Both history and architecture buffs will appreciate the very contemporary building balanced on its landmark, gigantic pillars. Set in a stadium-sized expanse, a model of Nihonbashi (Japan's premier bridge) separates feudal Tokyo (Edo) from modern Tokyo (since 1868). In the permanent exhibition area, you will find original documents of the Edo era. Nostalgic aspects of everyday life are depicted to scale without the restriction of display cases. Ongoing enactments of various folk arts and crafts bring Japan's rich cultural traditions to life. Do not miss the models of the Edo Castle and the Kabuki Theater. See the website for visitor information and the event calendar.
Chiba is a city with a rich history and culture and paying a visit to the Chiba City Folk Museum is one of the best ways to get to know more about it. Built on the site where Chiba castle once stood, the white colored museum building draws inspiration from the original castle. The museum gives insight into the history of the Chiba Clan that dates as far as the 12th Century and also sheds light on the city's modern history. From Samurai armors, weaponry to a replica of a 13th-century Japanese home, the exhibits are very interesting. The museum also holds the Arquebus firearms demonstration every August. Here, you can also try the traditional Samurai robes on the third Saturday of every month except for January and August. During the cherry blossom season, the castle with the pink trees around is a sight to behold.
More of an exhibition hall than a museum, the National Art Center, Tokyo devotes over 14,000 square meters to beautiful artworks. The Center specializes in an ever-changing array of temporary exhibitions that concentrate on the diversity of modern and classical art. Kashiwa SATÔ, designer of the Center's theme, says the facility's focus is to promote "new, more open relationships between people and art". Other than the wondrous art installations on display, the monolithic structure itself is a real eye-grabber. With a curved, stained glass aperture, it is bound to captivate even from a distance. Overall, if you are an art connoisseur, then National Art Center is well worth your time.
Located in the east of the city, Tokyo Station handles a vast array of commuter trains running north, south, east and west. All trains are color-coded to match the lines on which they run. Most lines run local, rapid and express trains. Tokyo Station is also the terminal for bullet trains running to all corners of the country. Tickets for these may be purchased at all major JR stations at the Midori Madoguchi (Green Window). It is best to make a seat reservation in advance. Moreover, the imperial red building also houses a plethora of shops, eateries and even a hotel within its premises, making it a premiere attraction.
The Watari-Um Museum, also known as the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art is another addition to the large number of museums in Tokyo that aim at promoting and preserving contemporary art. Artworks of various Japanese, as well as foreign artistes, grace the walls of Watari-Um during numerous exhibitions. Moreover, the museum also boosts upcoming talent by providing a platform to enthusiastic youngsters. A great place to gain more insight into the world of contemporary art. The building itself feels like one of the exhibits with a faded grey facade and black stripes covering the exterior. Appreciation of modern art is subjective though, so whether this museum is a treasure trove depends on the tourist's taste.
Sogo Museum of Art aims to contribute to Japan's cultural development, with the amazing collection of paintings that it displays. The mediums are multifaceted, and the beautifully expressive paintings revoke emotions out of the viewers that were otherwise veiled. Sogo Museum should be visited to glance at the wondrous world of fine art, and to experience its effect on you.
Built by British architect Josiah Conde, the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum was formerly a historic business center. Today the building houses important collections of art and cultural items from some very well known artists and collectors. Spread over a huge area, this stone building is also used for private exhibits. Some noted exhibitions showcased here include over 200 works of French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and iconic collections of art by Maurice Joyant. The museum also conducts lectures seminars and other cultural and community events. Call ahead for more details.
.The city of Tokyo is home to several Shinto shrines, but each offers a unique spiritual experience. The Takarada Ebisu Shrine is one such shrine which definitely is worth a visit, if only for the stunning Shinto architecture of its structure. As with other shrines, this shrine has its own fair that is organized on its premises, and surrounding area, that is held each year, the Nihonbashi Ebisu-ko Bettara-ichi.
Last century, this was the parade ground for the Japanese Army, and now the nations first western style park has become an oasis for tired workers who on sunny days gather at lunchtime and have a few minutes repose from office-related stress. On weekends, the place is popular among courting couples. Close to the Imperial Palace and a short walk from Ginza, the Park also has a library, public tennis courts, restaurants, a flower shop and an open-air arena where concerts are often held.
The Advertising Museum Tokyo is the only museum dedicated to promoting advertising and marketing studies. Here there are two kinds of exhibitions. The first one is a special exhibition introducing many award-wining advertisements from all over the world. The second one is a permanent exhibition where you can learn about the history of advertisement from the edo era (starting in 1603) to the present in Japan. Artworks in special exhibitions will be changed about 12 times per year, so if you wish to go there, please check the exhibition schedule on the website.
Popular for being the treasure chest of used books stores, antique stores, and publishing houses, the neighborhood of Kanda-Jinbōchō is worth a visit for any curio or book enthusiast. Locally known as just 'Jinbōchō', this area comes under the ward of Chiyoda, and gets its name from a samurai who used to live here. This neighborhood is also home to book stores like Jimbou Book Town, and several prominent publishing houses like Iwanami Shoten. So, if you love reading, or just collecting rare and ornate things, then head to Kanda-Jinbōchō, and you will find much to treasure.