Tokyo is an absolutely magnetic city and if you go, you have to be willing to fall madly in love with it. One of its greatest charms is its diversity, and that is that, as if it were an autonomous world, it is composed of completely different areas between them. In this article we are going to tell you about the Tokyo’s most important neighborhoods that you cannot miss to know the thousand faces of the Japanese capital.
For many it is the technological capital of the world, but its essence goes far beyond neon and skyscrapers. Tokyo has a traditional heart, with low houses, temples covered in incense smoke, and women still wearing kimono. She has a hardworking spirit who dresses up as a cosplay on the weekends. And she also has a hipster soul that takes refuge in trendy cafes and boutiques.
But especially Tokyo is a bag of surprises. Many. And to show you some of them, we will tell you below which are the best neighborhoods in Tokyo, the ones that you have to point to on your map yes or yes:
It is one of our favorite Tokyo neighborhoods, where we usually stay on each visit (we have spent about 3 months there). Asakusa is to Tokyo what Gion is to Kyoto: its traditional neighborhood, an area full of shops, temples (to highlight the incredible Senso-ji) and a lot, a lot of atmosphere. Especially at night, when the taverns fill with people who come for a beer and a few gastronomic delights (try the tempura!).
→ In this post we tell you everything to see and do in Asakusa
Famous for its namesake crossing, which apparently is the busiest in the world (they say that up to 3,000 people cross it at the same time), Shibuya is the typical image that comes to mind when we think of Tokyo. Hustle, tall buildings, neon signs everywhere and a million restaurants, cafes, shops and businesses where it is impossible to get bored. Be sure to take a photo with the statue of Hachiko, the most famous puppy in all of Japan.
→ In this post we tell you everything to see and do in Shibuya
We won’t have to walk far to get to another peculiar neighborhood: Harajuku, where the Yoyogi park and the impressive Meiji Shrine. It is also one of the shopping areas most important and famous in Tokyo. Thanks especially to two streets: Omotesando, full of luxury stores and handsome shopping centers (don’t miss the Tokyu Plaza with its incredible glass-filled entrance), and the street Takeshita dori, where you will seem to be in another world … a world ruled by Otakus, of course.
→ In this post we tell you everything to do and do in Harajuku (soon)
But if we talk about otakus, his favorite kingdom cannot be other than Akihabara. The electronic city, with neons everywhere and all the freaks you look for when you think of Japan: sleeve stores, maid cafes, shopping malls dedicated to electronics, video game stores and a great atmosphere difficult to find in other parts of the world. It is one of the neighborhoods of Tokyo to visit without fail!
→ In this post we tell you everything to see and do in Akihabara
Not everything is neon and cosplay in Tokyo, there are much quieter neighborhoods but nothing boring. An example is Shimokitazawa, an area that few tourists know and that, nevertheless, we love! They say that Shimokita (that’s what the locals call it) is the hipster soul of the japanese capital and we believe that they are not wrong. Here the streets are dotted with second-hand shops, hip coffee shops and Japanese dressed in the latest fashion. Come on, if you can take a couple of hours of time in your planning, you will not regret it.
→ Here we tell you about our visit to Shimokitazawa
And from the hipster soul, we move on to posh, elegant and posh area from Tokyo. Ginza is synonymous with luxury and elegance and it is not surprising that this is where the offices of large companies and boutiques of the best brands in the world are located. For an authentic experience, check out Kabuki plays at the Kabuki-Za Theater. It is not cheap, we will let you know 😉
→ Here we tell you everything to see and do in Ginza
Odaiba is a artificial island that overlooks Tokyo Bay and that means: glimpses! Really, just because of the panoramic view it deserves to get here, but this neighborhood also has endless possibilities: there are malls super curious, a gigantic Ferris wheel full of colors, a few museums of different themes such as teamLab Borderless digital art that drives instagrammers around the world crazy and even a Beach where to bathe with views of the Rainbow Bridge. Did we already tell you that there is one giant gundam statue and one replica of the Statue of Liberty? Go!
→ Here we tell you everything to see and do in Odaiba (coming soon).
The Ueno neighborhood takes its name from its huge park, one of the green lungs of Tokyo where walking is a pleasure (and more if you agree with the hanami). But be careful, because among its streets it hides much more: it is a bustling area, full of life, thanks to a good handful of shopping streets full of shops, restaurants and markets. Plus: if you like museums, here you will find a few!
→ Here we tell you what to see and do in Ueno (coming soon)
Shinjuku is one of Tokyo’s liveliest neighborhoods, a neon world, noise and crowds (this is the busiest station in the world: more than 3.5 million people pass through Shinjuku every day!). The ideal is to visit it at night and dine in a typical Japanese tavern in Omoide Yokocho alley or, why not, enjoy the show in one of its themed restaurants. Take a walk also by Kabuchiko, the red light district of Tokyo which in the past was one of the coolest in Japan 😛 Tip: if you see Godzilla leaning out of a building, don’t worry… he’s Shinjuku’s mascot and he’s harmless.
→ Here we tell you everything to see and do in Shinjuku
Cosmopolitan and futuristicThis is how we would describe Roppongi, a modern and curious neighborhood in which, although there are not many things to do on a tourist level, we recommend you invest a couple of hours of your time here: Roppongi Hills (a city within the city) and close to the iconic Tokyo Tower they are well worth a stop along the way. Not to mention the great nightlife in this area … if you want to party, you will find plenty here.
→ Here we tell you what to see and do in Roppongi (coming soon)
We finish with other of the most special neighborhoods of Tokyo, in this case the one known as the sumo neighborhood. In this residential district, which apparently does not have much interest, most of the Heya from Tokyo, the schools where sumo wrestlers come every morning to train. In principle they cannot be visited (at least if you go on your own), but it is not difficult to see these giants taking a break in the street after each session.
→ Here we tell you everything to see and do in Ryogoku
Tokyo neighborhood map
We leave you an interactive map with the location of the most important neighborhoods in Tokyo:
These are, for us, the best neighborhoods in Tokyo, the essentials for your first visit to the Japanese capital. Aiiiiiins, you want to go back.
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