Here are some suggestions on sightseeing and hotels in Tokyo. What to do Tsukiji Fish Market: There are really two markets: the central market, where tons of seafood are sold daily...
Here are some suggestions on sightseeing and hotels in Tokyo.
What to do
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Tsukiji Fish Market: There are really two markets: the central market, where tons of seafood are sold daily starting with the 5 a.m. tuna auctions, and the external market, which features hundreds of stalls selling food supplies and kitchen wares.
To catch the auction action, arrive at 5 to 6 a.m. and be prepared to walk through water and muck. If that’s not your idea of a vacation but you still want to catch the flavor of the market, go later in morning and concentrate on small stalls in the external market or head to the market’s sushi-bar area for breakfast.
Hours: 5 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. Closed on holidays.
By subway: Hibiya and Toei Oedo lines to Tsukiji, exits 1 and 3.
Senso-ji temple and Nakamise-Dori: Walking from the subway, pass through the Kaminarimon or Thunder Gate onto Nakamise-Dori, a pedestrian street lined with trinkets, traditional foods and crafts in the Asakusa neighborhood.
The walkway leads to a five-level pagoda and the main Buddhist temple, Senso-ji. (Some guides and maps may list Senso-ji temple as Asakusa Kannon-do.)
Hours: 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
By subway: Toei Asakusa and Ginza lines to Asakusa, exits 2 and 6.
Kappabashi or “kitchen town”: Kappabashi Street, about a 15-minute walk west from the Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) in Asakusa, features about seven blocks of shops selling kitchen wares, dishes and restaurant supplies even the realistic waxy food that appears in many restaurant windows.
Hours: Most shops are open 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays.
Cost: Free if you can fight the temptation to buy something.
By subway: The same as getting to Senso-ji temple.
Sumida-gawa River Cruise: The 45-minute cruise down the Sumida-gawa River from Asakusa to Hama Rikyu Gardens takes riders under 12 bridges and past high-rises and more traditional neighborhoods along the river.
Hours: The first boat leaves at 9:45 a.m. with others departing about every 40 minutes. The last boat to Hama Rikyu Gardens leaves at about 3:30 p.m.
Cost: about $6.50 including entrance to the Hama Rikyu Gardens.
By subway: Toei Asakusa and Ginza lines to Asakusa, Exits 4 and 5.
Hama Rikyu Gardens: Walk through the peaceful, riverside park, which is reached by riverboat or subway.
By subway: Toei-Oedo Line to Tsukiji-shijo, Exit A 2. The garden is a 10-minute walk from the Tsukiji-shijo line. The JR and Ginza lines to Shinbashi Station are about a 15-minute walk.
By boat: From Asakusa take the Sumida-gawa river cruise (see above).
Address: 1-1 Hama Rikyu Teien Chuo-ku, Tokyo.
Hours: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Admission: about $3.
Kabuki, the elaborately costumed performance art that started in the 17th century, literally means song, dance and acting and is a combination of the three arts. Men play all the roles of the highly stylized dramas.
The Kabukiza Theater in Ginza offers programs with story plots and earphone guides in English. If you don’t have time for a full performance, it’s possible to see a small portion of a play. Tickets for “hitomaku-mi” or single curtain shows vary in price, time and are on a first-come basis. Look for the line at a small entry way near the main entrance.
Address: Kabukiza, 4-12-15 Chuo-ku, Ginza.
Cost: about $25 -$150 depending on how long you stay for a matinee or evening show.
English earphone guide: about $6 deposit.
Subway: Hibiya and Toei Asakusa lines to Higashi Ginza, Exit 3 Kabuki-za.
Hachiko Statue, Shibuya Station: The statue of Hachiko is a favorite gathering site at Shibuya station. From the statue of the famous dog legend says he went to the station daily for more than seven years after his master’s death in search of him you’re just steps away from a bustling, fun shopping district.
Just a few blocks from Hachiko are Seibu Loft, Tokyo Hands, Tower Records and numerous other department stores, specialty stores and cafes.
The prices for some things are lower here than in Ginza. If you want a memento of Shibuya’s famous dog, there’s a small shop inside Shibuya station called Hachiko Shop.
Company and industry showrooms, such as the Sony Building (www.sonybuilding.jp/english/ ) in Ginza, are free. The showrooms offer a chance to see what’s new and some let you try out products, from toys to the latest in PDAs and cameras.
Many showrooms also have restaurants, shops and restrooms. One of the more unusual showrooms is Okome Gallery Ginza. It’s all about rice: rice games, rice cosmetics, rice trivia, rice meals. Yes, you can get rice balls to go.
Shinto shrines are free as are most Buddhist temples in Tokyo. Some temples charge a small fee for entrance to the main hall.
Where to stay
You don’t have to pay a fortune or give up comfort to stay in Tokyo. Some examples:
Mitsui Urban Hotel Ginza: In the heart of Tokyo’s Ginza neighborhood, the Mitsui Urban Hotel Ginza is within a few minutes walk of the Ginza and Shimbashi subway stations and the JR Shimbashi station. The three stations link to most major Tokyo attractions.
Rates start at about $150 for a single and $210 for a twin room. The rooms are tiny but have a refrigerator, a heating element (for making tea or coffee) and a pants press.
Address: 6-15, Ginza 8-chome,
Chou-ku, Tokyo 104-0061
www.mitsuikanko.co.jp/english/index.htm (click on urban hotels)
New Sanno Hotel: Staying at this U.S.-military-oriented hotel felt a little as if we never left the United States. The staff speaks English, most of the restaurants serve American-style foods and you need lots of U.S. quarters to use the laundry.
Within a seven-minute walk from the hotel is Hiroo subway station, numerous shops, cafes and Arisugawa Park which has a playground. Rates start at about $60 for a single, Western-style room and to about $110 for a Japanese-style room with futons on the floor.
Accommodations are limited to active-duty and retired members of the U.S. armed forces and their families. A few others are eligible to use the facility but, in general, a U.S. military identification card is required.
Address: 4-12-20, Minami-Azabu,
Minato-ju, Tokyo 106-0047