Tokyo Travel Guide
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ITINERARIES

Ginza
An area of town, as well as the name of the most popular shopping complex in Tokyo, the Ginza is where you will find the city's most expensive and contemporary shops, bars and restaurants. The Sony Building offers floor after floor of state of the art technology, set up much like an arcade.

Hama Rikyu Detached Palace Garden
The Hama Rikyu Detached Palace Garden, south of Tokyo central, is 25ha (62ac) of Tokyo's greenest and most finely landscaped real estate. In the 17th century it was the happy hunting ground for the Tokugawa shogunate but passed into the hands of the good citizens of Tokyo, post WWII. The park is actually on an island, cut off from the surrounding metropolis by an ancient walled moat and accessible by only one entrance over the Nanmon Bridge.

Imperial Palace
apan’s Imperial Palace is regarded as the heart and soul of Tokyo, standing on a huge site that still bears the remains of Edo Castle, stronghold of the Tokugawa shogunate. The present palace was completed in 1888 and is still home to the emperor of Japan. The palace is off-limits but its grounds and surrounds provide a much-needed green open space for the city with Higashi Gyoen (East Garden), site of the Edo Castle keep, open to the public. On 2 January and 23 December each year visitors are able to enter the inner grounds and see the Imperial family make public appearances from the balcony. Guided tours of the palace are offered, but are only in Japanese, although an English pamphlet and audio guide are provided; these must be reserved in advance through the Imperial Household Agency. In spring the gardens are abloom with cherry blossom, particularly along the castle moat.

Yasukuni Shrine
To the north of the Imperial Palace lies the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, built to commemorate Japanese war dead and now regarded as home to the souls of about two and a half million who perished in conflict, mostly in the Pacific War of World War II. Soldiers fought in the knowledge that their spirits would find rest and honour at Yasukuni in the after-life. The shrine has caused controversy for various political reasons over the years since it was built in 1869 in honour of supporters of the emperor, killed in the run up to the Meiji Restoration. More recently, with regard to the country’s constitution that requires the separation of State and religion, cabinet ministers have been criticised for attending anniversaries of Japan’s defeat in World War II held at the shrine.

Tokyo National Museum
Close to Ueno Station, enclosed in the Tokyo Metropolitan Imperial Gift Park, the National Museum boasts the largest collection of Japanese art in the world. Exhibits range from antique kimonos and delicate pottery to woodblock prints and archaeological finds. The vast collection is displayed on a rotating basis with at least 4,000 artefacts visible at any time, so the museum always has something new to offer. The museum consists of five different buildings containing numerous galleries, so one needs sufficient time to do it justice.

Tsukiji Fish Market
This huge wholesale fish market -- the largest in Japan and one of the largest in the world -- is a must for anyone who has never seen such a market in action. And the action here starts early: At about 3am, boats begin arriving from the seas around Japan, from Africa, and even from America, with enough fish to satisfy the demands of a nation where seafood reigns supreme. To give you some idea of its enormity, this market handles almost all the seafood consumed in Tokyo. The king is tuna, huge and frozen, unloaded from the docks, laid out on the ground, and numbered. Wholesalers walk up and down the rows, jotting down the numbers of the best-looking tuna, and by 5:30am, the tuna auctions are well under way (the entire auction of sea products takes place about 5-7am). The wholesalers then transfer what they've bought to their own stalls in the market, subsequently selling the fish to their regular customers, usually retail stores and restaurants.

Shinjuku
The Shinjuku district is, without doubt, the most vigorous part of Tokyo; two million people per day pass through Shinjuku subway station alone. With a total lack of irony or tongue-in-cheekness, the two sides - east and west - sit side-by-side in mutual harmony; west Shinjuku is the staid, buttoned-down commercial hub of the city, while the east is its colourful, seedy and exotic counterpart. The west is planned, administrative and skyscrapered, while the east side is rambling, chaotic and full of fast-food joints and pawn shops.

Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo Disneyland is filled with many people through the year - there is no off-season here. Both adults and children enjoy the fun in Tokyo Disneyland. Tokyo Disneyland is located in Urayasu, Chiba. It is right outside of Tokyo. The best way to get there is by taking the JR Keiyo line train from Tokyo to Maihama station. Then it is only a 10 min. walk from Maihama station to Tokyo Disneyland.

Tokyo Tower
Constructed in 1958, Tokyo Tower soars 333 meters, 13 meters higher than the Eiffel Tower. There are two observatories from which to get panoramic views of Tokyo, and Mount Fuji on a clear day. The Main Observatory is 150 meters high, the Special Observatory, 250 meters high. The tower is lit by 164 floodlights: orange in winter, and incandescent white in summer. Inside the tower, you will also find the Tokyo Tower Wax Museum , the Mysterious Walking Zone and the Trick Art Gallery.

Ueno-koen park
If Ginza is for shopping, Ueno-koen Park is for strolling, museum-hopping and temple-gazing. The area of Ueno was historically the Alamo of the last shogunate - site of his futile last-ditch effort to prevent a takeover by the imperial army. Today it's a carefully landscaped park dotted with museums, temples and a not-half-bad zoo.

Akamon (Red Gate)
The elegant Akamon, a symbol of the University of Tokyo, is also an important national cultural treasure. Built to welcome Yasuhime, the daughter of the 13th generation Shogun Ienari, on her visit to the samurai Maeda Family in 1828, the gate got its name from its beautiful vermilion color, and its eaves still retain the Maeda Family crest. While you are on the grounds, pause to consider this century-old masterpiece.

University of Tokyo
The University of Tokyo is the premier university in Japan and (many say) the whole of Asia, known for its history, tradition and excellence. This national institution was founded in 1877 and has since grown to accommodate 28,000 students with 10 undergraduate faculties, 12 graduate schools, 11 research institutes, a hospital, libraries and other facilities. The Hongo campus, once owned by the samurai Maeda Family of the Kaga Clan, has such famous landmarks as the Akamon, Yasuda Auditorium and Sanshiro Pond.

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