We spent seven days in Tokyo and did so many things that we decided to split our itinerary in two posts. This is the second one outlining our last four days in the Japanese capital. Click here to read the first part.
Our first stop on our fourth day was the Jikken Bridge. This bridge was half an hour walk from our Airbnb and offers a perfect view and, if you’re lucky, a perfect reflection of the Tokyo SkyTree. Jikken Bridge is a very Instagrammable photo spot and worth stopping by if you’re in the neighborhood!
After visiting the photo spot, we went to the SkyTree itself. The Tokyo SkyTree, at 634m, is the tallest structure of Japan and the second-tallest structure in the world. It’s used as television and radio broadcast site and of course there is also an observation deck open to visitors. Tokyo Solamachi is a pretty big mall with lots of stores and restaurants and is located at the foot of the tower. You can get access to the SkyTree from the 4th floor of the mall. We were there on a Sunday afternoon and the line to get tickets was so long, we didn’t even bother. If you want to visit the SkyTree, we recommend to arrive early, especially on the weekends (or you can buy the fast SkyTree ticket). On a clear day, you can even see Mt. Fuji!
Same-day ticket, floor 350: JPY 2060
Same-day ticket, floor 450: JPY 1030
Fast SkyTree ticket, floor 350: JPY 3000
Fast SkyTree ticket, combo floor 350+450: JPY 4000
Please note that the Fast SkyTree tickets are only for international visitors.
Check this website for current ticket prices.
Pokémon Center SkyTree Town
Visiting a Pokémon Center while you’re in Japan is a must! We visited the Pokémon Center SkyTree Town which is in Tokyo Solamachi. The signs in Solamachi were a bit confusing, but eventually we found it. You can find the Pokémon Center on the 4th floor of the mall, on the eastern side.
Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center
From the Tokyo SkyTree it’s a 20-minute walk to the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center. The tourist center has a free observation deck on the 7th floor with views of the Tokyo SkyTree as well as over Asakusa and Senso-ji. We were at the observation deck during sunset which is highly recommendable!
Senso-ji is the oldest, and probably most-famous, temple in Tokyo. You enter the temple grounds through the Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate), which will lead to Nakamise-Dori, a 250m street lined with 89 small shops. The Hozomon (Treasure House Gate) is the entrance gate to the inner complex, where the five-story pagoda and the main hall are located. We visited during peak hour and it was absolutely packed. If you don’t mind the crowds, visiting on a Sunday is recommendable as lots of people are dressed in Japanese traditional clothing (Kimono).
Temple grounds: always open
Main hall: 06.00-17.00 (daily)
Nakamise-Dori: 09.00-19.00 (daily, may differ per shop)
No entrance fee.
Our fifth day was a special day. We planned to go to Rikugi-en, a traditional Japanese garden, and there was snow forecasted for that day. We imagined it to be some light snow, which would melt the moment it hits the ground. When we left our Airbnb, it had just started snowing. We traveled to the garden by metro, which was a 30-minute ride underground, and once we exited the metro station, everything was covered in a 5-10cm thick layer of snow. Boy that escalated quickly. The garden was completely covered in snow and it looked like a winter wonderland! After spending 1-2 hours in the garden taking lots of pictures, we were completely frozen as we weren’t prepared for so much snow. If you ever find yourself in Tokyo while it’s snowing, go to the Rikugi-en Garden: it won’t disappoint.
JPY 300 (adult)
Gotokuji was the last temple left on our list. Gotokuji is known as the “Lucky Cat” temple and it’s full of beckoning cat-figures (Maneki Neko). There are different stories circulating the Internet about the origins of the temple, but they all feature a luck-bringing cat. All Maneki Neko are offered by visitors to the temple, the beckoning cat is believed to make wishes come true. You can buy a beckoning cat figure at the administration building of the temple grounds. Besides all those cute cat figures, the temple grounds are very pretty too. There’s a beautiful pagoda and if you visit during Spring, you might be lucky and see the cherry blossoms in full bloom.
No entrance fee.
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building observatories
The Tokyo Metropolitan government is housed in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. The architecture of the building is very impressive. The building is huge with 45 floors above ground. There are two panoramic observation decks in each tower on the highest floor. We initially planned to go to the observation deck, but it was already getting dark and we were getting hungry. We admired the building from the ground which was very impressive already. If you want to take pictures from the view, we would advise you to go before sunset as we read that there are a lot of window reflections when it’s dark.
Observation deck opening hours:
No entrance fee.
On our last evening in Tokyo, we decided to explore the area of Shinjuku. Shinjuku is a major commercial and administrative center. Surrounding Shinjuku Station, there are many restaurants, shops and malls. It’s a very lively area and this was also the first place in Tokyo where we saw other Western tourists, and quite a few at that.
Our seventh day was a travel day. We got up early to catch the Shinkansen to Ishiuchi for some snowboarding fun!
Tokyo has the most complex public transport system we’ve ever experienced and it’s not only because of the language barrier. Unlike every other city we’ve ever been to, the urban rail system in Tokyo are owned by several rail companies (over 11). It happens very often that you need to change rail operators at a certain station to continue your journey. It’s not just switching trains to another platform, it’s switching buildings. This is very time-consuming as it’s often hard to find the right exit to the other rail operator, and the stations are often huge with many shops so it takes a very long time to get out of the one station and into the other (especially when both stations are underground). Getting around in Tokyo hardly ever takes less than 30 minutes, not counting the time you need to find the right station and buying the right ticket from the right operator.
Have you ever been to Tokyo? Let us know in the comments below!
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