Tokyo Neighbourhood Guide
Tokyo is a vibrant metropolis and like any other city, navigating your away around can be difficult. In Tokyo, the neighbourhoods are marked by their train stations. Here are some of the most notable.
Akihabara or Electric Town as it is also known offers endless entertainment in the form of comic childhood come to life. This virtual playground is awash with colour, sounds and nostalgia. Game centres, maid cafes and electronic stores line the streets. You won't see billboards of models here - rather large manga characters promoting the latest drink and people cosplaying. Manga book after manga book stock the shelves in most stores and you can choose to purchase all of your friend's keychains from musical machines. The lines between real and anime are blurred here. Try your luck at the skill testers and aim for those action figures. Make like Ash Ketchum and catch them all.
Home to Tokyo's oldest temple and attractive destination, Senso-Ji, Asakusa maintains the balance between locals and tourists. It's where you can wet your tastebuds with a taste of the old Tokyo. Women in kimono still wander through this part of town in Tokyo, just beware of staring at their beautiful dress. Lining the path to Senso-Ji are various food and clothes stalls. Walk a little further and you'll reach Ueno park, a popular spot for locals to picnic during cherry blossom season. In May, Asakusa heralds the Asakusa Sanja Festival honouring the three founders for the Senso-Ji shrine.
For luxury shopping and upscale retailers look no further than Ginza. This is the base for most of the flagship retailers (um Uniqlo's 10 storey store? and Sony's flagship product show room) and for glittering and exciting bars and restaurants. In fact, most of the Michelin star restaurants are found here. At night it's a neon paradise and in the day full of modern and chic sophistication. That goes without saying, the food found in Ginza is wholesome and delicious with many bakeries situated here. Although modern and sleek, Ginza still maintains its traditional aspects.
It's quirky, colourful and fun. Takeshita Street is famous in Harajuku for its literal street style shopping. If you want to find out what the essence of a Harajuku girl is, you must visit . Crepes are all the rage, with must visit places including Marion Crepes (since 1976) and Santa Monica Crepes with lines for crepes blending into the crowds of Takeshita Street.
Nakameguro is the most well known for its cherry blossom trees that over look the canal that runs through the district. It's a famous local destination, with cafes and food stores located along the canal offering their seats outside under the cherry trees. Nakamaguro is suburban and a cool sneak into relaxed local life.
For a blatant mix of contemporary and modernity, Roppongi is the place to go. The neighbourhood is full of cool clubs, bars and pubs. Galleries and interesting art installations filter through the streets. It's also one of the best places to view the Tokyo Tower.
I almost feel as if Shibuya needs no explanation - rather it is somewhere that has to be visited in order to fully appreciate and understand the surging crowds and neon lights. It is often seen as the core of Tokyo, but in reality it is a fast paced fashion capital. Don't miss absorbing the story around Hachiko, the dog who waited for his owner everyday at the Shibuya station's entrance for nine years. Shibuya is loud, noisy and full of energy. Yoyogi park during the day offers just as much excitement as Shibuya Crossing, especially in Hanami season.
A metropolis in itself, Shinjuku boasts some of Tokyo's tallest buildings and is known for that famous Lost in Translation scene with Scarlett Johansson overlooking Shinjuku from the Park Hyatt. You can too - the Park Hyatt heralds some amazing views over Tokyo and if you visit the bar you can revel in the structure of Tokyo. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building also provides an amazing sky high view. Shinjuku sits ontop of Tokyo's busiest station.
Full of art and culture, Sumida is also the location of the Tokyo Sky Tree - the world's third tallest building and Tokyo's tallest. The views are incredible. It doubles as an observation tower and restaurant hub. Art and cultural museums open their doors to the public in Sumida and often you'll find yourself stumbling across relished sumo wrestling sights and hot bath houses.
If you like seafood as much as the Japanese do, you'll feel right at home in Tsukiji. The world's largest fish and seafood market has patrons waking in the early hours to bring home a catch. The restaurants throughout Tokyo that offer sushi and sashimi would purchase from the Tsukiji Fish Market, the freshest fish market in Japan.