Tokyo and Kyoto definitely top the every traveler’s must-see list. There are great number of attractions, sights and activities in those cities that should not be missed. Visitors are offered unlimited choice of culture, entertainment, shopping and dining experiences combined with pleasant greenery in the outskirts.
Tokyo and Kyoto are considered two different faces of Japan. The capital is a wonderful mix of urban skyscrapers and old-fashions houses, high-tech gadgets and freaky fashion, gigantic shopping malls and family noodle shops hidden in the side streets. While Kyoto is full of historical remnants of its past glory and ancient temples adored by the foreigners and locals. However, they strangely complement each other in their uniqueness and beauty. Therefore, we will give you useful suggestions what places to visit while travelling around Tokyo and Kyoto in order to see all faces of modern Japan.
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Author: Bong Grit
Must see attractions in Tokyo
Tokyo (東京) is one of the liveliest metropolises in the globe with the busy atmosphere of Japan’s capital. It boasts the great variety of luxury stores, historic temples, interesting museums and attractive parks worth to spend a day there. Here is the list of the 5 must see attractions visitors can head their steps to.
1. Imperial Palace
Imperial Palace (皇居) was constructed on the land of Edo castle and encircled by solid walls to protect the Imperial Family of Japan. This outstanding cultural landmark comprises of beautiful gardens, ancient bridges, natural ponds and excellent museums. Visitors can take a stroll towards the famous iron bridges called Niju-bashi and enjoy a pleasant day on the inner grounds of East Gardens.
Location: 10 minutes by walk from Tokyo Station.
Opening hours: every day except Monday and Friday from 9:00 until 16:00.
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Author: Kevin Poh
Every Internet user on the globe knows about Akihabara (秋葉原), the district in downtown Tokyo famous for its geek stores. More than 250 electronic appliances and manga shops are lined along its main street Chuo-dori. Last years it became the lively center of Japan’s otaku culture, and many stores selling anime and manga are scattered among the busy shopping malls.
Location: Akihabara Station.
Opening hours: shops are usually open from 9:00-10:00 until evening.
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Author: Danny Choo
3. Meiji Shrine
Meiji Shrine (明治神宮) is a Shinto shrine in Shibuya district devoted to the 19th-century Emperor Meiji who introduced Japan society to the West. Its grounds have wonderfully serene and peaceful atmosphere with less number of noisy tourists. In order to get to the picturesque cypress park, visitors should pass through the 12-meter tori gate and purify their hands and souls at the cleansing stations.
Location: 1-1 Yoyogi-Kamizonocho, Shibuya district. Get out at Harajuku station.
Opening hours: from sunrise to sunset.
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Author: Eugene Wei
4. Tokyo Skytree
Tokyo Skytree (東京スカイツリー) is one of the world’s tallest alone-standing broadcasting tower with a height of 634m. Its massive building is capable to withstand even the strong earthquake. Sky Tower offers stunning panorama of Tokyo lying in all directions over the Kanto plain.
Location: 1 Chome-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida.
Opening hours: from 11:00 to 20:00.
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5. Ueno Park
Ueno Park (上野公園) is a spacious green park popular among Tokyo residents and guests that covers the territory of 300 acres. Many museums, shrines, attractions and educational institutions are located within its grounds. During the springtime, it draws thousands of visitors who come to gaze at the blossoming of Japanese sakura (cherry tree).
Location: adjacent to Ueno Station, Higashien Station, Nishien Station and Keisei Ueno Station.
Opening hours: 24 hours a day.
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Must see attractions in Kyoto
Kyoto is a most suitable destination for historical trips and sniffing out traditional Japanese culture. Former capital for more than 1000 years, Kyoto proudly owns collection of World Heritage sites, geisha streets, old temples and cultural attractions. Visitors are strongly recommend not to miss the 5 must see places described below.
Kiyomizu-dera ((清水寺) is adored by all the lovers of traditional Japanese culture and religious sites. Despite numerous buildings and pagodas, most prominent mark is wooden stage that stretches 13 meters above the earth. Spring and autumn season draw many tourists longing to see the beautiful scenery of blooming maple and cherry trees.
Location: 294 Kiyomizu 1-chome, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto.
Opening hours: 6:00 to 18:00.
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Author: Yu-Yee Lien
Gion (祇園) is a historical geisha district filled with traditional teahouses, wooden buildings and entertainment venues. Visitors are wandering around the area to get a single glimpse of a pretty apprentice geishas hurrying ahead in their wooden sandals and expensive outfit. The district turns liveliest when the sun goes down and street cafes lit their lantern to welcome guests.
Location: 5-min walk from Shijo-Kawara-machi.
Opening hours: 24 hours a day.
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Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺) or the Golden Pavilion is one of the most popular attractions of ancient capital constructed in the XIV century. There is no shortage of excited sounds and clicking of camera shutters when its main hall covered with gold leaf patterns is shining above its water reflection. Thousands of visitors come in crowds to witness undoubted splendor of Kinkaku-ji beauty.
Location: 1 Kinkakuji-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto. Kinkaku-ji Michi bus stop.
Opening hours: 9:00 – 17:00.
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4. Nijo Castle
Nijo Castle (二条城) is loved for its picturesque gardens and Ninomaru-Goten building mostly used as Tokugawa samurai residence in the past times. Its gorgeous architecture and interior design demonstrate the colossal Shogun power over the Emperor family. Visitors can spend hours wandering around the castle’s grounds and enjoying attractive scenery.
Location: Nijojomae Subway Station (Tozai Line).
Opening hours: 8:45 – 17:00.
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Author: Yvon Liu
Arashiyama (嵐山) district invites visitors to stroll down along its rural residential areas and endless fields. The pleasant way to enjoy its peaceful atmosphere is waking or cycling through the lush greenery of bamboo groves. They become particularly attractive if a light wind slightly rocks them back and forth.
Location: Saga Arashiyama Station (Sagano Line) or Katsura Station (Hankyū Arashiyama Line).
Opening hours: 24 hours a day.
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Author: David Sanz