As the capitol of Japan, Tokyo is a cultural and historical epicenter. The city is quite unique in that it its modernistic elements, while highly visible to the world, do not overshadow the city's display of Japanese heritage and customs. Many beautiful shrines and temples maintain presence in the center of the city.
Built in honor of the revered emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken, this Tokyo shrine is amongst Japan's most iconic structures. Sitting at the heart of the city, many Japanese people still pay their respects to the Emperor at the Meiji Shrine to this day.
More info: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/spot/shritemp/meijijingu.html
Sensoji is Tokyo's oldest Buddhist temple. Its stately pagoda and surrounding black and red buildings are a dramatic symbol of Tokyo, and many traditional shops and eateries cater to the throngs of people that visit Sensoji every day.
More info: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/spot/shritemp/sensoji.html
A Leisurely Stroll Through Yanesen
It would be easy to traverse the bustling streets of Akihabara, Ginza, and Harajuku and conclude that this is what all of Tokyo is like. But for those that need a break from the crowding and commotion of Japan's most popular metropolis need no further than to look at the three neighborhoods of Yanaka, Nezu, and Sendagi, which collectively make up the quiet trio of suburbs known as Yanesen. Hidden pathways and rolling hills make Yanesen an ideal place to witness traditional Japanese suburban living as beautiful forests, shrines, and temples are scattered across the area.
In April and May, many tourists flock to the Nezu Shrine when its bountiful azaleas come into full blossom. At this time, many vendors will set up shop selling food and local crafts to accompany a lovely stroll through the colorful Shrine grounds. The many temples of nearby Yanaka are also ideal locales to absorb the tranquil side of the otherwise frenzied city of Tokyo, where an iconic statue of Buddha serves as a center point of the neighborhood. It is here in Yanaka that the affectionately titled "Yanaka Ginza" lies, a small, traditional street of shops and restaurants that sell local foods and goods. A visit to the nearby neighborhood of Sendagi will treat visitors to a wealth of local crafts, especially uniquely patterned textiles and fabrics. While exploring Yanesen, schedule a stay at Sawanoya , a popular destination for international budget travelers. This family oriented, wallet friendly ryokan offers wonderful accommodations at very competitive prices. At just a simple subway ride a way, the area of Yanesen is an ideal retreat from the busy streets of Tokyo.
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