A guide to Tokyo’s most interesting neighbourhoods

With over 12 million inhabitants, Tokyo has more people than some entire countries, and visiting it is anything but monotonous. This huge city has some surprises in stock for you at every corner – high technology that seems like something from the distant future, intermingled with glimpses of old Japan. The Japanese capital is one of the most colorful, busy and bewildering places in the country, and it’s virtually impossible to see every nook and corner of it (not even the inhabitants know it perfectly!). But if you want to take a good look at the city, here’s a guide to Tokyo’s most interesting neighborhoods.

Harajuku

Harajuku, photo by tie78reu on Flickr

If you’re into fashion, then there’s no way you haven’t heard about Harajuku before, the land where some of the most unique and crazy Japanese fashions are born. Harajuku is the haunt of Japanese teenagers who are experimenting with clothes and accessories, and many tourists come to this neighborhood only for the sake of taking photos with the futuristic, wonderful creatures showing off in the area. If your eyes need a rest, you can head to Yoyogi Park or the Meiji Jingu Shrine.

Roppongi

Roppongi’s fame rests on its reputation as a nightlife and commercial hub, especially for foreigners. There are a couple of very interesting museums in Roppongi (Mori Art Museum, National Art Center Tokyo), but the real life of Roppongi starts at night, when the countless clubs (some more savory than the others) open. Don’t be surprised if club staff will try to convince you to enter their establishment, it’s customary in Roppongi to hunt for customers.

Shibuya

Shibuya, photo by Stefan on Flickr

Shibuya is the premier shopping district in Tokyo, a dazzling place with hundreds and hundreds of high-class shops and department stores, as well as offbeat shops selling music, manga, anime, electronics and other things. Shibuya also has a great cultural life and is home to a couple of weirdly interesting museums (the Tobacco and Salt Museum, TEPCO Electric Energy Museum).

Akihabara

If you’re a fan of Japanese animation (anime) or comics (manga), or if you simply love all things related to technology, then Akihabara is nothing less than a paradise. The Electric Town is full of shops selling all the techno-gadgets you’ve never heard of, and merchandise of possibly every fandom in the world. An interesting experience in Akihabara is going to a cosplay restaurant, where the staff in dressed in costumes from films, comics or cartoons. All around, Akihabara is definitely one of Tokyo’s most interesting neighborhoods.

Taito

Asakusa, photo by Stefan on Flickr

Taito district is a piece of the Tokyo of the past, and a welcome respite from the huge crowds and neon lights of the modern city. Taito comprises the neighborhoods of Ueno, which has a beautiful park (Ueno Park), pretty quiet streets and affordable restaurants and shops, and Asakusa, which is where you will find some of the most beautiful temples in Tokyo.

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