Friday, May 21, 2010

Walking in Tokyo

Tokyo is well known for its size and subsequent efficient public transportation system, but unknown to many visitors is the fact that Tokyo is a great city to walk around.
It’s true that you’re never far away from a train or subway station in Tokyo, but if the weather’s fine, why not consider walking to your points of interest? Not only will you get some great exercise, but you’ll experience Tokyo “between the stations.” You don’t have to venture too far from any popular train station in Tokyo to find yourself in quaint neighbourhoods or traditional shopping districts.
Here are a few examples of easy and interesting walks in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
1.) Shibuya to Shinjuku

Both locations are among the most popular for both Japanese and overseas tourists in Tokyo. A seven minute ride on the Yamanote line will do the trick, but why cram yourself into a busy train and then face the prospect of navigating the station upon arrival when you can walk? Both locations are situated along the arterial route called “Meiji Dori.” Follow that road and you can’t fail. Better still, following Meiji Dori will take you through Yoyogi and Harajuku. Adventurous types may want to explore the adjacent streets of Meiji Dori which contain stylish residential areas, high-fashion shopping and even Yoyogi Park and Meiji Jingu shrine. Give yourself 40 minutes to walk between Shibuya and Shinjuku, or longer to allow for stops and shopping. Southbound walkers to Shibuya can add an extra fifteen minutes walking time to reach Ebisu.

2.) Ginza/Tokyo station area.

Tokyo station maybe your first experience of downtown Tokyo. A 4-5 minute walk outside of the central Yaesu exit will bring you to a large street named “Chuo Dori.” From here you can turn left to Nihonbashi or right towards the famous shopping district of Ginza. Ginza is only a 10-12 minute walk from this point. Once there, you’ll find that Ginza is not only a haven for shoppers but an extremely pedestrian-friendly area. The busiest areas are even closed off to traffic on weekends. Don’t fancy Ginza? On the opposite side of Tokyo Station are the Imperial Palace and grounds as well as Hibiya Park. Both are only minutes away on foot from Tokyo Station’s central exit.

Walking in Tokyo is a rewarding and invigorating experience. With the advent of GPS enabled mobile phones, it’s never been easier too. Don’t just limit your experience of Tokyo to what’s around the stations. Take a walk and see a different view of the city!

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