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Places to Visit in Tokyo

by Vishal Kumar

Tourists can take a break to go on a Tokyo tour this holiday. There are many attractions in Tokyo that they can visit while their stay in the city. From museums, shrines, and temples to parks and gardens there are numerous tourist spots located in Tokyo, the capital city of Japan.

A trip to Tokyo can be an ideal break from the daily schedules of life. There are many attractions in Tokyo that are very popular and also interesting. From museums, shrines, and temples to parks and gardens, there are numerous tourist spots located in Tokyo, the capital city of Japan.

The public parks are open to tourists and local people. Some of the parks charge an entry fee from the visitors. Some of them have been identified as historical sites. The natural parks and gardens in Tokyo offer magnificent views. Ueno Park, Shiba Park, Yoyogi Park, Kintua Park, and Imperial Palace East Gardens are some of the popular tourist attractions of the city.

The theme parks in Tokyo like Tokyo Dome City, Sea Paradise, Pargue Espana, Tokyo Summerland, and Sega Joypolis are notable tourist destinations in Tokyo. Tokyo Disneyland is one of the major attractions in Tokyo. Children, as well as adults, love to spend time in this beautiful park.

Meiji Jingu Shrine, Sensoji Temple Asakusa, Yasukuni Shrine, and Gokuku Ji Temple are some of the most visited shrines and temples in Tokyo. The temples are worth visiting due to their architectural works. Some of these were built by the ancient rulers of Japan. The peaceful and serene ambiance of the religious places attracts several tourists.

Museums are also major attractions in Tokyo. The museums in Tokyo have a good collection of exhibits for visitors. Ancient Japanese culture and tradition are reflected through the artifacts in the museums. National Museum of Western Art, The Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo National Science Museum, Mori Art Museum, and Edo Tokyo Museum have frequently visited places in Tokyo.

Tokyo National Museum

Tokyo National Museum established in 1872 is the oldest and largest Japanese museum. It has a collection of over 90,000 items representing the cultural and architectural heritage of Asian civilizations with special emphasis on Japan.

National Museum in Tokyo consists of five buildings, each of which is dedicated to a particular theme.

  • Honkan or Japanese Gallery – This was the original gallery designed by Josiah Conder, an architect from Britain. After being damaged by the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake, it was reconstructed between 1932 and 1938. The reconstructed building designed by Watanabe Jin resembles the ’emperor’s crown style’. There are 24 exhibition halls spread over two floors displaying Japanese artwork from 10,000BC to late 1800. The displays are categorized into ceramics, thematics, weaponry, and sculptures.
  • Toyokan Asian Gallery – This building designed by Taniguchi Yashira was inaugurated in 1968. Ten exhibition rooms distributed from the 1st to the 3rd floors are dedicated to art sculptures and artifacts from China, India, Southeast Asia, Korea, Middle East Asia, and Egypt.
  • Gallery of Horyuji Treasures – This gallery spread over six chambers displays the artworks donated by Horyu-Ji to the Emperor in 1878. This building designed by Yoshio Taniguchi is furnished with conservation material. Explanations for the artworks are provided in Japanese, English, French, Chinese, and Korean.
  • Heiseikan – The Heiseikan was built in 1993 to commemorate the wedding of the crown prince. Constructed specifically for exhibition purposes, this building has a Japanese Archaeological Gallery on the first floor.
  • Hyokeikan – This is the latest addition to Tokyo National Museum. The Hyokeikan built in Western architectural form resembling Meiji style was to honor the wedding of the crown prince of Taisho. It was opened in April 2007 as an education center.

Tokyo National Museum remains open from 9:30 am to 5 pm and up to 6 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and National holidays between April and December. During special exhibitions, the museum remains open till 8 pm on Fridays. This Tokyo Museum remains closed on Mondays and from 28th December to 1st January.

Yoyogi Park, Tokyo

Yoyogi Park is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Tokyo, Japan. In 1967, this big city park was opened featuring lovely lawns, forests, and ponds. This wooded park is situated very close to the Meiji Shrine in Shibuya and the Harajuku Station is only 5 minutes away.

However, while talking about the location of this city park, it should be mentioned that the current venue of Yoyogi Park was an important destination for the Tokyo Olympics of 1964. Prior to that, it was a residential place for the military personnel of the United States.

There is a number of cherry trees spread all over Tokyo Park. However, Yoyogi Park is more popular for its Ginko tree forest that turns golden during the season of autumn. This place can also be enjoyed for the purpose of picnic, jogging and sporting activities. Apart from this, the Yoyogi Park features a fenced dog-run ground, which is covered with wood chips.

Recently, the Governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara announced his plans to establish a stadium in this park so that in 2016, Summer Olympics can take place here. The stadium is expected to be constructed in such a manner that it can accommodate up to 100,000 spectators at a time. The Yoyogi Park remains open from 5 am to 8 pm.

