Team College Tourist Tips for Tokyo
Where to go and what to do in Tokyo, Japan
Get your seafood fix at the Tsukihi Market
One of Tokyo`s biggest attractions is the Tsukiji Market, the largest fish market in the world. Fruit, vegetables, flowers and meat are also sold here, but it`s the seafood that Tsukiji is most famous for. Over 2000 tons of almost 500 different types of seafood is traded daily. Whether you arrive early in the morning to watch the famous tuna auctions or later for a sushi breakfast, the market is a perfect place for seafood lovers. Tsukiji Market is not open every day, so make sure to check the Tsukiji Fish Market Calendar (http://www.tsukiji-market.or.jp/etc/calendar/2015.html) before you set your alarm!
-Julia Melina Wiesmann
Explore Tokyo Opera City
About 20 minutes from the Shibuya Station Bus Terminal is Tokyo Opera City. Tokyo Opera City is a large and unique complex that offers everything from art exhibits to concert halls to office spaces. One of the most remarkable attractions the complex has to offer is the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, which has rotating exhibits from well-known Japanese artists and occasionally an international showcase.
Equally impressive is the Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, which is known for it’s amazing acoustics and it’s primarily oak design. Natural light from the hall’s magnificent skylights engulfs the hall and all who encompasses it. If you’re lucky enough to enjoy a concert in the Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, it should be a memory you cherish forever.
-Brooke Stafford, Pennsylvania State University
Feel fashion forward in Harajuku
If you are a fan of fashion, make sure you visit Harajuku. It is a fun and colorful district in Tokyo and is known as the fashion capital of the world. It is most famous for it’s street fashion and is practically a giant outdoor catwalk. If you want to experience the entire culture, make sure you go on a Sunday. Sunday’s are when the teenage fashion culture is most extreme. Teenagers may be dressed as Gothics, Punks, Lolitas, or Cosplayers and no matter how they’re dressed, just watching them is a very entertaining experience.
As if it could get better, every two months Harajuku features a Harajuku Fashion Walk, which is like a big street party. People meet in the streets and show off their eclectic taste in fashion. Make sure you take a step or two into this district; your camera will love the unique fashion.
-Paige Wagner, Susquehanna University
Swing by Shibuya
From a local’s perspective, the suburb of Shibuya is the most exciting place for college-aged kids. Transportation from downtown Tokyo to downtown Shibuya is simple. Take the Narita Express (roughly 1.5 hours), then step out of Shibuya Station and you’ll feel like you’re in Times Square. Just outside of the station is Shibuya Crossing, which is found to be one of the busiest pedestrian street crossings. This main area in Shibuya is filled with people hanging out until the early morning and is packed with various shops, amusement, and restaurants. Near the station is the Nonbei Yokocho street, which is lined with bars.
-Kristin Naujok, Texas A&M University
Find peace in Tokyo’s Kichijoji district
Amidst the fast-paced energy of Tokyo, find peace in the city’s Kichijoji district. Referred to as “an oasis in the city,” Kichijoji provides everything needed to enjoy a relaxing day away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Kichijoji is home to Inokashira-koen, a green-filled park with a large, picturesque pond. Look towards the middle of the pond for row boats as well as a shrine to sea goddess Benzaiten. Bring a picnic and enjoy the serenity on a park bench or on the lush grass.
Located in the Kichojoji, visitors can get wild with the Inokashira Park Zoo or visit the Ghibli Museum. Don’t be afraid to check out the shops and vendors down the yokocho alleys and shopping streets. Getting to this oasis is easy, take the train line JR Chuo and hop off at the Kichijoji station.
-Rachel Jenkins, Susquehanna University
Take a day trip
While in Tokyo, you should utilize the city’s location and take a few day trips to experience all that Japan has to offer. Two hours north of the city is Nikko, home to the famous Nikko Toshugu shrine. It is one of Japan’s most decadent shrines. Nikko Toshugu is beautifully placed in the middle of a forest, and consists of a dozen beautifully crafted buildings.
While in Nikko, also experience it’s awe-inspiring national park. This national park is home to a beautiful mountain landscape, with lakes, waterfalls, and several wild monkeys. The park is great for those that enjoy hiking, with a number of trails to choose from, and incredible views to match.
-Jonathan Drapinski, Regis College
Observe the city skyline from the Sky Tree
The Toyko Sky Tree is a new television broadcasting tower. This structure is the tallest in all of Japan and the second tallest in the whole world. This structure offers stunning views of Tokyo which you can witness by visiting the two observation decks. The lower of the two decks is called the Tembo deck. It reaches 350 meters high and has three levels, all offering stunning views. Within these floors you can find a restaurant, cafe, and souvenir shop as well. If you would like to go higher, up to 450 meters high you can visit the Tembo Gallery. This is the world’s highest skywalk. So if you’re brave enough to reach new heights and see great sights the Toyko Sky Tree is the place to be.
-Alyssa San Agustin, California State University San Marcos
Pay tribute to the Edo Clan
Like a real-life time machine, stop by one of the oldest parks in Tokyo, Koishikawa Kōrakuen Garden, preserved from the Edo clan that perished in the 15th century.
Also from the 15th century is the architectural masterpiece, Edo Castle, which is now part of the Tokyo Imperial Palace complete with moats, walls, and ramparts from the original castle. If you happen to be there when the cheery blossoms are in full bloom then check out the moat located in the northwest of the Imperial Palace called Chidorigafuchi. There you can rent a boat and get the best view of the flowers. You can always check with the Japanese Weather Association for the cherry blossom forecast for each spring.
-Samantha McIsaac, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth