Dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, this Shinto shrine was originally constructed in 1920 at the site of an iris garden that is known to have been favored by the royal couple. Emperor Meiji ascended to the throne in 1867, at the height of the Meiji Restoration, drawing Japan from the veils of feudalism and into the modern era. The traditional nagare-zukuri shrine is built amid a teeming, evergreen forest of over 10,000 trees from across Japan; a token of gratitude donated by the people. Simple, yet elegant, the Meiji Jingū is isolated from the hustle and bustle of the city, its verdant shroud softening the sounds of the vibrant metropolis that is Tokyo. Nearby lies the enchanting inner garden, a field of iris blooms in June. The Imperial Treasure House at the shrine also exhibits the coronation carriage and several other intriguing mementos of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. The shrine that stands today is a reconstruction of the original, which dates back to 1958 after its predecessor was destroyed during World War II.
This striking Buddhist temple is one of Tokyo's oldest, originally established in 645 CE in honor of the goddess Kannon. Legend has it that in 628 CE, two brothers found a small statue of the goddess in the Sumida River which miraculously returned to them each time they submerged the idol. The majestic Kaminarimon, or Thunder Gate, guards the approach to Kinryū-Zan Sensō-Ji, its most distinctive feature being a massive paper lantern painted in shades of red and black to resemble a storm cloud. Beyond this lies the Nakamise, a pathway lined with colorful stalls selling traditional crafts and snacks. The temple itself is a magnificent sight, its main hall a grand spectacle replete with intricate details, and large paper lanterns strung from a ceiling held up by towering columns. Set alongside a five-tiered pagoda, the shrine is a vividly vibrant place of worship which is also one of the city's best known. The original temple was damaged during the Second World War; the existing structures are recent additions.
A millennium ago or so the legend goes, the Hirokuma brothers found the statue of Kannon (the Bodhisattva of Mercy - the deity alleged to have great powers in purifying people and granting them true happiness) in their fishing nets, and the village chief dutifully enshrined it. The Asakusa Shrine was thus established in 1649 and the three persons in the legend were consecrated as gods of the shrine, hereby earning it the nickname Sanja-sama (the shrine of the three gods). Undoubtedly one of the most famous shrines in Tokyo, it also hosts the Sanja Festival in May.
Residing amid rolling, open parkland, the glorious Kōkyo (Tokyo Imperial Palace) is an ethereal structure commanding might and magnificence. Fronted by the rejuvenating Fukiage Garden, East Garden and Ninomaru Garden which are enlivened by an alluring autumnal glory, the palace is steeped in history and unabashed architectural excellence. The Imperial Palace has been the official residence of the Emperor and Empress of Japan since Tokyo became the political and imperial capital in 1868. Located in what was once the inner section of Edo Castle, the seat of the Tokugawa shogun, this piece of prime real estate in central Tokyo is enclosed by walls and moats. The magnificent visage gives way to an interior which is just as elegant, comprising Hōmeiden State Banquet Hall, the Rensui Dining Room and the Chōwaden Reception Hall among other sections. Only on two occasions - January 2 (New Year) and 23 February (Emperor Naruhito's birthday) do the Emperor and the Royal Family emerge and wave to the gathering crowd from behind bulletproof windows. A magnificent nexus of modernist architectural styles fused with rooted, traditional nuances, the Imperial Palace is the crowning glory of Tokyo.
Watching over the increasingly-cosmopolitan landscape of Sumida, Tokyo Sky Tree is one of the tallest of its kind in the whole of Japan. The tower is indeed a beacon of the city's contemporary bent and an amalgam of the country's traditional tastes and elements of Neo-futuristic architecture. Boasting a monumental scale of 634 meters (2080 feet), this lofty tower is home to many attractions including a restaurant, a cafe, an aquarium and a couple of observation decks that afford astounding views of the metropolitan cityscape beneath. Also doubling as a broadcasting tower, Tokyo Skytree prides itself on its glorious standing as one of the world's tallest towers. A sight of magnificence and luminescence at night, Tokyo Sky Tree is not only a dominating feature of Sumida's skyline but is also a majestic embodiment of the city's ever-evolving face.
A replacement for the Tsukiji Fish Market, Toyosu Market consists of two buildings, where one is used for fruits and vegetables and the other, for seafood. Overlooking the Tokyo Bay, the market opened its doors to the public in October 2018. Stretching over an area of 408,000 Square meters ((4,391,675 square feet), the fish market building serves as a host to approximately forty food stalls that are accessible to the visitors. Also found here is a viewing deck on the second floor and rooftop overlooking the city's picturesque landscape. More than just a market, one can also enjoy tours, events and seafood restaurants in this market.
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.
In Tokyo, a city that launched a thousand thoughtfully designed luxury stores, you could be assured that Armani was not to be outdone. The Armani Ginza Tower, home of the Armani / Ristorante, the stunning Armani / Spa along with a complete collection of Armani clothing, is both a retail and architectural triumph. The building itself is particularly dazzling at nighttime, festooned with lights and with structural supports that mimic bamboo stalks.
Tsukiji Honganji Temple was established in 1617 in the Yoshiwara area of Tokyo. It was relocated to Tsukiji after the great fire of 1657. The current architecture resembles that of Indian temples and was designed by Chuta Ota in 1935. Once a major complex of over fifty temples, Tsukiji Honganji is now noted for being the biggest temple in Japan made entirely of stone. This is the final resting place of the famous Edo Period artist, Hoitsu Sakai (1761-1828). The temple is also considered to be a pilgrimage owing to the artifacts of Prince Shotoku, Shinran Shonin, and Shonyō Shōnin preserved here.
The Holy Resurrection Cathedral was built by the Saint Nicholas of Japan during the Meiji era to improve Russo-Japanese relations. The building of the church was funded by the Russian government and it overlooked the Tokyo Imperial Palace. The church was damaged badly during an earthquake in 1923 and was subsequently painstakingly restored. The cathedral was completed only in 1929 with a shorter bell tower and a less opulent facade.
The National Diet Building was built in 1936. It is about 65.5 meters (215 feet) high and takes up 103 square meters (1108.7 square feet) of space. There are two free tours available: the first one is offered by the House of Representatives (this tour is not offered on Saturdays, Sundays and a holidays) and the second one is offered by the House of Councilors. In these tours, you will see the lobby, conference hall and central hall of the National Diet Building. You don’t need to book in advance if you're going with less than nine people.