A Cultural Day in Tokyo
Discover Japan's rich, diverse history right in the center of the city. Explore historic shrines, wander the halls of fascinating museums, and relax in Tokyo's gardens and parks.
Meiji-jingu, one of the country's most famous shrines, is located just across the road from the bustling, candy-colored streets of Harajuku . Dedicated to the souls of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, the shrine is accessed via a long path surrounded by a calm forest, planted over a period of 90 years after Emperor Meiji passed away in 1912. It is particularly beautiful in June when the irises and hydrangeas reach full bloom.
Meiji Jingu1-1 Yoyogikamizonochō, Shibuya City, Tokyo 151-8557, Japan
Ueno Park is home to museums, sacred sites, and green surroundings. Shinobazunoike Pond, located in the middle of the park, is particularly beautiful in spring when the ground is covered in soft pink blossoms. Rowboat rentals are available. Tokyo National Museum is one of the many museums you'll find in Ueno Park. Inside you'll find one of the biggest collections of Japanese archaeological artifacts. Shitamachi Fuzoku Shiryokan hosts a nostalgic display of Japanese life from late Meiji era (1868-1912) to early Showa era (1926-89).
Scattered throughout the grounds you'll find a number of shrines and temples. Keep an eye out for Toshogu Shrine, the octagonal-shaped temple hall of Bentendo on an island in Shinobazu Pond, and Kiyomizu Kannon Temple with a balcony that extends out from the hillside.
Ueno Park4 Uenokoen, Taito City, Tokyo 110-0007, Japan
Just outside the park grounds you'll find Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Garden, the former residence of the Iwasaki family, founders of the Mitsubishi Group. Designed by Josiah Condor in 1869, the wood structure is an architectural marvel and is surrounded by a lush garden.
Old Iwasaki Mansion Gardens1-chōme-3-45 Ikenohata, Taito City, Tokyo 110-0008, Japan
Nezu-jinja Shrine is believed to have been founded about 1,900 years ago. In April, the area is dotted with blooming pink azalea flowers. The shrine's serene grounds match the quiet residential neighborhood that surrounds it.
Nezu-jinja Shrine1-chōme-28-9 Nezu, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 113-0031, Japan
Surrounding Nezu-jinja Shrine is Yanesen, a collection of three neighborhoods that seems frozen in time. Market stalls, retro buildings, and quaint eateries overflow with old-school charm. It's the perfect place to spend the remainder of the day, taking a leisurely evening stroll and stopping by a local restaurant for dinner.