A garden designed and built after the 1923 earthquake. Five minutes walk from Oedo line station Kiyosumi-Shirakawa exit A3. The garden dates back to 1721 but was rebuilt by the founder of Mitsubishi. It is beautiful. Wherever you look you see something beautiful. It's the epitome of garden design where the path leads you to gorgeous vistas. Take your camera or painting equipment and visit at different times of day to enjoy the different light. The pond contains tame carp, terrapins and ducks who expect to be fed. It's an oasis of calm in a busy city. 150 Yen for adults, children free.
3-3-9 Kiyosumi, Koto, Tokyo, Japan
+81 3 3641 5892
Google map: bit.ly/WhOUHD
Originally a school to teach girls how to be free, this 1921 Frank Lloyd Wright building is low-slung and plain-style, and one of the must-sees of the ikebukuro district.
Walk straight past the shrine and the revisionist war museum next door, and head for the transportingly beautiful garden at the back. Staring down at the rocks and the koi you can forget you were ever in a city.
3-1-1 Kudankita, Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo-To, 102-0073
Google map: tinyurl.com/3abxuft
It’s painful to get up at 5am and make the trek to Tsukiji Fish Market before work. But strange as it might seem, if there’s one thing you have to see, it’s this. It’s the largest wholesale fish market in the world, and handles more than 400 different types of seafood from tiny sardines to 300kg tuna. Watching the gigantic fish prepared for sale or the auctioneers’ enthusiasm at landing their prize is a fabulous way to start the day. A tip: make sure you eat breakfast at the market before you leave.
Near the Tsukijishijō Station on the Oedo subway line and Tsukiji Station on the Hibiya subway line:
Take the remarkable bullet train to Kyoto and sample the wonders of ancient Japan. Kyoto’s city centre may not seem like much, but you’ll be charmed by the extraordinarily preserved Buddhist temples and the warm, simple hospitality of the traditional ryokan (an old-school Japanese inn).
The 47 ronin are buried here with their Lord Asano Naganori. Very famous samurai story in Japan. The 47 retainers avenged their lord's seppuku and were required to commit seppuku themselves by the then Shogun. A famous and very popular kabuki play by Takeda Izumo II, Miyoshi Shôraku, and Namiki Sôsuke written in 1748. The graves are cared for by the temple priests. December 14th is the anniversary festival of their revenge - great historical atmosphere.
A few minutes walk from Sengakuji Station on the Toei Asakusa Subway Line
Meiji Shrine is the second most important in Japan, and conveniently lies in the centre of Tokyo, near Harajuku.
If you go there on Sunday morning(ish) you can catch the kids in Harajuku dressed up as their favourite manga/anime characters AND visit the shrine! Bargain. The shrine is behind Harajuku station, across the bridge where the kids are hanging out, and lies in some woods at the end of long gravel path. It is free to get in, and there is lots to see/do. I recommend spending some time reading the prayer tablets written by Japanese and tourists alike, and even writing one yourself. You never know, you might get what you want! You might also be lucky enough to see an elite wedding going on in the courtyards of the shrine.
Harajuku stn. Turn right out of the station, and right again. Cross the bridge, take photos of kids in fancy dress, enter the shrine on the right.
Just across the bay in Chiba this Holy Mountain is crowned by a 1,000-year-old temple and the largest Buddha in Japan. And it's relatively undiscovered, meaning it's crowd free for now.
Check out this for more details - written by myself I should add.
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