Tokyo is Japan's capital, largest city, and most densely populated urban area, meaning that at first glance it's also a daunting destination for even the most experienced traveler. With 12 million people in central Tokyo alone—and an estimated 30 million packed into the 240-square-mile urban zone—Tokyo travel presents tourists with a unique and challenging adventure. When you visit Japan, Tokyo will likely be your first stop, and of all the tours Japan offers, the walking tours in Tokyo are some of the best. And, after all, what better way to get acquainted with the most populated urban area on earth than by foot! The most important thing to understand when embarking on any of the guided tours in Tokyo is that though the Imperial Palace is accepted as the center of the city, Tokyo doesn't really have a "downtown" area. Instead, Tokyo is divided into 23 self governed wards. Each of these wards has a distinct shopping, business and entertainment center.
Even if you normally eschew guided tours, you will have an easier time familiarizing yourself with the Tokyo attractions in each of these wards if you sign up for one of the tours in Tokyo on the first day of your Tokyo travel itinerary. The Tokyo Tourism Ministry offers 10 different guided walking tours. These Tokyo travel tours start from the Shinjuku or Yurakucho wards and explore major Tokyo attractions including shrines, shopping districts, parks, and even offer the chance to experience a Japanese tea ceremony.
Japan - Tokyo at Twilight
Though it would take years to truly learn the ins and outs of all Tokyo's wards, these guided sightseeing excursions are some of the best tours Japan offers, and highly worth your time. So what are some of the Tokyo attractions you can expect during your walk?
If you stumble into the Kabuki-cho area of the Shinjuku district, you've found the perfect place to grab a shot of sake or a cold Sapporo beer. Shinjuku, along with the Shibuya ward, are home to some of Tokyo's hottest nightclubs and friendliest watering holes.
But if you decide to visit Japan for all its great shopping opportunities, look no further than the Ginza and Roppongi Hills areas. Ginza is centrally located and easily identified by its overabundance of neon signs. The best time to see Ginza is on Sundays when the main thoroughfare is blocked to traffic and area comes alive with music, street vendors and the smell of fried seafood. Roppongi Hills was created as a city within a city, and offers the highest concentration of up-scale shopping, entertainment and dining options in Tokyo Japan.
If the crush of humanity gets to be too much, head to one of Tokyo's lush city parks where, if you visit Japan during the spring, you can witness millions of blooming cherry blossoms. Besides hanami (cherry blossom viewing parties) Tokyo's Ueno Park is home to the Ueno Zoo and the best natural history and fine-art museums in Japan.
Hidden amongst the skyscrapers of Tokyo are some of its historical sites. Some of the best historical tours in Tokyo include Buddhist and Shinto temples, and shrines. The Meiji Shrine is a shrine dedicated to the Emperor Meiji, the first emperor of modern Japan. The Meiji Shrine is located in Yoyogi Park, and various event and festivals are held at this shrine each year. Another great historical site is the Sensoji Temple. Located in the Asakusa section of Shitamachi (Tokyo's old town). The Sensoji Temple was built in 645 for the goddess of Kannon whose statue was supposedly found in the nearby Sumida River in 628 AD. A shopping street called Nakamise leads to the temple's outer gate. According to one local guide book, this shopping street itself has a history of at least two centuries
With so much to see and do, a visit to Tokyo Japan is one of the most exciting tours Japan has to offer. It is best to embrace the city with patience, an open mind, and comfortable walking shoes.