At the mention of Tokyo (東京), I am sure everyone has the idea that it is a costly place to visit. However, this is not 100 percent true. Just recently, my friend and I spent a day traveling around Tokyo area in, what I would say, an economical way. So how did we do that? We did all our activities purely by walking. Curious and want to learn more about our itinerary? Read on and challenge yourself to do the same!
One of the best ways to start the day is, of course, to explore Tokyo Station itself. What I particularly like is the Marunouchi (丸の内) side of Tokyo Station. The building gives off a Western architectural feeling, which is very different from any normal Japanese building. Whether in the day or in the night, the view is simply breathtaking. The only let-down might be the ongoing construction in front of the station area which obstructs the perfect view of the establishment.
Don’t forget to check out the basement area of the station if you have some time as there are many shops such as the Character Street (where you can purchase Snoopy, Pokémon, Rilakkuma goods, and many more) and various souvenir shops.
Next, take a short 10-minute walk from the station (Marunouchi South Exit) to the outer grounds of the Imperial Palace. I would recommend walking along the Gyoko-dori street (行幸通り), particularly during the autumn season. Why? This is because along the way, there are some nice ginkgo trees on both sides of the streets, which makes it a nice walk. And when you arrive at the end of the Gyoko-dori street and turn back towards the direction of the station, you would be able to get another impressive view.
The Imperial Palace Grounds is a really wide area. Due to lack of time, we only wandered around the outer grounds area (which is also pretty big). One of the not-to-be-missed view here is the “Double Bridge” of the Palace.
From the “Double Bridge” area of the Palace, Hibiya Park is just another 20-minute walk. Not only that there is no entrance fee to the park, there also tend to be events held here during the weekends. This is a good place to enjoy hanami (flower viewing) during spring and autumn as there are various sakura and maple trees around the park, and lots of benches where you can relax or have a nice lunch while enjoying the lovely views.
I also heard that there is a light-up event in some of the areas at night during December which you might want to check out.
After taking a break for lunch, we continued our walking trip towards the direction of the Tokyo Tower. From Hibiya Park, it takes around 30 minutes. Here and there, we could see the top of the iconic Tokyo Tower which confirms that we are not lost. Of course, for additional confirmation, Google Maps was really important.
Before reaching our main destination, we got distracted by the lovely view of the Shiba Park (芝公園), which is just nearby the Tower. I guess this is the reason why we enjoy walking as we get to discover new interesting places which we would rarely notice if we head to the main destination directly using public transport.
After Shiba Park, we quickly headed to our main destination, Tokyo Tower, which is just a short walk away. I am not sure of the opinion of other people, but for me, I always prefer the view of Tokyo Tower over the current tallest structure in Japan, Tokyo Skytree (東京スカイツリー). Do check out the observatory area where you can capture a nice view of the Tokyo surroundings, and on days with good visibility, you might be able to see Mt. Fuji (富士山) as well.
In addition, since 2015, there has been a Tokyo One Piece Tower attraction area. If you are a One Piece fan, I am sure you would not want to miss out on this place.
The Main Observatory costs 900 yen. If you are interested in checking out the Special Observatory too, the price is 1,600 yen. However, currently, the upper deck is under renovation, so only the ticket for the Main Observatory is sold. If you are interested in visiting both the observatory and the One Piece attraction area, the price would then be 3,900 yen.
Note: Even if you do not purchase the ticket to enter the One Piece attraction area (3rd floor), there is a statue of Luffy just outside its entrance where you can pose with him for a photo.
And finally, our last destination for the day, Roppongi Hills. We aimed to reach the place around sunset time as we wanted to capture the lovely night view of Tokyo Tower from here. It takes around 30 minutes to reach Roppongi Hills by walking (acceptable, right?). As we arrived earlier than the planned time, we went to the headquarters of TV Asahi which is located at the foot of the complex. There were many exhibits of Doraemon and advertisements of the latest ongoing dramas.
Then, we headed to the 4th floor of Roppongi Hills where you can capture the view of Tokyo Tower for free. The location is near the “spider” sculpture (Louise Bourgeois’ Maman), which is an iconic spot in the Roppongi Hills area. If you prefer seeing the view from higher grounds, then you should head to the observatory area in Mori Tower, which is part of the complex. This time, we only observed the view from the free ground area. Perhaps next time, we will go to the observatory tower.
While we were there, we found out that there were some Christmas events such as the Christmas market and an illumination event where the trees are lighted up. Do not forget to check those out if you are in the area during the holidays.
That concludes our eventful 1-day walking trip around Tokyo. How much did we spend? Only the ticket to reach Tokyo Station and another for the ride back home. (And of course, our food!) Don’t you think that this is an economical way to enjoy the city?