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general urban sprawl as seen from Tokyo City Hall

A Free View of Tokyo from Tokyo City Hall

The classic destination for a big view of Tokyo is Tokyo Tower, which looks like a cross between a communication mast and the Eiffel Tower. What stopped me from visiting it was the ¥2800 (€22 or $25) fee to reach its upper observatory at 250 meters. (Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase…

close-up of a lotus flower in Ueno Park, Tokyo

5 Tokyo Gardens

I’m not particularly into gardens. I enjoy them, but don’t enjoy gardening. I visited a few gardens in Tokyo partly because I was curious about Japanese gardens in particular, and also curious as to how they are used by people in such a big city. But mostly I went to them because I wanted to…

a manicured garden fronts one of many Yanaka temples

Strolling Yanaka in Tokyo

Tokyo is best known for its big-city-ness: huge, new, shiny, crowded, and exciting. I found it overwhelming in terms of noise and crowds, and also in terms of choices: where to go, what to do, what to eat, where to sleep. Add to that my functional illiteracy—I can’t read Japanese lettering or say more than…