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> in Tokyo
> Shibuya
> Shinjuku
> Harajuku
> Ginza
> Aoyama
> Tokyo Tower
> Asakusa
> Akihabara
> Ueno
> Ebisu
> ... and more.

> in Kyoto
> Kyoto, Higashiyama
> Arashiyama
> ... and more.

Photo: Shibuya Foodshow court. Giving it a deep thought and choosing the right kind of pastry is a national pastime.

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> Japanese Fashion
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The Shinkansen and the Japan train system

Japanese Architecture
Buddhist Temple, Shinto Shrine


Featured Travel Guide articles:

Japan Guide

Tokyo guide

 

Suggested Itinerary
photo guide by weeks

Week 1 - Tokyo
Week 2 - Tokyo,Kanto
Week 3 - Nikko
Week 4 - Tokyo
Week 5 - Kyoto
Week 6 - Osaka,Nara
Week 7 - Tokyo,Kanto
Week 8 - Hokkaido

Or click here for more detailed info on the tours.

 

 

/ back to the index of the
Tokyo Travel Guide

Escape from the Tokyo crowd... to Tokyo
handling the crowd of downtown

Tokyo is not crowded, the downtowns are

One thing to keep in mind is this... it's not that the ten million residents and the who knows how many commuters and tourists are all cramped into a tiny city and step on each others toes... Tokyo is HUGE. It engulfs districts of relaxed suburbs, calm residential areas, sterile and futuristic business centers, atmospheric nearly forgotten arcades, historic attractions, peaceful shrines and temples nested in hills and alleys not far from the center.

But... entertainment and shopping, tourist attractions and the largest restaurant rows are mostly centered around the largest train stations... yeah well this is another way to say downtown... or rather downtowns of which numerous variations exist in the city. There's many of them but even so, on a fine day, or let's say Friday and Saturday in general... you probably won't be the only one heading for the most convenient places to amuse yourself. If you don't like sharing the same place with lots of people... who are in fact curious of the same things as you are... well... you can either go at a time when others won't or find the same stuff elsewhere in the city. For saying that all leisure is centered in downtown is not quite true. No, it's just more convenient to go to a place where you can find it all in one. A huge number of shops, restaurants and attractions are separate from the centers although small businesses are in a declining trend... and also, if you're willing to pay twice as much for the same, you can always find unbearably tranquil places to shop or eat anywhere in the world. Tokyo is no exception.

All in all, Tokyo can be as spacious as you want it to be. There's a different downtown for each taste, class and tolerance level, so if you're not up for Shinjuku you still might fall in love with either Ginza, Ueno or Jiyuugaoka, if Shibuya and Harajuku is too much for you head for Daikanyama or Shimokita... If Ikebukuro isn't the place then Koenji might very well be... It's all there you just need to know what you are looking for.

If you don't know what to expect...

Coming from a city or town that's unlike Tokyo will leave you clueless for weeks. But it's not that much of an enigma where to expect a crowd. If it's interesting... if it's really interesting... many people will show up. Well... basically that's it. The flow of information is pretty good, so it's quite rare to find an event or place that's like a hidden gem that no one knows about. In downtown Tokyo at least. You'll find this to be completely different in any other locations that attract a lot of people. For example if you go to Nikko or Kamakura, or Kyoto, where on a fine day thousands of people might show up... all you need to do is to get a tourist map at the station ( for free ) and start exploring from the most remote place. You'll be so alone with not following the guide that you'll be longing to see others.

Seen it on TV

Hachiko crossing is probably what comes to mind to anyone who has never been to Tokyo. Yes, Hachiko crossing... the pedestrian crossing in the middle of Shibuya, the center of Japanese entertainment... is crowded. For the sole reason that it's right in the front of Shibuya station, where about a dozen different lines cross each other, and connects this facility with the northern area, giving home to all of the shopping, dining and entertainment facilities. The fact that they all happen to be on the other side of the street created this amazing place... where you can, in ten minutes... experience in a glance as many styles and personalities like nowhere else in Japan or the world.
Hachiko is a place to meet up, a transportation hub, somewhere to hang around aimlessly, and the gate to Shibuya. This place is so interesting it should drive people to Tokyo and not away.

The truth is... that since most people come and go with exact places in mind, or in other words a certain goal, and that these places are centered most of the time... if you encounter a crowd, you can expect it to be quite orderly... meaning that if you find your way through the first 100 meters and take a different turn people will literally disappear. Five minutes walk from the center of Shibuya and you'll be strolling by yourself. Again, it's the places that attracted you along with all the others, if you want to relax your eyes a bit all you need to do is step out of the crowd of which you are already a part of.

Can't take it... too many people

This is probably something only people who stay for a longer period will notice but, even if you're the type that handles crowds easily, you'll experience breakdowns in your tolerance from time to time. Being near to what's happening can be tiresome... and for such events the ideal place to go is probably the nearest cafe or park. Or better yet, arrange it that you could leave Tokyo for a trip around the city, or jump on the first train to Nikko and rest a little bit. But once you've been to Tokyo, eventually you'll start to miss the opportunity to go downtown anytime you'd like.

Japan Guide

- Japan Visa, border entry, what to bring and be prepared with
- Japanese maps, Navi mobile navigation, easy orientation for travelers
- Convenience stores, the resupply stations that sell everything
- Japanese Vending machines, for drinks, tickets, cigarettes and more
- Japanese Food, and all kinds of food in Japan, restaurants, fast food, cheap food...

Tokyo guide

- Tokyo - as we see it - introduction
- Budget Tokyo apartment rental, accommodation, let go of the concern
- Tokyo Prices, the real cost vs. western legends, how to make most of your budget
- Cheap Tokyo Stores, bargain tips, where to find what, fashion to electronics
- Tokyo Cafe life, a guide to Cafes serving as meeting points, hangouts and life-savers
- Tokyo Parks and Gardens, well maintained icons of tranquility, tradition or having fun
- The Tokyo crowd... escaping from Tokyo to Tokyo, evading downtown rushhours


Photo: Hachiko crossing view in Shibuya, Tokyo
Tokyo Scenes 3
Ultramodern, people oriented city, the young and energetic face of Tokyo

Well, the site may be a little too excessive especially on the issue of Tokyo, but here are some of the most essential photo albums...
Just Click
on any thumbnail to see the pictures of either district or theme

On the picture: Shinjuku, in between the station and Kabukicho
Tokyo Scenes 2
Images on the real downtowns of the city, centers for and of all ages

Photo:  Asakusa, Senso-Ji Buddhist Temple, the Hozo-mon gate
Tokyo Scenes 1
A tour around some of the most famous historic sights in Tokyo

Photo:
Tokyo Scenes 5
A closer look at some of the most unique and atmospheric districts


Tokyo Scenes 6
Finding the right place... whichever it is... from Shimokita to Koenji


Tokyo Scenes 4
Famous town centers in Tokyo, both historic and modern


Tokyo Scenes 7
A quick tour on the harmony of 21st century architecture and everyday life

See a list of all photo albums on Tokyo

 

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