Adventuring Abroad: A Tour of Tokyo, Part I

I consider myself to be a fairly worldly person. I’ve gotten around a fair bit and have seen a lot of places, but I don’t think I’ve ever been to a city as big as Tokyo. It just seems to go on forever! This is a super cool thing about Tokyo, until you’re trying to plan out an itinerary that guarantees you’ll see everything. Yeah, I had to get that ‘everything’ notion out of my head very quickly, but the fact remained that there is a whole lot to see and we had to work quickly to see as much of it as we could.

Ummmm….where do we start?

So, the bright idea was hatched to take a tour. Normally I’m perfectly happy to wander around with nothing but a guidebook and a map, but Tokyo was different and we really didn’t know where to start. We figured that with a tour we’d be sure to see the ‘big stuff’, and then we could spend the rest of our time exploring other parts of the city and, of course, cat cafes. The tour ended up being a great introduction to Tokyo, so I figured I’d recreate it for you here:

We started our day with a birds eye view of the city at Tokyo Tower

It was a bit too cloudy to see Mt. Fuji, but we still got an excellent view of the city

After Tokyo Tower, we made our way over to the Meiji Shrine located in Shibuya. Meiji is a Shinto shrine that dates back to 1920.

A Torii at the entrance of the shrine

Barrels of sake line the entrance as an offering to Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken

The Meiji Shrine

After the shrine, we headed over to visit the Imperial Palace East Garden. It’s only been open to the public since 1961, and the Imperial Palace itself is completely off-limits to visitors except for two days a year (January 2nd for a new years greeting, and December 23rd to celebrate the emperor’s birthday).

Skyscrapers provide a backdrop for the garden

Bronze statue guards the entrance

All of the massive stone structures in garden were set by hand

A lovely path in the gardens

Skyscrapers rise above the gardens

Gazing at the waterfall


Looking out over the pond

After spending our morning wandering through shrines and gardens, we were seriously ready for lunch. The afternoon was to be filled with a visit to the Hama-Rikyu Garden, a cruise on the Sumida River, and a stop at the Asakusa Kannon Temple (which was right near the top of my ‘must see’ list). But, I’ll save all that for Part II. In the meantime, you can check out more images of the Meiji Shrine, the Imperial Palace East Garden, and Tokyo over at Flickr. For now, its lunch time:

A traditional Japanese lunch…yummmmm


2 thoughts on “Adventuring Abroad: A Tour of Tokyo, Part I

  1. Hi Marlana – looking forward to seeing more of your tour…we’re going to Tokyo for a week in September and have no idea what to expect so your photos might help us plan. It will be our first time in Asia!

    • Thanks for reading! This was my first trip to Asia and I didn’t know what to expect either. We had a great time though, and if you’re so inclined I do recommend doing a tour when you first get there – it really helped us figure out which areas we wanted to explore more in depth (we used Gray Line, though you can find tours/get info from any of the hotels). One thing you can’t go wrong with is the food – every meal we had was fantastic! 🙂

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