Tokyo, the capital city of Japan is one of the must-visit places if you are planning to visit Asian countries! It has many attractions starting from the great palaces like the Imperial Palace and museums like the National Museum of Nature and Science to shopping districts and many more. You can book your flights through Cathay Pacific and add up a few places from the below list to your itinerary.
1. The Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace of Tokyo has one of the most beautiful landscaped areas in Japan. It is located in the Marunouchi financial district just about a 10-minute walk away from the Tokyo Station. The Imperial Palace dates back to the 17th century and still serves as the permanent residence of the Imperial Family, since 1869. However, it is not possible to see the interiors of the palace. However, you are free to explore the surrounding gardens, well-paved lawns and other notable attractions like the Edo Castle of 1457. Tours of the Imperial Palace are also available for those who are interested in learning a bit more history of Japan.
2. The Sensō-Ji Temple
The Sensō-Ji Temple, located in the Asakusa district of Tokyo is the city’s oldest and the most visited temple. It is an ancient Buddhist temple dedicated to Bodhisattva Kannon, Kannon translates to compassion in English. According to common folklore, two fishermen have found a statue of the Kannon in the Sumida River in 628 AD and the chief of their village has built a temple by enshrining the statue. Today, the street that leads to the Sensō-Ji Temple is packed with vendors selling all types of goods starting from colourful masks to wooden toys! You can also see a five-story pagoda inside the temple known as the Asakusa Shinto shrine and 33-meter high Kaminari-mon Gate.
3. Tokyo National Museum
Tokyo National Museum located in Ueno Park of Tokyo is a must-visit attraction for all those history buffs out there! It is the city’s oldest museum and houses a large collection of art. You can mostly see Asian art; Japanese, Chinese, Indian and so on. There are over 10,000 art pieces and many other cultural objects including the 89 National Treasures of Japan within this museum. The highlights of the Tokyo National Museum are Greco-Buddhist art, Japanese textile collection and Chinese lacquer work. Guided tours are available for those who are interested in learning more about the cultural aspects of Japan.
4. Ueno Park and Ueno Zoo
Ueno Park and Ueno Zoo is the best place to be with kids and is perfect for evening strolls. It is located near Ueno Station in Tokyo. This park is a historically significant place because it was a part of the Kaneiji Temple which was ruled by the Tokugawa clan. It was then restored as a public park after it was nearly destroyed during the Boshin Civil War. Today, it is home to many temples and museums including the Bentendo Temple, Tokyo National Museum, National Museum of Nature and Science. The Ueno Park is crowded in March and April when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Make sure to visit the Ueno Zoo as well; it is famous for pandas and other 300 types of animals.
5. National Museum of Nature and Science
National Museum of Nature and Science is the largest science museum in Tokyo. It is the perfect place to awaken the curious minds of you and your little ones. The museum is located in Ueno Park and therefore, it can be a combined day out. The National Museum of Nature and Science was opened in 1871 and today, it has 250,000 items on display related to science & natural history. The highlights of the museum are dinosaur fossils, 360-degree movie theatre and exhibits from outer space which includes a meteorite named Nantan that hit China in the 1600s. You can also buy souvenirs for your kids at the gift shop in the museum.
6. The Meiji Shrine
The Meiji Shrine of Tokyo was built in the memory of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken. The constructions of the Meiji Shrine began in 1915 and ended in 1926. It was then destroyed during WWII but restorations were done in 1958. So, what you see here today is not the original building but as of today, you can stroll in the spacious evergreen gardens and make a wish near the wishing tree. You can also visit the Naien (inner precinct) and the Gaien (outer precinct). The Naien contains the treasure museum and you can visit the Gaien’s Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery to know more about Emperor Meiji and the Empress.
7. National Museum of Western Art
National Museum of Western Art, located in the Ueno Park houses the finest art collections from all over the world. It is located about 5 minutes away from Ueno Station. The exhibits you see here are mostly Western art particularly from the art collection of Kojiro Matsukata, which he collected in the 20th century during his visits to European countries. There are about 4000 artworks on display and the highlights are the ones done by Rodin, Delacroix, Moreau, Manet, Monet, Van Gogh and Picasso.
8. Tokyo Skytree
Tokyo Skytree is an observation tower in Sumida, Tokyo and it is the perfect place to watch an incredible sunset in Japan. This is also the place to be during the firework festivals in the city. Tokyo Skytree goes up to a height of 634 meters. It is the tallest structure in Japan. The observation decks are located at two levels; 350 meters and 450 meters. The entire structure’s architecture is impressive because of its unique colour which is known as the ‘Skytree White’. Make sure to visit the Tokyo Skytree at night to enjoy the alternating light shows that are themed as Iki, sky blue and Miyabi.