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Tokyo, Japan: Travel Guide

Top attractions in the bustling metropolis of Tokyo.
Originally a small fishing village, the bustling metropolis of Tokyo has become one of the most advanced cities in the world. Tourists flock to the city for its culture, history and greenery.

Weather/ when to go:

For the most part, Tokyo enjoys mild weather but the summer months are hot and humid with thunderstorms often present. The weather is much more pleasant between March and May -- early April is typically the time to catch the cherry blossoms ("sakura") in full bloom. Typhoons are a distinct possibility during the rainy season (which usually runs from June to July). Autumn is usually pleasantly warm without the summer humidity but you may experience typhoons during this part of the year too. Snow can occur during the winter but won't normally settle too heavily.

Do & see:

Kokyo (The Imperial Palace)

Located in the center of Tokyo, the Imperial Palace boasts impressive greenery and a water-filled moat, with the Outer Garden (Kokyo Gaien), the East Garden (Kokyo Higashi Gyoen) and the Kita-no-maru-koen Park all open to the public for free. The Niju-bashi Bridge is a great photo opportunity and other attractions include a stone wall in the East Garden that has stood since the days when the Imperial Palace was known as Edo Castle and was home to samurai warriors, the Museum of the Imperial Collections in which Emperor Hirohito's art collection is displayed, the Science Museum, the National Museum of Modern Art and the seasonal flowers that bloom at certain times of the year. The nearby moat is known as Chidori-ga-fuchi and offers a great view of the famous cherry blossoms.
Address: Kokyo


Tokyo National Museum

Home to the largest collection of Japanese and other Asian art in the world and features several exhibitions and events throughout the year. The TNM collection includes 600 works of art such as paintings, sculptures, calligraphy, textiles, decorative arts and archaeology, all of which are owned by the museum.
Address: Tokyo National Museum


Toyota Mega Web

The Mega Web is a theme park designed around Toyota cars. In the Tokyo City Showcase, you can see new models being debuted and even take a few of them for a test drive (you'll need a valid driver's licence to qualify). Learn more about Toyota technology by taking part in the hands-on attractions. Check out older models from both Toyota and other manufacturers in the History Garage (featuring cars from the Golden Age) and take some of the display vehicles for a test drive (as long as you book in advance).
Address: 1 Aomi Koto-ku


Tokyo Tower

See spectacular views across the Kanto region of the city from the various observational platforms of the tower. The Main Observatory on the first platform (150m) offers a 360 degrees view and also has a coffee shop to help you really enjoy the view. If you want to go higher, you can climb to the Special Observatory (250m) on the top floor, which offers views of Mt. Fuji and Mt. Tsukuba. The tower itself is 333m but it's not possible to climb right to the top.
Address: 4-2-8 Shiba-ken Minato-ku


Daikanransha

This is one of the tallest ferris wheels in the world and offer a bird's eye view of central Tokyo. On a clear day, you might also be able to spot Mt. Fuji in the distance.
Address: 1 Aomi, Koto-ku


Museum of Maritime Science

If you like boats, you'll love this museum, which is in the shape of a boat. The main focus is on sea-going ships and you can even have a go at being the captain courtesy of the simulations for passenger ships, cargo ships, submarines and patrol boats. The Japan Coast Guard also work in the building and you can take a sneaky peek through the glass while they're going about their work. The top floor features an observatory which offers views over Tokyo Bay.
Address: 3-1 Higashi Yashio Shinagawa-ku


Kanto Earthquake Memorial Museum

The museum serves as a memorial for the 50,000+ people who were killed during the devastating earthquake of 1923, which destroyed 70 percent of the city and you can learn more about the tragedy here.
Address: Yokoami-kōen Sumida-ku


Kokuritsu Seiyo Bijutsukan (National Museum of Western Art)

If you're a fan of art, this museum should be high on your to-do list. Works from the Matsukata collection are exhibited here, which were collected by Kojiro Matsukata. The museum was originally intended to display pieces of art that had been collected during his travels to Europe, although not all of these survived but those that did span from the 14th Century through to the 20th Century. Some of the artists exhibited include Van Gogh, Renoir, Manet, Monet, Moreau and Picasso.
Address: 7-7 Ueno Kōen Taitō-ku


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