|Best Time to Visit:
||March to May or September to
November (with harsh winters or summers in rest of the months)
||Sony Building, Imperial Palace, Temples of
Asakusa, Meiji Shrine, Joypolis Sega, Kiyomizu-do Kannon Temple,
National Children's Castle, Sensoji Temple, Sunshine International
Aquarium, Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office (TMG), Tokyo Tower,
Toshogu Shrine, Tsukiji Fish Market & Yasukuni Shrine
|Major Entertainment Centers:
||Shinjuku Gyoen Park, Asakura Choso Museum, Beer
Museum Yebisu, Bridgestone Museum of Art, Crafts Gallery, Tokyo
Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo Sea Life Park, East Garden,
Edo-Tokyo Museum, Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum, Fukagawa Edo
Museum, Hama Rikyu Garden, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, John Lennon
Museum, Koishikawa Korakuen Garden, Museum of Contemporary Art, National
Museum of Modern Art, National Museum of Western Art & Ota Memorial
Museum of Art
||Ginza, Harajuku Takeshita-dori, Akihabara,
Omotesando, Shibuya & Aoyama
|Near by Places (Excursions):
||Mount Fuji, Kamakura, Yokohama, Kunitachi City,
Nikko & Hakone
|Famous Food & Beverages (Gourmet's Delight
||Nigirizushi (fish pressed onto rice), Monja-yaki
(half-pancake) & Okonomiyaki (half-pizza dish)
|Foreign Embassies & Consulates:
||Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil,
Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany,
Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Korean, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nepal,
New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa,
Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, UAE & US
|History & Evolution
The present day Tokyo was founded in the 12th century as the village of Edo
(also Yedo or Yeddo) when a local warlord, Edo Taro Shigenada built a fort
there. The city started off as an insignificant little fishing village,
which was fertile and rich and due to this reason exchanged hands between
various rulers from 1300s to 1700s.
The official year of the foundation of Tokyo is considered to be 1457 when
the ruler of Dokan Ota built the first castle on the site. But it was during
1600 that Tokyo actually became a power center under the reign of a powerful
Shogun, Ieyasu of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The family of Shogunate kept on
ruling the country for more than 250 years, until 1867 and this was the
period actually called as Edo era when people lived in peace.
During this period, American general Perry came over to Japan demanding Edo
government to open the country that had been closed long against foreign
countries. This started the Meiji restoration in 1868, marking the end of
Tokugawa shogunate and restoration of imperial rule. The Emperor moved to
Edo and renamed it as Tokyo, which thus became the capital of Japan.
During this Meiji Period (1868-1912) receiving its official name, Tokyo
continued to develop as a commercial, administrative and social center and
began its rapacious absorption of Western civilization. From 1912-1945 came
the period of Taisho and Showa that saw further development of the city.
Nothing seemed to stop the modernization during this era, but in September
1923, Great Kanto Earthquake broke down the city destroying most of it. Soon
followed the war with the United States in which Tokyo was air-bombed nearly
130 times reducing its population about the half.
In 1947 the new constitution came into effect and in 1952, American GHQ
(general headquarters) left Tokyo and Japan regained its sovereignty.
The economic boom during 1980's created an economic bubble in Japan when
the prices went sky high and it seemed impossible for an average citizen to
buy a house in Tokyo. But this bubble soon got burst in the next decade and
90s in Japan were called "a decade lost". But soon with the
arrival of the 21st century, signs of recovery started to show at last and
today Tokyo is trying to open a new phase, as a true international city.
Tokyo is largely considered as a hard-core concrete jungle with high-rise
skyscrapers and industries, but beneath this concrete shell is a cultural
life left very much intact.
It is in fact the best place in the world to experience Japanese performing
arts, crafts, first-class unique museums and range of other diverse
This huge city is has multiple centers of shopping and entertainment to
lure the visitors in every way. On the other hand, Tokyo is an exciting
cosmopolitan city with probably the best restaurants of any major city in
Standing on a huge on the very spot where Edo Castle used to stand during
the days of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Japans Imperial Palace is the
heart and soul of Tokyo. The present palace, which was completed in 1888, is
still home to the emperor of Japan.
Though the palace remain close for the visitors most of the time but its
grounds and surrounds comprising of Higashi Gyoen (East Garden) remains open
to the public. Its only on special days like 2 January and 23 December each
year that 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 also offered at this time.
The Imperial Palace was destroyed during air raids in 1945 which was then
rebuilt in 1968 using strictly the principles of traditional Japanese
Hibiya Dori Ave
Edo Tokyo Museum:
Edo was the old name for Tokyo from its foundation in 1590 and thus, the
Edo Tokyo Museum is dedicated to the citys history, art, culture and
architecture through the medium of visual displays.
The Exhibits of the museum include a replica of an ancient Kabuki theatre,
maps, photographs and portrayals of the lives of the citys merchants,
craftsmen and townspeople of ancient Japan.
It is said that the building housing this museum resembles a rice granary
when viewed from afar but to some it also looks like a modern Torii (the
entrance gate to a shrine).
Founded in 628 AD, Sensoji is citys oldest temple with a peculiar
legend attached to it. The legend has it that two young brothers while
fishing netted a golden image of Kannon (the Buddhist goddess of mercy) that
was then enshrined in the temple.
Besides this, the temple also has numerous festivals associated with it
together with a hugely popular firework display on the Sumida River every
Attracting more tourists is the colourful pedestrian lane leading to the
temple, which is lined with shops and souvenir stalls. Further the Demboin
Garden is a good spot to grab a break from the city crowd.
Asakusa Taito-ku, Shitamachi
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Offices (Tokyo Tocho):
Designed by one of Japan's top architects, Kenzo Tange, the Tokyo
Metropolitan Government Offices are recognized both for their extraordinary
architecture and free observation decks on the 45th floor.
The offices consist of two monumental towers and a Metropolitan Assembly
Building making an impressive addition to the skyline of west Shinjuku.
Together these buildings contain everything from Tokyo's Disaster Prevention
Center to the governor's office. Whereas, the 48-story, 240m (800 ft) high
twin towers boasts two observatories which can be reached by high-speed
elevators offering a spectacular views of Tokyo and on clear winter days you
can even see Mount Fuji.
One of the loveliest gardens in Japan, Shinjuku Gyoen ironically is
situated in the heart of Tokyos one of the most crowded, busy and
bustling areas. Originally the gardens of a family of feudal lords, Shinjuku
today is a public park sprawled over 150 acres.
Not just a traditional Japanese garden, it also incorporates English and
French-style gardens and a greenhouse bursting with tropical flowers.
Further, its medley of pathways, artificial hills, ponds and bridges
with close to 3000 types of plants, trees and shrubs makes its a
The garden looks at its best during the spring season with its cherry
blossoms and flowers of around 1900 and in autumn when the chrysanthemum
exhibition is held.