course Tokyo, the capital of Japan, one of the largest megalopolises in the world (the largest if we include its suburban areas). But then again, not even a whole month would suffice to explore all of the beauty and magic of Tokyo. Hence, let’s concentrate on some of the key points of the city.
One of the first things to do as soon as you arrive in Tokyo is to explore Shinjuku. For starters the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, basically the head of the administration of the city is located in Shinjuku. Secondly, the busiest railway station in the world is Shinjuku Station. Don’t worry if you get lost in here, everybody does. Some other interesting places to visit in Shinjuku would be the famous Gyoen Park, Metropolitan Observatory, and of course do not forget Kabukicho, the red-light district.
Second place to visit on your list should be Shibuya. You surely have heard of the most crowded crossing in the world. Well, it is located in front of Shibuya station. Shibuya is housing the entertainment in Tokyo. The district is filled with high-class boutiques, expensive night clubs, bars and pubs. Shibuya is also famous for the statue of Hachiko, a dog who kept waiting for the return of its owner at the very spot of the statue, even after the latter had passed away. Make sure to take a photo with Hachiko!
The next step is Harajuku. Harajuku is famous for its Takeshita Street, where the most daring and unbelievable fashion trends are born and displayed, worn without any reservations. Takeshita Street is also famous for its crepes, so make sure to taste those delicious “atrocities” (spoiler alert: you might gain some weight). From Harajuku you can easily access one of the most famous shrines throughout the whole country, Meiji Jingu, dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and his wife. It is located in a wonderful park, so take your time to enjoy the scenery.
Another absolutely must-visit spots in Tokyo is Ikebukuro. One of the essentials is the Sunshine City. This place is one of the oldest parts of Tokyo and has some amazing skyscrapers. Ikebukuro also houses Gokokuji temple, which is a historically important spot since the Tokugawa Edo era. Japan has some amazing parks, and if you are a greens enthusiast, you should definitely stop by at the Nishiguchi Park. You can even find one of the most interesting cat cafes called Neko no Iru Kyukeijo.
Our next stop should be Asakusa. For starters visit the Sensoji Temple. The place is famous for its Thunder Gate and Divine Sandals. On your way to the Sensoji Temple you will pass through Nakamise Dori, a street filled with small shops and boutiques built in the spirit of old Japan. On your way back drop by the famous Tokyo Skytree. This is the tallest tower in Japan at 450 meters.
These are some of the essential places to visit in Tokyo, but absolutely not all of them. Consider this list to be a starting point, which will help you explore the wondrous city of Tokyo.
Graduated from Yerevan State University and received MA Degree. Currently researching Japanese history and culture.
An avid reader and an aspiring writer who started writing as a freelancer in early 2015. Living, studying, and working in Japan has opened her eyes to the perks and detriments of Japanese society, leading to both hardships and rewarding experiences.