Kitanomaru Park, Tokyo

Kitanomaru Park is one of the renowned parks in Tokyo. It is located near the Kudanshita Subway Station, within a walking distance of about 2 minutes. Kitanomaru Park is situated on the northern side of the famous Imperial Palace in Tokyo and is near the famous Yasukuni Shrine.

Kitanomaru Park, Tokyo is easily accessible to tourists and visitors from different parts of the city. The park is a favorite getaway for the people of Tokyo and visitors to the city. People visit the park with families and friends, often for a picnic on a holiday. Besides, the park is also a favorite spot for couples and elderly people who enjoy a stroll in its calm and serene surroundings. Kitanomaru Park in Tokyo houses a number of important buildings.

The Science Museum Tokyo, The National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo, and the Nippon Budokan (the hall of martial arts) are situated in the park. The Cherry Blossom time during the spring season attracts a large number of visitors to the park.

During this time, the trees lining the pathways wear a colorful look and multiply the beauty of the park to a great extent.

From the Kudanshita Station, it takes only 2 minutes on foot to reach Kitanomaru Park, along the Honzomon, Tozai, and Shinjuku lines. Tourists can also hire taxis to reach the place. The park is open from 10.00 to 17.00 on all days. On Mondays, the park remains closed. Admission to the park is free of charge.

National Science Museum, Tokyo

Tokyo National Science Museum is a major tourist attraction, especially for children since its inauguration in 1871. It is within 5 minutes walking distance from Park Exit of Ueno railway station of Japan Railways. Ueno rail stations of the Keisei Line, and Ginza-Hibiya Lines are within a walking distance of ten minutes from the National Science Museum in Tokyo.

This Science Museum in Tokyo has permanent displays on various fields of science with a special emphasis on life’s evolution on earth. The stress is more on the historical and developmental aspects of science rather than the technicalities. Stuffed animals including dinosaurs, interactive experiment galleries, and the solar system section are the major attractions of the Tokyo Science Museum.

The National Science Museum in Tokyo is made up of the Main building, New Building, and Midori-Kan Building. Two outdoor exhibits form additional attractions.

  • The Main Building – The first floor has a display of the evolution of animals from dinosaurs to humans. Natural Selection is the subject of display on the second floor. The third floor is an assortment of Asian animals and plants, Japanese conventional clocks, and space exploration. The flag planted on the moon’s surface during Apollo 11’s expedition is exhibited here.
  • The New Building – The exhibits in the New Building are distributed among five floors. The basement is a display of dinosaurs and fossils belonging to the Cretaceous Period. While moving upwards two interactive galleries ‘Discovery Wood’ and ‘Discovery Plaza’ come in the way. The second floor is devoted to an experiment section, where visitors can try them out. The third floor is made up of artificial wood with stuffed birds and animals which can be felt. The fourth and fifth floors are for special galleries.
  • The Midori-Kan Building – This is the smallest of all the three buildings. On the second floor of this building a stuffed body of Hachiko, the legendary Japanese dog, is kept as an exhibit. According to legend, Hachico waited for his master at the railway station for years. Another important attraction is a giant squid with extended legs.

A giant-sized blue whale made of steel and suspended in a diving position by steel posts displayed outdoors is a favorite attraction.

Tokyo National Science Museum remains open from 9 am to 4:30 pm on all days except Mondays. In case Monday is a national holiday, Tuesday remains closed. Special astronomical observations are held for two hours after sundown on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Gokuku-ji Temple, Tokyo

Gokuku-Ji Temple is a famous tourist attraction in Tokyo. This is a Buddhist temple located in Bunkyoku in Tokyo. This Japanese temple built in 1681 by Shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi was dedicated to his mother Keishoin.

Gokuku-Ji Temple in Tokyo was declared an imperial mausoleum in 1873 by Emperor Meiji. Tourists and local Japanese people gather here to pay homage to Emperor Meiji and his children’s graves inside the temple premises.

The beautiful buildings inside the temple premises on a hillside offer a spectacular view of Tokyo city. The main temple is a marvelous example of Japanese architecture. The temple portico stands out in this magnificent edifice. The entire complex comprising the bell tower, pagodas, the buildings, and the gate is a typical representation of Japanese Edo architecture. The Gokuku-Ji main temple organizes the Japanese Tea Ceremony held across all the temples in Japan. Apart from the graves of Emperor Meiji and his children, those of Mitsuaki Tanaka, and Aritomo Yamagata are also placed here.

A statue of Lord Buddha seated in a meditative posture is another attraction of the Gokuku-Ji temple. Visitors are not permitted to wear shoes inside the temple compound. Photography is allowed except inside the main temple building. Devotees may burn incense sticks.

Gokuku-Ji temple becomes spectacular during the winter season with the snowfall all around. Visitors to Tokyo must never miss the opportunity to visit this renowned historical site.

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