RSSAll Entries in the "Japan" Category

Strolling Along to Visit the Historical Places in Tokyo

Three of the best places you can go to when visiting Tokyo. The combination of the martial, religious and sporting will give you a broad view of this city’s past and present. Come visit Tokyo.

One of the best reasons to visit Japan, besides their technology, is their historical sites. Although everybody prefers to visit Kyoto for this reason, I’m here to tell you that the capital city of Tokyo is not only shopping, but it also offers the discerning traveler a lot of culture if he or she is willing to find it. So, grab one of those cheap fights to Tokyo and let’s find its historical places.

 

Imperial Palace

Imperial Palace

The first stop you must, definitely must visit is the Imperial Palace. The palace is unfortunately not open to the public except for 2 days of the year: January 2nd for the New Year’s greeting and December 23rd for the Emperor’s birth day. Still, the grounds around the palace are open and they are breath taking enough. The palace was built initially as the seat of power for the Tokugawa Shogunate that ruled Japan until 1867. The palace was finally finished in 1888 and was destroyed in World War II, and later rebuilt in the same style.

Kokyo Gaien

Kokyo Gaien

A place that is open to the public is Kokyo Gaien which is a large plaza in front of the palace. From this plaza you can see the twin bridges that allow the imperial family access to the inner palace. These are very famous and beautiful bridges that arch over one of the inner moats of the palace. The gardens are also open to the public except on Monday’s and Fridays and other special occasions.

 

Senso Ji temple

Senso Ji temple

The next place you should visit is Senso Ji temple, after the imperial castle this is one of the things to do in Tokyo. Located in Asakusa, this is a temple area that houses Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple since it was constructed in 645. The temple location also is adjacent to a Shinto shrine; The Asakusa Shrine which was built in 1649 by Tokugawa Iemitsu. So, when you enter through the Kaminarimon or thunder gate, you’ll be greeted with a 200 meter long market selling all kinds of stuff. You’ll find traditional food as well as traditional dress call the Yukata. This street market is called Nakamise and it ends in the inner gate called Hozomon.

In the main plaza you’ll see the main pagoda. This is the temple’s main building; it is a structure 5 stories high.  This is the place where a lot of the temple’s activities take place. The Sanja Matsuri which is an annual festival where portable shrines are paraded around the streets to bring good luck. It takes place in May and is one o the biggest of this religious festivals in Tokyo.

 

Ryogoku Kokugikan

Ryogoku Kokugikan

The third thing, and sort of to embrace the cliché of the trip to the country of the rising sun is Ryogoku Kokugikan. This is an indoor sporting arena to see what else? Sumo wrestling. It is located in the Yokoami neighborhood of Sumida. It was built in 1985 and can house 13,000 fans of the sport. Sumo is the highly ritualized wrestling sport of Japan. The wrestlers or rikishi’s job is to make the other touch the floor of the ring or dohyo with something other than his feet. The impressive size and strength of the wrestlers has attracted many fans over the years.  As a Shinto tradition Sumo wrestling began in the 16th century as we know it today, but it was influenced by many other forms of martial arts that came into Japan earlier.

The best part of this short plan is that everything is close to the best hotels in Tokyo.