The Best Of Tokyo: Opinion Essay

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The sound of the hustle and bustle of a big city, and a gong sounding in front of an ancient shrine. The smell of Sushi dishes being cooked in market stalls and cherry blossoms budding on countless trees. The sights of the winding paths of the Emperor’s garden and the sun rising over the distant Mt. Fuji. This is Tokyo, the thriving metropolitan capital of Japan and the largest city in the world. Some regions (named ‘special wards’) are famous for their pop culture and vibrant nightlife, such as Shinjuku, and others for their huge skyscrapers and sprawling malls, like Shibuya. These wards are the heart of Tokyo, home to their most iconic landmarks, and the site of the original city before it was almost completely leveled in 1943 as part of a WWII bombing raid. Some of the best places around Japan’s capital are right in the open towering into the sky, and some are hidden gems, hidden in the streets. But many would probably agree that some of the best experiences Tokyo has to offer are the sky touching Tokyo Skytree, the hustle and bustle of Shibuya Crossing, and the historical wonder of Meiji Jingu.

Touching down in Tokyo? I guarantee that when your eye looks across the horizon of skyscrapers, the Tokyo Skytree will definitely catch your eye. This huge tower is the largest tower in the world, with a height of 634 meters, shooting above the surrounding buildings. In all, it is the ‘2nd tallest structure in the world’ (Tokyo Travel Par. 2)! (And of course, the view from the tower is breathtaking. Imagine looking out the window and seeing the buildings of Tokyo, spread out in all directions, at night, glowing. The neon billboards of Shinjuku, the glowing legs of the Rainbow Bridge, and the thousands of cars on the highways. The region or “special ward” with the pleasure of hosting this gigantic telecommunications tower and tourist attraction goes to Sumida. There is also an aquarium and a vast shopping center in the complex at the bottom of the Skytree if heights are not your thing. But let me tell you, bring a camera even if you aren’t going up. This place is beautiful.

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Next on our bucket list, far below the lofty heights of the Tokyo Skytree, the city is beating and pulsing with activity. And one of those places where the many vein-like streets of Tokyo collide is the infamous Shibuya Crossing, the proud holder of the busiest intersection in the world. And oh, does it show that title off! It is said that hundreds of people cross this place at the same time every change of the traffic light, and at the busiest times, up to a whopping ‘2,500 people can cross at a time’(Lonely Planet Par. 3)! On rainy days, there are so many umbrellas that from an aerial view you cannot even see the crosswalk. There is also a Starbucks on the street where you can people-watch and become hypnotized by the crowds as they cross the streets. There are gigantic video screens all around the plaza that flash commercials, anime, news, and more 24/7, and after the day, and when the trains stop running for the night, the place gets quiet. And if anybody has ever watched the movie Hachi, a movie about a dog who waits for his master every day at the train station, a bronze statue of the faithful pup lies on one of the four sides of the crossing and is a common meeting place for young Japanese.

In addition, Tokyo isn’t all contemporary. In fact, its roots are entangled in the vibrant past of Japan. And one of these places in which the past is brought forth into the present is Meiji Jingu, a shrine built in honor of the late Emperor Meiji. This huge shrine and the grounds it is seated on were destroyed during the terrible events of WW2, however, this place was rebuilt soon after to insure that everybody who would come to Tokyo in the future could enjoy. There are over ‘100,000 trees in the forests surrounding the complex’(Tokyo Travel Par. 4). There is also a treasure house in which the original carriage that the emperor rode throughout the city. Many Shinto gates dot the park, and are aesthetically beautiful, and a prime example of Japan’s architecture. It’s a nice break from the craziness of the streets. In addition, people hang prayers written on paper on special wooden walls.

In conclusion, the city of Tokyo has many places to offer, and these three are just some of the shiny cogs in the machine that is Tokyo. There are Buddha statues, exotic zoos, vast malls, and more to feed the ultimate traveler’s appetite. You could go out and get some sushi from a stall on the street, made right in front of you or go into the museums and stare at the polished samurai armor. Infinitely many possibilities! But make sure that three spots on your trip are dedicated to the Tokyo Skytree, Shibuya Crossing, and Meiji Jingu.

Works Cited


  1. Planet, Lonely, et al. Lonely Planet Tokyo. Lonely Planet, 2017.


  1. ‘Shibuya Crossing.’ Lonely Planet | Travel Guides & Travel Information – Lonely Planet, 11 Mar. 2019, Accessed 21 Mar. 2019.
  2. ‘Tokyo Travel: Tokyo Skytree.’ – Japan Travel and Living Guide, 20 Apr. 2018, Accessed 21 Mar. 2019.
  3. ‘Tokyo Travel: Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu).’ – Japan Travel and Living Guide, 23 Jan. 2018, Accessed 23 Mar. 2019.


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