Marunouchi is a modern-looking district found at the very heart of Tokyo, just a stone’s throw from Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace. The name Marunouchi translates as “inside the circle” and originates from its location inside the palace walls of the Edo Castle hundreds of years ago. Originally inhabited by some of the country’s wealthiest lords, the district remains a pristine, wealthy-looking area that is home to some of Japan’s largest banks and impressive modern skyscrapers. Marunouchi is easily accessible from all parts of the city. Tokyo Station is its nearest access point which is a departure point for various bullet trains, local trains, metros and buses. To make the most of your trip to Tokyo, discover the 4 best things to do in the Marunouchi area!
Visiting a chic area should involve some sophisticated activities to perfect the experience. Cotton Club in Marunouchi houses affordable jazz performances which can be appreciated while sipping on a glass of champagne or enjoying a 3-course meal. Does it get much more sophisticated than that?
The renowned Cotton Club originates in New York and brought its stylish vibes to Tokyo in 2005. Jazz lovers are sure to find something to pleasure their ears with a variety of performances taking place on almost every night of the week. Musicians from both Japan and overseas come to play at the venue including some well-known names so tables fill up quickly so be sure to book in advance.
Tokyo Imperial Palace was constructed for the first time during the Meiji era in the 19th century and remains one of the capital’s pride and joys to this day. Located within walking distance of Tokyo Station, the palace can be found in beautiful gardens that are a popular sightseeing spot, especially during the cherry blossom season when the grounds overflow with beautiful white and pink blossom.
While the Imperial Palace is a must-visit while you’re in Tokyo, it won’t take a full day to visit so it’s best to combine this trip with other activities around Tokyo. While Japan may be acclaimed for its high speed, efficient trains, the trains and metros around central Tokyo can be difficult to get the hang of and tend to be packed out with the thousands of hurried people. For a simple and relaxed way to travel around Tokyo, a bus tour is your best option. You can appreciate the views from inside the bus while getting a feel of the whole city as you whizz around town. This tour will not only take you to the Imperial Palace but also to Meiji Jingu shrine and Sensoji Temple with many other sights explained along the way.
While cycling is always a recommended way to travel around a city with trains as busy as Tokyo’s, it can sometimes seem like a bit too much hard work. Enter the electric bike! If you’ve never tried one out before, an electric bike looks like a normal bike but with a hidden electric mechanism that gives you a boost to make cycling around effortless.
Finding your way safely around Tokyo on a bike on your own isn’t an easy task but you can join a half-day tour suitable for all ages and fitness levels to keep you safe and on track to see the best sights on offer both in Marunouchi and further afield. This tour not only provides you with an electric bike but also a wearable video camera so that you can record the amazing sights you see on your day out! You’ll be taken to discover the Marunouchi office area and its incredible architecture followed by a trip to Tairano Masakado’s grave who is regarded as the spiritual guardian of Tokyo. While you’re in the area, you will also visit Tokyo Imperial Palace which boasts not only the Japanese Emperor’s living quarters but also beautiful parks.
As travelling around by electric bike is so quick and easy, there’s also time to visit Shinjuku where a traditional Japanese bento box is provided to enjoy in the beautiful Shinjuku Gyoen as well as visiting the Olympic site area which is being set up for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
If you’re keen to visit as much of Tokyo as possible before you head home, a full-day tour is a necessity. This is a hassle-free way of ensuring you don’t miss any of the sights Tokyo has to offer. From the traditional and spiritual to the modern and wacky, there is an infinite list of places to be discovered. Marunouchi’s biggest draw is the nearby Imperial Palace which you can visit in this tour as well as Tokyo Tower from which you can catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji, Meiji Jingu shrine, Asakusa and all topped off with a cruise down the Sumida River.
This bus tour lasts a full day and includes pick-up and drop-off from your hotel. You are also provided with a scrumptious Japanese lunch, with options of tempura and yakitori, and an English speaking guide so now’s the chance to ask any questions you may have about Tokyo’s history or Japanese culture.
Whether it’s your first time in Tokyo or not, Marunouchi is always worth a visit. There’s something about the impossibly high buildings in contrast with the beautiful red brick Tokyo Station that is a sight that we can never tire of. On top of the many activities, the numerous shops and restaurants in the area mean there is never a shortage of things do after you’ve had a good wander around the area.
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