Do you know where Tokyo is actually located in Japan?
Tokyo, the capital of
Japan, consists of 23 special wards, the Tama area, and some islands. The impression
of the political and economic center, cosmopolitan with about 14 million
citizens probably come from the image of the 23 wards where 70% of people
General idea about Tokyo might be something like;
+ the center of politics, economy, finance, education, culture, and anything in Japan.
+ extremely crowded in a small area (most populated of Japan)
+ high cost of living
+ global and diversity
+ busy and noisy
Tokyo is not only a megacity surrounded by lots of concrete. If you visit Tokyo, you might be amazed to find Tokyo has lots of greens and nature. Visiting many famous sightseeing spots quickly is one way, but it is also great to wander around the city on foot. Japantotheworld.com introduces some carefully selected walking routes to assist overseas visitors to enjoy the stay.
Let’s look at Japantotheworld.com’s first recommended walking route.
<Walking Route> Shibuya 渋谷 – Harajuku 原宿 – Omotesando 表参道
First, let's start from Shibuya station. Shibuya station is one of the busiest commuter rail stations in Japan along with Shinjuku, Shinagawa, Ikebukuro, and Tokyo. It is operated jointly with JR East, Keio, Tokyu, and the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, the Hanzomon Line, the Fukutoshin Line, so it will be easy to come to Shibuya station wherever from your accommodation.
West Side of Shibuya station - Hachiko Exit
The statue of Hachiko is a popular meeting spot. Hachi is the name of the Japanese Akita dog remembered for his loyalty to his owner, waiting for years after his owner’s death which story was made into several movies. The Scramble Crossing located in front of the station is a popular shooting spot in Tokyo. There is a police station nearby, so you can ask them if you need any help. Don’t worry they speak English at least. If you feel thirsty, you can start the day with a cup of coffee at an extremely crowded Starbucks across the street. After taking some pictures at Hachiko Exit, let’s move to the other side of the station.
East Side of Shibuya station - Chuo Higashi Exit
This surrounding area is always under construction like forever and changes its scenery every day. As of the end of November 2020, it is still a maze with massive constructions underway. You would look up the giant screen of Shibuya Scramble Square. Let’s cross the street to Big Camera and start to walk along Meiji street (明治通りMeiji Dori).
Walk straight along Meiji street, you can find Rayard Miyashita Park where shops and restaurants are gathered around. The special outside-restaurant area with many Japanese Izakaya would give you a great experience of typical Japanese nightlife. Let’s get back here at night and keep walking straight for now.
Yoyogi Park 代々木公園, Meiji Shirin 明治神宮, Harajuku 原宿
Keep walking along Meiji Street, you will reach Gingumae Crossing where big shopping buildings are around, the area called Harajuku, the place of the mecca of Japanese pop culture. You can find many Kawaii cute things at small shops on back allies.
If you turn to the left at the corner of Gingumae Crossing, keep going straight the street, you will reach Meiji Shrine (明治神宮Meiji Jingu) at the end.
Let’s visit the shrine and appreciate the Japanese solemn atmosphere surrounded by lush green nature. You will need 30 minutes at least to walk around this area. If you want to relax more, there is Yoyogi Park next to the shrine. It is like Central Park in NY, a big oasis in a big city, featuring fresh greens, ponds, wide lawns, and a jogging course. Many people enjoy gathering and picnicking every weekend. It is also the best place for Hanami (cherry blossom party) and Momijigari (red autumn leaves). If you want to visit Yoyogi Park, go out of the shrine once and go right along the street, and you will find the entrance of this urban park.
After you recharge the power, let’s move on walking again toward Harajuku Station. The station is renewed in 2020 and some shops newly opened. There is also a world-famous Uniqlo. You can get one if you need some urgently needed clothes, which sometimes happens when traveling.
There is a street called Takeshita Street where some Tokyo guide books are likely to introduce as a go-to-spot, but it is not as lively as before, so we will choose another route. If someone interesting in Takeshita Street, go straight toward Harajuku Station Takeshita Exit and you can find the street in front.
Omotesando is the name of a station as well as the name of the main street connecting Harajuku Station (Meiji Jingumae Station) and Omotesando Station. OMOTE means front and SANDO an approach to a shrine.
It is absolutely pleasant to stroll through the street lined with beautiful zelkova trees, enjoying the seasonal scenery, fresh green air in spring, lushly green in summer, glorious red leaves in autumn, romantic Christmas illumination in winter. The fantastic street might remind you of the Champs Élysées in Paris.
The area contains flagship stores of famous fashion brands, fantastic modern architectural buildings, such a very open space with luxurious atmospheres gives you the impression of Tokyo’s sophisticated aspect.
You cannot miss must-go-to shops for buying souvenirs for your loved one back home. Two major shops are located in the middle of the street; Oriental Bazaar and Kiddy Land. Before you enter Oriental Bazaar, take a look in the shop window for a moment where some attractive traditional Japanese stuff, such as Samurai armor set, seasonal Ikebana (flowers and plants arranged in a vase), old Japanese antique furniture is displayed. Once you go into the shop, you are surrounded by Japan, enjoy your shopping on spacious floors.
On the other hand, Kiddy Land sells typical modern Japanese Kawaii products. It is great fun to see toys, figurines, stationeries, miscellaneous character-themed items, you would forget all about the time.
If you feel thirsty, you can find vending machines, convenience stores, coffee shops everywhere. Many fancy restaurants are also available, so take your time and enjoy strolling around.
When you arrive at Omotesando crossing, you have some options to spend the rest of your day.
Option1) Omotesando –> Shibuya, going back to Shibuya station through Aoyama street via Miyamasuzaka, about 30 minutes' walk.
Option2) Omotesando –> JinguGaien, continuing walking through Aoyama street to another fantastic line of ginkgo trees, close to the National Stadium of Tokyo2020 Olympic and Paralympic, about 30 minutes' walk.
Option3) Omotesando –> Ginza, going to the Ginza area, about 15 minutes by the Tokyo Metro Ginza line.
Option4) Omotesando –> Asakusa, the Ginza line is such a convenient metro to take you to many Japanese sightseeing spots, about 30 minutes by the Ginza line.
※This useful map is available at some Information centers in Shibuya.
Enjoy your time in Tokyo Walking!