SHIBUYA Hachiko, Shibuya, Shibuya-ku The world's busiest pedestrian crossing, with hundreds of people walking in every direction every 3 minutes, surrounded by blaring video screens and neon-clad buildings. Scarlett Johansson watches it all from the second floor of Starbucks in "Lost in Translation". Next to the crossing, a paved square featuring a bronze statue of a legendary dog - also named Hachiko. The dog used to walk to Shibuya to meet his owner at the end of each day and kept doing it for 7 years after the owner died. Hachiko has become a legend and his statue is Shibuya's most famous and crowded meeting point.
AKASAKA 2-10-5 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku hiejinja.jp A highly respected place of worship, Hie Jinja was designated as a First Class Government Shrine before World War II, when the buildings were burnt down. If you're in Tokyo during the first half of June, go to Hie Jinja for its annual festival.
IMPERIAL PALACE EAST GARDENS (KOKYO HIGASHI GYOEN)
1-1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda-ku Closed on Mondays and Fridays A huge green space offering total peace and a jump back to the 17th century. The East Gardens are the former site of Edo Castle's innermost circles of defense. None of the main buildings remain today, but the moats, walls, entrance gates and several guardhouses still exist. Beautiful, peaceful, delightful.
GARDEN 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku-ku +81(0)333500151 Tuesday-Sunday, 9am-4pm One of Tokyo's most beautiful gardens, with a mix of French, English and traditional Japanese styles. This is especially beautiful and popular for viewing Cherry Blossoms.
OMOTESANDO to HARAJUKU Jingumae, Shibuya-ku Tokyo's "Champs-Élysées", Omotesando is the avenue in between Aoyama and Harajuku and the crowd is a mix of both areas: Harajuku girls, gothic lolitas and chic couples. A shopping mecca, from luxury brands flagships (Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Christian Dior...) to the famous toy store Kiddy Land (www.kiddyland.co.jp) - schedule at least an hour to shop through this temple for kids of all ages, open from 10am to 9pm.
Tsukiji Fish Market. Largest food market in the world.
Go early in the morning and watch all of the vendors. Make sure to try to stay out of the workers way as this is were all the good restaurants come to buy their fish. On the other side of the market is the food and vegetable and fruit market. You can usually only buy in bulk but it’s alway nice to go.
After the market go down the street where there are lots of small sushi restaurants. Many tourists visit this location so there are menus in English. This is where all the workers from the market usually go to eat. You can pretty much just try to find an open one as all of the fish is the best in the world.
Tokyo, Chūō, Tsukiji, 5 Chome−2−1, Japan
Chiba to Tokyo 14 Chidori, Urasayu-shi, Chiba-ken +81(0)3473805555 www.excel-air.com It's quite a ride to Urasayu Heliport, but totally worth it. Choose your "course": day, twilight or night; from 5 to 20 minutes flights. An amazing experience, we recommend the sunset flight.
TOWER OF WINDS
YOKOHAMA (30 minutes from Tokyo)
Yokohama train station, Yokohama-shi Designed by Toyo Ito in 1986, the Tower of Winds is a 21m high water tank and ventilation plant for the shopping mall underground. Made of over 1,000 lamps, 12 neon rings, and 30 flood lights, the aluminum-clad in the daylight opens up to the mirrored plates at night. Plays of colorful lights are always different, depending on ambient sounds, wind forces, time and season.
YOYOGI PARK & MEIJI SHRINE
HARAJUKU 1-1 Yoyogi-Kamizono-cho, Shibuya-ku +81(0)333795511 Meiji Shrine & Inner Garden: Spring & Autumn open 5:10am-5:50pm daily / Summer open 5am-6:30pm daily / Winter open 6am-4:10pm daily * Meiji Shrine Garden: March to October open 9am-5pm daily / November to February open 9am-4pm daily www.meijijingu.or.jp One of Tokyo's largest parks, Yoyogi Koen (Yoyogi Park) makes a great spot to watch the cherry blossom in spring. Official site for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the former buildings are still nearby. Be sure to visit Meiji shrine as well. Sunday is a good day to go as all of the Harajuku Kids are outside the park in their outfits. At the entrance of the park is where the famous “Tokyo Rockabillies” dance all day.
TOKYO BAY CRUISE
BOAT CRUISE For a cruise across the Edo River, board onto Himiko, the boat designed by Reiji Matsumoto, author of anime such as Yamato, Galaxy Express 999 and Herlock. You can even charter Himiko for 100,000 yen per hour, from 6 to 9pm, for 50 people (above 50: extra 2,000 yen per person).
MITAKA INOKASHIRA PARK
FOR FANS OF MIYAZAKI ANIMATED FILMS
Studio Ghibli’s museum and park filled with all your favorite characters. Make sure to book in advance as admission is only by reservation. Please visit their websites to see how to book.
〒181-0013 Tokyo, Mitaka, Shimorenjaku, 1 Chome−1−83