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Top Tokyo Attractions

The first time you visit Tokyo, or any new destination, the question asked isn’t usually what attractions should be scene but what attraction to see first, what to expect, how to get there, and how much time is needed. We’ve provided tips, advice, and other information about the top tourist attractions in Tokyo to help with your itinerary planning.

Odaiba Odaiba
Tsukiji Market Tsukiji Market
Ninja Akasaka Ninja Akasaka

Odaiba

 Transportation Take the Yurikamome train line to Daiba Station.
 Admission Free to access the area (Activities will vary in cost)
 Website www.jnto.go.jp

Originally built as a series of fortresses to defend Tokyo from sea attacks, the Odaiba area was redeveloped in the 1990s into a popular entertainment and shopping district. As you approach the area you’ll most likely first notice the Fuji TV Building, the headquarters of one of Japan’s national TV networks. There’s a futuristic observatory deck (costs 500 yen) that provides a great view of the area and an excellent vantage point for photos (open from 10am to 8pm; closed on Mondays). If you’re more into shopping, check out either Aquacity or Decks Tokyo Beach, which has more boutiques and cafes than mainstream shops, as well as a massive arcade center for teens called Tokyo Joypolis. There are also plenty of nearby museums, including the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (500 yen) and the Museum of Maritime Science (700 yen), which is housed on a floating cruise ship. Check with a local information booth attendant for a full list of shopping centers and available activities (and be sure to ask which buildings will be open on the day of your visit, as some are closed on Mondays).

 

Tsukiji Market

 Address 5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku
 Transportation Nearest subway station: Tsukijishijo or Tsukiji
 Admission Free
 Hours 5am to 11am (Closed some Wednesdays and on holidays)
 Phone 03-3542-1111
 Website www.tsukiji-market.or.jp

You won’t be disappointed if you’re willing to get up early enough to see one of the world’s largest fish markets. It handled over 2,200 tons of marine products in 2003 and receives over 450 kinds of fish each year. Just don’t complain about getting up early to visit—wholesalers begin working at 3am, laying out fish to prepare for daily auctions. So you’ve got it easy! If you’re trying to figure out what’s going on, jobbers—sometime after 3am—start examining the quality of each fish and estimating their selling price. That’s why they’ll be picking up and checking out certain fish before moving to the next stack of marine life, in case you’re still waking up and trying to figure out what’s up with all the rushed activity. By 5am, fishmongers are busy selling their goods and the market is wide awake: fresh food has poured in from all over the world by trucks, planes and ships, and you’ll hear shouting from auctioneers when the auction begins at 5:30am. It goes on for much of the morning, although at 8am, retailers start loading the fish that they purchased during the auction, and by 11am, jobbers begin tidying up their shops for closing time.

 

Ninja Akasaka

 Address Akasaka Tokyu Plaza 2-14-3 Nagata-cho Chiyoda-ku
 Transportation Easiest access is through subway stop at Akasaka-mitsuke Station
 Price Ranges between 7,000 and 20,000 yen
 Hours Monday through Saturday from 5pm to 4am, Sunday and Holidays from 5pm to 11pm
 Phone 1-81-3-5157-3936
 Website www.ninja.tv

Vacations are normally somewhat predictable—you check out the museums, go shopping and visit the local historic monuments. But it’s difficult to find a restaurant that can be entertaining enough to act as an attraction of its own. Though pricey, Ninja Akasaka fulfills this role. The restaurant is designed as a ninja house, complete with the mysterious ambiance and waiter theatrics. As you enter the dark restaurant, or cave, as it is set up to feel like, you’ll notice smoke bubbling around you as you cross a tiny bridge. You’ll also have your own ninja—or, sometimes, a ninja in training—who performs various tricks when he (or she) brings you a menu or serves up your food. The bamboo rice, for instance, is set on fire so that it’s warm when you eat it. The dessert menu, which is apparently “top secret,” bursts into flames after you’ve chosen which sweet you want. But the best part of the restaurant, thankfully, is the food: from succulent sushi to sweet sake.

 


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