Do something different this time and discover Tokyo’s lesser-known gems that leave a lasting impression. From shopping complexes catering to anime fans to temples adorned with hundreds of cat statues, these lesser-known hotspots give visitors an authentic glimpse into Japan’s rich culture.
Avoid the high-energy pace of Tokyo with a peaceful stroll in Todoroki Valley. Here, the quiet rustle of bamboo groves creates a picture of traditional Japan that many foreign tourists miss while Japanese people cherish. You can get into the city easily with Bengalore to Tokyo Cathay Pacific flights.
Kitanomaru Park lies north of Imperial Palace and is one of Tokyo’s premier hanami spots, known for its lush greenery, beautiful pond and historic remnants. Opened to the public since 1969.
Edo Castle Park was initially used as both a medicinal garden and residential compound by Tokugawa family members, providing both residence and medicinal therapy. Today its deep moats remain intact while two original gates (Tayasu-mon and Shimizu-mon) serve as entrances to this beautiful spot that gives visitors a glimpse of what Edo must have been like during its heyday.
Springtime in this park becomes an abundance of cherry blossoms with over 200 trees blooming with different species such as Yoshino cherries and Prunus speciosa – among which you may even encounter rare Yoshino cherry and Prunus speciosa varieties! Additionally, its evergreen forests and thick layer of moss cover its soil – perfect conditions for photographers practicing their art and especially stunning during fall when trees turn yellow-red with bright autumn leaves!
This park is also home to one of Japan’s premier martial arts venues: Nippon Budokan. Boasting excellent acoustics and hosting performances of judo, karate, kyudo and kendo as well as concerts and dance shows, its superb acoustics make this venue an excellent venue.
MOMAT (the Museum of Modern Art Tokyo) Park Annex offers a host of changing exhibitions showcasing its rich collection. Additionally, an onsite shop sells everything from ceramics to traditional Japanese clothing and accessories – perfect for souvenir shopping and gifts back home!
Jinbocho Book Town
Jimbocho (also known as Jimbou) offers an unparalleled collection of paper books. Within fifteen minutes of Jinbocho Station there are over two hundred bookstores selling everything from 100 yen manga to original woodblock prints by Hokusai; as well as cafes where visitors can spend leisurely afternoons reading while sipping tea.
This book-rich neighborhood dates back to the late 1800s when universities first appeared nearby. Students would come here to buy secondhand textbooks – an annual tradition which continues today.
Yasukuni dori and Hakusan dori are two main streets in this area that boast numerous bookstores selling both new and secondhand Japanese books, including Isseido Shoten, Tamura Shoten, Kitazawa Book Store, Italia Shobo as well as others that specialize in these genres – these bookstores carry an impressive variety of Japanese titles while some stores even carry foreign-language ones as well.
Bondi Books and Book House Cafe offer English-language books. Iwanami Shoten stands out with its beautiful shop decorated in Edo art style; with an expansive collection of prints and artwork suited for decorating Tokyo apartments or as souvenirs.
Jimbocho offers many unique shops, such as Bumpodo for paper and printmaking materials; Sanseido bookstore is an enormous multi-floor establishment housing English-language books as well as Japanese pottery and tea; Kitazawa bookstore specializes in books about Japan’s history and culture displayed beautifully in antique European display cases – you’d almost forget you were in Tokyo itself!
Todoroki Valley is one of Tokyo’s most breathtaking hidden gems, known for its tranquil and lush greenery – providing an oasis from its city streets. Filled with tumuli, a Buddhist temple and Japanese gardens – Todoroki Valley makes an excellent hiking spot, and visitors may even catch sight of some waterfalls nearby! Plus, enjoy all four seasons within this spectacular valley’s beauty!
Todoroki Valley can best be reached by train. From the main station, take the train directly to Todoroki Station – about a 20-minute journey – then follow signs for park entry; your passport serves as your ticket! Once at Todoroki Valley, feel free to wander along its trails at your own leisure – there will be something new and interesting around every bend!
At the entrance to Todoroki Valley you will encounter an iconic red golf bridge – popular among visitors for photo opps. Additionally, there is a trail that begins from this bridge that leads you through various parts of Todoroki Valley to several places such as Todoroki Fudosan Temple, Japanese garden and ancient tombs.
Todoroki Fudosan temple was established by Kogyo Daishi from the Shingon sect of Buddhism and is widely known for its cherry blossoms in spring and red and orange leaves in autumn. Additionally, there are some tumuli dating back to Heian Era (8th century) as well as Japanese garden in Todoroki Valley that was completed in 1973.
Tokyo may be best known for its modern skyscrapers and expansive avenues, but there are a few timeless places scattered throughout its streets that provide glimpses into its past. Yanaka is one such historic district that has avoided modernization largely and provides a taste of old Shitamachi Tokyo. Winding streets lined with charming houses line its historic streets while residents shop small independent stores or enjoy eating traditional senbei (rice crackers) from old-fashioned stalls that have been there for generations.
Yanaka offers a glimpse back to Showa era Japan with old-style shops and restaurants that have survived wars and earthquakes, making this area ideal for souvenir hunting or finding vintage dresses. Street art also abounds here as many buildings have been turned into galleries or coffee shops.
Other attractions in the area include Yanaka Cemetery, an expansive cemetery comparable to Pere Lachaise and Montparnasse in Paris that features rows of cherry trees in springtime and turning colors in autumn. You may also take a stroll down Yuyake Koyake Fureai Road which serves as a popular spot for photographers taking sunset photos.
If you’re feeling peckish, be sure to visit a kakigori shop and sample their delicious shaved ice dessert – it will provide the perfect way to relax after exploring Japan’s cities! Be sure to sample flavors like matcha or red bean as well as seasonal or limited-time treats like banana caramel and sakura; these sweet treats won’t disappoint.
Shibamata may lack traditional tourist attractions, yet still retains an irresistibly charming aura. Many Japanese are familiar with Shibamata from its role as the hometown of Tora-san from the popular 48-film series It’s Tough Being a Man (Otoko wa Tsurai Yo). A visit here offers you an authentic sense of Tokyo’s past and charm all its own.
Shibamata stands out for its temple approach that also functions as a shopping street, which features longstanding shops with traditional exterior designs that add character. Many stores sell traditional candy made in house such as “sarashi ame”, which features both mugwort and Chinese bellflower, as well as “kinako ame”, made with roasted soybean flour.
There are multiple kusa-dango (grass dumpling) restaurants nearby that make for ideal street food when strolling through the neighborhood. Furthermore, you can find senbei (rice crackers) of various shapes and sizes; some shops even provide specialties in different flavors of senbei that will surely please connoisseurs of these snacks!
The area is well known for sanuki takoyaki, or stuffed octopus balls fried in a unique manner that produces crispy exterior and soft interior textures – something sure to please both children and adults alike. Furthermore, there’s also an exceptional children’s museum located within the same building as temple approach; entrance is by ticket only so visitors can explore toys from a half century ago!