If a contest were held for the World's Most Entertaining City, Tokyo would certainly rank among the finalists. Night and day, on a shoestring budget or with a big expense account, you can find fun on every corner.
Those who enjoy sightseeing may want to begin with a view from the top. The best observation decks are located at Sunshine 60 in Ikebukuro, the Municipal Government Building
in Shinjuku, the World Trade centre in Hamamatsucho, and Tokyo Tower
in Shiba. Each offers a very different perspective of this sprawling metropolis.
Among the many famous places to see are the Kasumigaseki Building at the heart of the nation's government, Tokyo Dome (the so-called "Big Egg") at Korakuen, the Imperial Palace
grounds in the very centre of the city, Ueno Zoo to the northeast, colourful Rainbow Bridge spanning Tokyo Bay, and picturesque Mt. Fuji on the southwest horizon.
Gardens and Parks
If you're looking to get away from the city, there are many beautiful parks and gardens to visit. The Hama Rikyu Garden and Kiyosumi Garden are both beautifully ornate and dotted with ponds, sculpted bonsai trees and exotic flowers. Hibiya Park is located just outside Ginza, while Tokyo's largest, Ueno Park
, is home to several museums, temples and even a zoo that is popular with children.
For those who require more active entertainment, the city teems with amusement parks and recreation centres. Tokyo Disneyland
is the biggest attraction to the east; Toshimaen with its water park and carnival zone stakes out the west. At mid-town is Korakuen, featuring roller coasters, parachute rides, off-track betting and much more.
For family adventure indoors, there is an enclosed amusement park at Sanrio Puroland in Tama City. Take the kids to the National Children's Castle
in Omotesando. Or take a swim in a real Olympic pool at Yoyogi Stadium.
Thanks to an incredible array of museums and galleries, Tokyo on a rainy day can be extremely entertaining. The two major museums are arguably the National Museum of Western Art and the National Museum of Japanese History. Both will keep you occupied for the day. There are also a number of small museums that specify in unique artistic forms. From the Bicycle Culture centre and the Museum of Tin Toys, to the Iris Button Museum and the Kite Museum
, each housing interesting collections and pieces that will teach you something new.
Cinema and theatre
Of course, there are cinemas all around the city, some new and many old, each different and interesting. Cine Front in Shibuya, Nichigeki Plex in Yurakucho and Tower Hall Funabori
all show first-run road-show films, as well as art movies and classics.
Tokyo has its own opera house, a Shakespearean playhouse, venues for dance like the beautiful Spiral Hall or the modern Session House and Space Zero. Huge concert halls like the Ariake Coliseum, On Air East
, Tokyo Opera City and Zepp Tokyo
have a regular schedule of live acts ranging from rock bands to orchestral quartets. In the evening you can sample some unique indoor relaxation at the National Noh theatre
in Sendagaya, the Puk Puppet theatre in Yoyogi or the theatre Tram for contemporary dance and dramatic performances.
Sports buffs will be happy to find all their favourite pastimes here. Professional baseball, sumo, soccer and volleyball are the major spectator sports of Tokyo. Betting is allowed on horse races, cycling and speedboat racing. Toshimaen is a water-themed entertainment complex. Visiting teams from the USA come here regularly for exhibition football, basketball and baseball.
Rugby and tennis, ice hockey and boxing, all have their seasons here, and many of the world's top athletes make regular stops in Tokyo for track and field events. There are marathons for amateurs and pros alike. Locations are abound for bowling, golf, billiards, darts, mah-jongg and even ballroom dancing; check out the Shinagawa Prince Sports Complex and Tokyo Dome City