The first question you'll need to ask yourself when planning your visit to Tokyo is whether you want to stick to the traditional tourist routes. There are plenty of opportunities for travelers to take a break from the ordinary and get off the beaten path, spend a few moments considering the following options before you decide what you want to get out of your time in Tokyo.
Thousands Of Waving Cats
You may think you should be heading for the temple in the morning but you need to head for the right one. Gotoku-Ji in the South East section of Tokyo is known as the temple of beckoning cats.Take a visit and enjoy the history and architecture but you'll be most amazed by the thousands of white Maneki-Neko, that's the waving cat which is considered to be lucky.
This area is famous for the impressive vintage shops, numerous bars, and the laid-back vibe. In fact, it is a Bohemian paradise and one that shouldn't be missed. It's only a few stops from Shinjuku and gives you the opportunity to shop until you drop. The narrow streets are full of vintage clothing shops, places to buy kimonos and plenty of delightful eating opportunities.
But, what you really want to do is get here early in the morning, before the shops open. The streets are surprisingly quiet, which is unusual anywhere in Tokyo. However, this is when you'll get to experience the abundance of high-quality shutter art.Every shutter is covered in a beautifully created picture which could reflect what is being sold or may just be random art!
You don't need to join in but it is worth getting on one of the early morning tours to see inside sumo stable and watch the training. You may be surprised by how much training a sumo warrior does.
The Skytree
It doesn't matter where you are in Tokyo you can see the Skytree. Of course, if you go up the Skytree you'll be able to see all of Tokyo, which is a view that simply shouldn't be missed. It was unveiled in 2010 as the tallest tower in the world. Although the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is taller, it is classed as the tallest building in the world, leaving the Skytree as the tallest tower.
But that's not all! Head up the Skytree and you'll find the highest skywalk in the world! If you're in Tokyo you have to take in this sight. Although you can do this at any time of the day, it's worth getting up there early. Not only will you find you'll find the clearest skies and the best possible views, but you'll also find it's comparatively empty.
Yanaka Cemetery
A cemetery is not normally top of your to-do list but this one is home to many famous and important Japanese people. It's like visiting a city within the city. Going early means you'll get to appreciate the impressive tranquillity, despite the fact it is surrounded by houses and shops. What may surprise you is the fact that this cemetery is as large as any of the major parks in Tokyo. As well as some impressive graves, this is the place to see an abundance of cherry trees.
There are a lot of famous people buried in Yanaka, although if you're not Japanese you may not recognize the names. The most famous is the Tokugawa Shinobu, the final Shogun of the Edo period (1603-1868).