Here is the second half of my tour of Tokyo. To read Part 1, click here.
Shinjuku is one of the primary wards in Tokyo, and it is the location of many of the government and commercial buildings. Most of the skyscrapers in Tokyo’s skyline can be found here. The nearby Golden Gai area of Shinjuku is one of the centers for nightlife within the city, with numerous small bars and restaurants lining the winding streets. I didn’t get to spend nearly as much time as I wanted to here since my back gave out after a long day of touring the city, but this is one of the top places I’d like to revisit on my next trip.
Tsukiji Fish Market
Tsukiji Fish Market is the largest fish and seafood market in the world. Although the market is listed on every tourist page about Tokyo, it is definitely not geared towards tourists. I had to dodge fast-moving carts and eager shoppers as I navigated the tight spaces. You can arrive very early (like 4 am early) to get in line for the tuna auction, or you can arrive later in the day and enter the inner markets at your leisure. Every kind of sea creature imaginable can found inside, and once you’ve had your fill of fish guts, you can head out to markets across the street for some fresh sushi.
Located in the Ueno district of Tokyo, Ueno park was one of the first public parks in Japan. The park houses multiple museums, shrines, and temples, and it is easily accessed by the train. I spent the better part of a day here, and there really is a lot to see crammed into one moderately sized park. One interesting part of the park was the statue honoring Saigo Takamori, who is often referred to as the last samurai (yes, the Tom Cruise movie is based on him).
Tokyo Imperial Palace
The Tokyo Imperial Palace is the primary home of the emperor of Japan and his family. The Imperial Palace has been located in central Tokyo since the late 1800s. In order to enter the main palace gates, you need to make a reservation in advance. I did not make reservations since I was unsure of my schedule; however, the East Garden is open to the public without reservations. The East Garden houses multiple old guard buildings and large stone walls. The most interesting part of the garden was the Matsu no Oroka (Great Corrider of Pines) where Asano Naganori assaulted Kira Yoshinaka. This assault was the impetus for the events of the forty-seven Ronin.
Rainbow Bridge and Odaiba
Rainbow bridge connects Tokyo with Odaiba, a man-made island. The bridge is illuminated at night, although not always in rainbow colors as I found out the hard way. There are some great views of the Tokyo skyline as you walk across, and on the other side you can enjoy some of the Odaiba beaches or explore the many other entertainment options the island has to offer. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to really enjoy Odaiba since I could barely stand up following a long day of walking and sightseeing, but this is another place I’d love to revisit when I return.