This naturally wooded park adjoins the Meiji Jingu Shrine, and until 1996, it hosted Tokyo's amateur rock and roll bands, who strutted their stuff every Sunday. They have since moved to Omotesando, and Yoyogi Park has become quiet, and ideal for groups of friends and families who like to enjoy a tranquil Sunday afternoon strolling by small ponds filled with koi (Japanese carp). Rental bicycles are available within the grounds during summer.
The Shinjuku Gyo-en blends Western and Eastern influences in its layout with English, French and conventional Japanese gardens. It also features quaint tea ceremony houses and a greenhouse with a considerable collection of tropical plants. It is most famous for its cherry blossom trees, which in early spring paint the whole place with different hues of fluttering pink. It is an ideal place to get some fresh air, relax amidst nature and lift your spirits.
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.
Ueno Zoological Gardens, over a 100 years old, contains a multitude of birds, Siberian tigers, monkeys, gorillas, Giant Pandas, giraffes and other animals from all over the world. A monorail links the two separate areas within the zoo, and there is also a children's petting zoo at the southern end. A pagoda-like structure on one end of the park adds some Japanese history into the mix. Neatly combining history and wildlife, this attraction makes for a particularly rewarding experience for children.
Wreathed in an atmosphere of a working-class neighborhood set in the pre-1923 Great Kanto Earthquake days, the Shitamachii Museum is an evocative representation of the bygone glory of Japan. It is home to a string of traditional, Japanese-style houses which, much paradoxically, lie nestled amid the soaring high-rises of Tokyo. A mural on the landing between the first and second floors depicts peddlers, artisans and blue-collar workers going about their daily life during the Edo period. The extensive display of household items gives a fascinating peek into a lifestyle from days gone by. A striking nexus of antiquity and unhindered cultural intrigue, the museum displays insightful exhibits which can be explored and understood with the help of an English speaking guide. A glimpse of Japanese history, the museum is no less than a time machine, transporting its visitors to the Edo era.
The Osanbashi Pier stands at the entrance to the Port of Yokohama from the greater Tokyo Bay. Osanbashi means "Big Wharf," and big it was. What we know today as the Osanbashi Pier was completed in 1894 and was known in its day as the Yokohama Harbor Pier. At the time it was biggest wharf in entire Japan. The Osanbashi Pier became the center of the booming port, and all the large ships were docked here. Consequently, it became the entrance to Yokohama for many visiting foreigners. Today the Pier still stands at the entrance to the Port of Yokohama and greets ships of all kinds from around the world.
Kobo Gallery is in fact a podium to help showcase some of the best abstract arts from local, national as well as international artists. With more focus on local and national artists, Koba helps in promoting the abstract artists to help build healthier competition. Located in an old fashioned building, the art works keep changing on a frequent basis.
During the transformation of the monarch in Japan from the Showa period to the Heisei period, the former Royals donated a large sum of their art collection to the government and thus Museum of the Imperial Collections was formed. Established in the year 1993, this art museum boasts of about 9,500 articles made by nationally renowned artists like Kanō Tsunenobu, Fujiwara no Sukemasa, Tomioka Tessai and many more.
Shiseido Gallery has been around since 1919, making it the venerable old maid of Tokyo's galleries. It's prestigious, innovative, and has an extremely long tradition of promoting the arts in Tokyo - and, in particular, supporting up and coming artists. It is one of the largest galleries in Ginza, and it hosts a great many events and shows.
Not everything is glitzy and expensive in Ginza-- Komparu-yu, the oldest senta (bath house) in Ginza, retains it's original two baths. One is nurui (lukewarm) and the other is atatakai (hot); the lukewarm bath, however, is hot enough for most visitors. Entrance is within 500 yen; a steal considering that these baths have survived since 1863.
The bronze statue of former Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida wearing a winter coat and walking with a stick stands in Kitanomaru Park. He was twice prime minister after World War II and twice Minister of Foreign Affairs. His policies emphasized Japan's economic recovery and regaining the lost industrial infrastructure. Yoshida died in 1967. -AH
As a collector, Tomio Koyama is extremely well regarded and respected - so much is his expertise that he is an advisor to corporations and private collectors. He expends his expertise at his gallery, where you can see paintings and sculptures from some bold up-and-coming artists, all carefully selected by the man himself. The Tomio Koyama Gallery is extremely influential in the Tokyo art world as well as internationally.