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Tokyo City Guide – some of the most exciting neighborhoods Tokyo has to offer

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Tokyo Metropolis as we now know it was only formed in 1943. Previously Tokyo was merely a city, which was then merged with the former Tokyo Prefecture to create the largest metropolitan area in the world. Today, numerous neighborhoods make up the metropolis, many of which are known for attractions like sumo-wrestlers, eccentric fashion and night clubbing. The neighborhoods are easy to navigate, held together by a circuit of train loops called the Yamanote Line.

Amy Austen

My Destination local expert on

Tokyo

Harajuku

 

Harajuku is an area of the Shibuya district in western Tokyo, known as the Mecca for young fashion focused teens of Tokyo. It is internationally acclaimed as the place for youth style and fashion, especially on Taskeshita Street. Here, cosplay, the art of fancy dress of anime characters is very popular and is best taken in on a Sunday. Amidst all the fashion, there are historical sights too; west of the railway is Meiji Jingu, one of Tokyo’s major shrines in the city oasis of Yoyogi Park.

 

Aoyama

 

Aoyama is the playground for those seeking sleek designer styles, one of a kind boutiques and sophisticated pricey restaurants. Aoyama has an up-market vibe all of its own, with more fashion outlets in this northern neighborhood it boasts more of the latest designer trends than anywhere else in the city. The Omotesando Hills shopping centre stretches from Harajuku to Aoyama and is easily accessed by the Ginza and Choypda metro lines.

 

Hibiya

 

In central Toyko is Chiyoda-ku, which has always had a sense of importance surrounding it and is also known as the spiritual center of the city. The site used to house Edo Castle but today the Imperial Palace sits here, the residence of Japan’s 125th Emperor. The Imperial Palace is still surrounded by a moat, large stone walls and in the middle of a large park, as the Edo castle once was.

 

Roppongi

 

If it is night clubs, bars and restaurants you’re after, Roppongi in the south of Tokyo is the place to be. With more bars and clubs that any other district, the youth of Japan mix with foreigners to hang out here. If you want something a little less hard-core, then the nearby neighborhood of Nishi is a little more relaxed but doesn’t falter on the quality of places to go. Culture is a recent addition to this party area with the National Art Centre and Mori Art Museum.

 

Akihabara

 

Tokyo wouldn’t be Tokyo without its huge electronic district and Akihabara is the most famous found in the center. The ever changing character of Akihabara is currently based around anime culture where dozens of shops specialise in anime, magna, retro video games, figurines and collectables. The craze has even spread to cafes, where waitresses dress up as anime characters. A must visit for any eager anime or electrical fan.

 

Ryogoku

 

Just outside of the Yamanote loop, in north Tokyo is the neighborhood of Ryogoku, home of the sumo wrestling tradition since the 17th century. Sumo wrestlers still live in ‘sumo stables’ where they are able to focus simply on training. Chanko restaurants line the streets and tournaments are still held outdoors at shrines, temples, the sumo stadium and the museum. Other attractions include the Ed-Tokyo Museum and Yokoamicho Park which commemorate the WWII bombings and Great Kanto Earthquake that both destroyed the old city.