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Top Tokyo Neighbourhoods

By Nathan George

Posted: 13th November 2014 16:00

Rather than think of Tokyo as one colossal urban jungle, it’s much easier to break it down into neighbourhoods.  Much like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, everything connects and fits in place.  The sheer size of the capital is such that public transport links are vital to get from one end to another.    

Uptown tends to reflect the rich cultural history of Japan with historic sites and monuments while downtown reflects the 21st Century with bars, nightclubs and high street stores.  Familiarising yourself with the matrix of subway lines will make your trip much easier and more cost effective. 

With over a thousand neighbourhoods to choose from it is practically impossible to get around them all.  So which neighbourhoods are worth a visit?  Here are our three picks that offer an unforgettably unique dose of Japan.

Nippori 日暮里

Best for: Culture

Based in the Arakawa Ward in east Tokyo, Nippori (short for Nishi-Nippori), is a vital transport hub that’s criss-crossed by railways with links to the Keesi Line and the Joban Line.  Aside from being easily accessible, Nippori is rich in culture.  Just a short walk away is Yanaka, an area that best preserves the look and feel of Second World War Tokyo.  It’s home to many beautiful religious temples and shrines that are great to explore, as well as one of Japan’s oldest cemeteries.  A must-see sight is the Nippori Fuji Viewing Slope, one of the last places in the capital from which Mt.  Fuji can be seen without scaling a tall building. 

Ginza 銀座

Best for: Shopping

A district of Chūō located south of Yaesu, Gina is an upscale area recognised as one of the most luxurious shopping precincts on the planet.  If you’re planning on picking up fantastic souvenirs then this is the perfect place to go.  The immense opulent area features hundreds of popular retail spots including first-class department stores, boutiques, second-hand shops and markets.  It’s a particularly popular destination on weekends, when the traffic is closed off to accommodate the expansive crowds.  After a long day dragging handfuls of bags around town, you can tuck into a traditional Japanese lunch at one of the neighbourhood’s many delectable restaurants and exquisite coffee houses. 

Asakusa 浅草

Best for: Sightseeing

Just a 10 minute walk from Kuramae in Tokyo’s downtown Taito district, Asakusa will fill your day with endless visual feasts and plenty of ‘jaw-dropping’ moments.  If you’re the pro-active sightseeing tourist type, then be sure to check out the many dazzling religious temples in the area, particularly Sensōji, Tokyo’s largest Buddhist temple.  If you head across the temple ground you’ll come across Hanayashiki, a small amusement park that claims to be the oldest in Japan.  After you’ve snapped some eye-popping selfies on the rides, make your way down the road to Sumida River and board a lavish cruise tour around the district.  The colourful location boasts some of Japan’s most beautiful architecture and stunning views so get the camera ready. 

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