Tokyo’s Most Popular Neighborhoods
With 23 “special wards” (municipalities) and dozens of diverse neighborhoods, Tokyo offers a little bit of everything. Planning to explore the world’s largest city can be an intimidating prospect, so we’ve broken down the megalopolis into a more manageable list. Here are some of Tokyo’s most popular neighborhoods, and the attractions that make them worth a visit.
Much like no visit to New York City is complete without seeing Times Square, it’s hard to say you’ve “done” Tokyo without watching the human tide roll in and out at Shibuya Crossing, often called the world’s busiest crosswalk.
Another of Shibuya’s must-see sights is Meiji Shrine, the most popular of Tokyo’s Shinto shrines. Built in 1915 to honor Emperor Meiji, the sanctuary and its forested grounds within Yoyogi Park receive millions of visitors every year.
Adjacent to Yoyogi Park and located within Shibuya, Harajuku is ground zero for Japan’s Harajuku culture, a constantly evolving street fashion movement typified by everything from cosplay and gothic punk to Victorian-era clothing and garish, mismatched outfits.
The best place to get an up-close look at this street fashion scene is pedestrian-only Takeshita Street—especially on Sundays—where the city’s youth gather in all their Harajuku glory. Nearby Omotesando, a tree-lined street often compared to Paris’ Champs-Élysées, features a high-end fashion scene with flagship stores from names like Louis Vuitton, Prada and Gucci.
The heart of Ebisu, one of Tokyo’s most expensive neighborhoods, is Yebisu Garden Place, a collection of buildings and skyscrapers that houses restaurants, shops, hotels, offices and museums. This “city within a city” is built on the site of the former Japan Beer Brewery Company.
For a neighborhood built around beer, what better attraction to visit than the Yebisu Beer Museum? Located near parent company Sapporo’s world headquarters in Yebisu Garden Place, the museum features tours (in Japanese), exhibits and a beer tasting room.
If your cultural interests lean more toward art than malt beverages, Ebisu’s Metropolitan Museum of Photography features a large permanent collection and frequently changing exhibitions. Admission to the main building is free, though there is a fee for individual exhibits.
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