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Tokyo Area Guide

One of the most unique aspects of Tokyo as a city is how it is divided up. Tokyo city is a conglomeration of 23 different wards which, in many ways, function autonomously. Each ward has its own feel and atmosphere, and sometimes this mood can change as quickly as from one station to the next. This means Tokyo has no single dedicated downtown or single residential district; it all depends on the area. This makes Tokyo a wonderful city to explore, with landmarks and interesting stations scattered all throughout the city.

North Tokyo

Description North Tokyo is marked by two popular stations, Ueno and Asakusa. Ueno is well known Ueno Park. The park is quite large and contains a number of different sites, including Tokyo National Museum, National Museum for Western Art, the National Museum of Nature and Science, and Ueno Zoo. A less well known quarter of Ueno is Ameyoko, a sprawling bazaar-like market near the station. Asakusa, on the other hand, is famous for Asakusa Kannon Temple and its wealth of traditional Japanese style goods.

East Tokyo

Description East Tokyo has a number of interesting and famous places to visit. One popular place for tourists to visit is Akihabara. Akihabara is nicknamed Electric Town because of the numerous computer and electronics shops around the station, though it is also a well-known hub for nerd culture in Tokyo. A more recent addition to East Tokyo is the Tokyo Sky Tree at Oshiage Station. The Sky Tree is the tallest tower in Japan, and offers a wonderful view of the city.

North Central Tokyo

Description Northern Central Tokyo holds a wealth of famous places and interesting things to do. In the northern area lies Ikebukuro. Its abundance of large department stores, shopping malls, and bars make Ikebukuro a popular place for young people to hang out. Waseda University, one of Japan’s top public universities, is also located in North Central Tokyo. Finally, you can find Tokyo Dome at Korakuen Station in North Central Tokyo. Tokyo Dome is known for hosting large concerts and events, while also being the home of the Yomiuri Giants, Tokyo’s baseball team.

Central Tokyo Area

Description The Central Tokyo Area is largely a business and government district. The main station in Central Area is Tokyo Station, an expansive, bustling transfer point that connects 8 different lines which make their way all around Tokyo. Recently, Tokyo Station was reconstructed to resemble its original red brick look. The inside was also altered, and a number of stores and restaurants were added, including the well-liked Ramen Street in the basement. Close to the station is the Imperial Palace, the residence of the Emperor and Empress of Japan.

Ginza Area

Description The Ginza area is renowned as a high end shopping and dining district in Tokyo. The stores in Ginza tend to sell world famous brand goods, such as Louis Vuiton, Prada, and Hermes. The streets in Ginza have an air of luxury, and most people dress up when visiting the area. The area is host to a number of prominent chefs and bartenders, as well. If you’re not up for the expensive side of Ginza, you can walk to Yurakucho Station which is home to a number of small, affordable drinking places and restaurants.

Bay Area

Description The Bay Area is comprised mostly of a series of man-made islands down south in the Tokyo Bay. One attraction on these islands is the Odaiba area. Odaiba is a well-known recreation district with several shopping malls and other attractions to visit. Speaking of attractions, another famous tourist spot in the Bay Area is Tsukiji Fish Market, where you can go and see the day’s catch being sold. The Tokyo Bay Area tends to be very scenic as well, with a number of nice parks scattered across the artificial islands.

Shinagawa Area

Description The Shinagawa Area is based around Shinagawa Station down in southern Tokyo. This area is a center for business, government agencies, and hotels. Shinagawa Station has good access to both Narita and Haneda Airports, making it a popular area for businessmen visiting Tokyo to stay. Shinagawa is also the home to several embassies as well as the Tokyo Immigration Bureau. There are a number of other stations around Shinagawa, such as Hamamatsucho, Gotanda, and Osaki, all well-known business hubs.

Minato Area

Description Minato is a one of the wards in Tokyo, located just north of Shinagawa. The Minato area is largely upscale and fairly expensive to live in. The most famous part of Minato for foreigners is without a doubt Roppongi. Roppongi is well-known for its wealth of high-class restaurants and shopping. It also has one of the premier clubbing scenes in Tokyo, making it a popular destination for tourists and Japanese people alike looking for a fun night on the town.

Shinjuku Area

Description The Shinjuku Area is a bustling, popular district of Tokyo with a lot to see and do. Shinjuku Station is one of the largest and busiest stations in Tokyo. The area surrounding the station is dense with stores and restaurants no matter which way you go. You can find clothing, bars, and even Tokyo’s most popular gay district, Kabukicho, around the station. Also in the Shinjuku Area are Yoyogi and Okubo. Yoyogi is a little more relaxed than Shinjuku, being famous for Yoyogi Park. Okubo is Tokyo’s Koreantown, and is often packed with people.

Shibuya Area

Description While it’s difficult to decide what the most famous area of Tokyo is in foreign countries, Shibuya is certainly one of the most recognizable. Shibuya is a somewhat pricey shopping and entertainment district that’s quite popular with the younger crowd of Tokyo. It’s an expensive but highly desirable place to live. Close by Shibuya is the Ebisu Station area which is marked by a number of small, trendy boutique stores. One station away from Shibuya in the other direction is Harajuku, a street famous for its stylish, but peculiar fashion.

Meguro Area

Description The Meguro Area is located in south-western Tokyo, right south of Shibuya. Although it is close to Shibuya and Minato, it doesn’t share their expensive housing prices. This, along with its proximity to the fashionable Shibuya and Ebisu Stations, make it a popular residential area, especially for families. The Meguro Area also contains Naka-Meguro, a small neighborhood that is famous for its beautiful cherry blossoms in spring. Naka-Meguro also has Yutenji Temple, one of the main temples for the sect of Pure Land Buddhism in Japan.

West Tokyo

Description West Tokyo, like the Meguro Area, tends to be a popular place to live due to its easy access to the Shinjuku and Shibuya areas. It’s also more expensive than the east side of Tokyo, but it’s generally considered trendier by Tokyo residents. One such station in West Tokyo is Shimokitazawa Station, recently voted the hippest neighborhood in the city by Tokyo dwellers. This is evidenced by Shimokitazawa’s variety of stylish, upscale shops and vast social scene.