The Japanese capital holds a reputation for being one of the biggest urban areas in the world. With around 36 Million people living within a commuting distance of central Tokyo, one could argue they are all Tokyoites in a way.
Basically, regardless of the place you live, if you are lucky to spend your weekends at the arcade buildings in Ikebukuro or Akihabara, spotting trends at Harajuku or Shibuya or getting lost in the neon lights of Shinjuku, then you are part of the Tokyo tribe.
Visitors of the city, happen to love these same places as well and can’t get enough from them every time they visit the city. There is so much energy and vibrancy around these areas that you will live amazed every time you visit.
Even if at the mention of Tokyo, the first idea that comes to the mind is one that of colorful neon glittered streets and endless skyscrapers. What awaits you in the eastern side of the Japanese capital will leave you thinking this is a complete different city in Japan.
Traditional Japanese Culture and Contemporary Architecture find their meeting place in East Tokyo
1. A temple town with a modern feel
Photo : 鈴木 宏一 on Flickr
A visit to the Yanesen area in the East side of Tokyo will take you back to the times when the Shoguns ruled Japan and life went by at a slower pace. Having survived to the natural and man-made catastrophes of the last century, most temples and streets remain unchanged from around a century. However, you can expect to find specialty shops, cafes and even some of the most reputed art galleries in the city. It is probably the one of the most sophisticated yet classical areas of the city ready to be discovered.
2. Edo Period scenes in the 21st Century
Photo : puffyjet on Flickr
The Kameido area in the Koto ward in Tokyo, is home to one of the most famous Japanese gardens, depicted in the work “One hundred famous views from Edo” by the artist Hiroshige, dating from more than 150 years ago. The place hosts as well, one of the most beautiful gardens for Wisteria flowers in Japan, famous for attracting visitors from all over during its blooming season around late April every year. Besides being massively visited, the surrounding streets are quiet and peaceful so there’s a feeling of winding down and enjoying the nature.
3. Sumo Town
Photo : cinefil_ on Flickr
Unlike others, Sumo is the only official sport from Japan. With a history dating back to 200 years, the experience of watching a Sumo official match or even a sumo training is culture and entertainment at the same time. In the Ryogoku area in Tokyo’s Sumida ward, it is possible to visit some of the stables for training, and depending the time of the year, it is also possible to watch a live sumo Match at the Sumo Stadium also located in the area. To make it a whole experience, you can also try some of the restaurants specializing in the food for Sumo athletes. To complete the cultural visit there is the Edo museum next to the Sumo stadium, for those interested to see the life of Tokyo 300 years ago. In front of the Edo museum is the Hokusai dori, named in homage to the Artist Hokusai, and exhibiting some of his best works along the avenue for everyone to enjoy.
The spirit of the Traditional Tokyo is alive in the East side of Tokyo. There is no better way of learning about the Japanese culture than experiencing it.
Enjoy your travels !