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Tokyo Tourist Map ( Click the map to enlarge it! )

Tokyo Tourist Map

Tokyo has a vast array of sights, but the first items on the agenda of most visitors are the temples of Asakusa, the gardens of the Imperial Palace (in Chiyoda) and the Meiji Shrine. Tokyo has many commercial centres for shopping, eating and simply wandering around for experiencing the modern Japanese urban phenomenon. Each of these areas have unique characteristics, such as dazzling Shinjuku, youthful Shibuya and upmarket Ginza. These areas are bustling throughout the day, but they really come into life in the evenings.

If you're looking for a viewing platform, the Tokyo Tower is the best known but a rather overpriced, not to say uninspiring, choice. The highest spot in Tokyo is the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building (in effect, Tokyo's City Hall) in Shinjuku. Its twin towers have viewing platforms that are absolutely free, and offer a great view over Tokyo and beyond. However, the best option would probably be from the World Trade Center Building (10:00-20:00, or 21:00 in July and August, 620 Yen) at JR Hamamatsucho station which, although not as high, offers stunning views of Tokyo Tower and the waterfront due to its excellent location, especially at dusk. A recent addition to the viewing platforms around Tokyo is Tokyo City View in Roppongi Hills, Roppongi-admission is a steep 1500 Yen, but includes admission to the Mori Art Museum. Another good option, if you don't mind traffic noise and smell, is the Rainbow Bridge at Odaiba, whose pedestrian walkways are free. The night-time view across Tokyo Bay is impressive but the walkways close at 8:00PM. Also, on a clear day, the Bunkyo Civic Center (next to the Tokyo Dome) offers an iconic view of Shinjuku against Mt. Fuji (especially great at sunset), also free.

The city is dotted with museums, large and small, which center on every possible interest from pens to antique clocks to traditional and modern arts. Many of the largest museums are clustered around Ueno. At 500 Yen to 1,000 Yen or more, entrance fees can add up quickly.

Riding Sky Bus Tokyo, an open-top double-decker operated by Hinomaru Limousine (every hour between 10AM and 6PM), is a good option to take a quick tour around the city center. The 45 minutes bus ride on the "T-01 course" will take you around the Imperial Palace via Ginza and Marunouchi district, showing the highlight of Tokyo's shopping and business center. The fare is 1,500 Yen for adults of 12 years old and over, and 700 Yen for children between 4 and 11 years old. You can borrow a multi-language voice guide system free of charge upon purchasing a ticket, subject to stock availability. Four other bus courses are offered, including a night trip to Odaiba, but those trips are conducted in Japanese with no foreign language guidance.