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general urban sprawl as seen from Tokyo City Hall

Tokyo City Hall: Taking in the View

The classic Tokyo destination for a big view of the city is Tokyo Tower, which looks like a cross between a communication mast and the Eiffel Tower. What stopped me from visiting it was the ¥1600 (€12.50) fee to reach its upper observatory at 250 meters. Alternatively, the newer Tokyo Skytree is taller, but also more expensive: ¥2,060…

a pond with trees overhanging in the Imperial Palace East Garden, in Tokyo

5 Tokyo Gardens

I’m not particularly into gardens. I enjoy them, but don’t enjoy gardening. In Tokyo, I visited a few 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 visit a…

a manicured garden fronts one of many Yanaka temples

Strolling Yanaka

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…