Unlike most other trees, the Ginkgo or Ichou in Japanese, has individuals of the two sexes, males and females. Only the female produces fruits which are renown for their unpleasant smell. This peculiar tree is commonly seen in Japan. In fact, the leaf of the Ginkgo tree is the emblem of the University of Tokyo, the most recognized university in Japan. It is thus not surprising to find a street lined with large Ginkgo trees near the Jingu Gaien garden in Tokyo. In fall, this street hosts the Ginkgo festival when thousands of visitors come to enjoy the sight of the Ginkgo leaves turning to a bright yellow color.
The National Art Center is among the largest art museums of Japan and features only temporary exhibits. At the time of my visit there were nice exhibitions about modern architecture and paintings. The architecture of the museum is very modern and the facade is completely covered with glass panels. Access to the atrium is free and visitors do not have to but tickets for the whole museum but only for the exhibitions that they wish to visit. This museum is a must for those interested in art as it features diverse collections, whether modern or classical, which change over time.
Tokyo tower was built in 1958 and is an iconic symbol of Tokyo. It measures 333 meters and has a look similar to Eiffel tower but with a red and white look. It is now surpassed in height by Sky Tree (634m) but offers a different perspective on the city that makes it entirely worth visiting. The observation deck offers a superb view of Tokyo’s city-scape. One can also see very well the Zojo-ji temple located nearby.
Several places in Tokyo offer nice panoramic views of the city like Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower, Roppongi Hills, etc. But there’s no need to line up into those buildings to enjoy a nice scenery of Tokyo. The north-western coast of Odaiba island offers a fantastic viewpoint on the bay of Tokyo as well as the iconic rainbow bridge.
Some of those photos were taken simply from the park along the coast, most of the night panorama of the bay and rainbow bridge was taken from the terrace at one of the many restaurants in the Aqua City shopping mall. Some of those are affordable and the view of the sun setting over Tokyo is priceless!
The Institute for Nature Study is a natural sanctuary located in the heart of Tokyo. Unlike other gardens in the metropolis, the park’s mission is to preserve the forest in its natural form — vegetation is allowed to grow freely as it would in the wildest regions of Japan. The institute will appeal either to those seeking a meditative experience in the peaceful forest or those interested in Japan’s indigenous plants.
Shiodome is a new business district of Tokyo with a very modern feeling. Skyscrapers of Shiodome host hotels, businesses and upscale restaurants. This is not an area of Tokyo especially catering to entertainment but can be nice to explore on your way to Hamarikyu Garden or before taking the Yurikamome train line on your way to Odaiba.
Odaiba is a large man-made island in Tokyo Bay. Since the 1990s, it is being developed as a major entertainment and shopping area with lardmarks such as the Fuji TV building, the Telecom Center Building, Tokyo Big Sight and a large Gundam replica. All of those give a rather futuristic look to Odaiba. From the island, one can also see very well the iconic Rainbow Bridge. The island can be reached by the Yurikamome Train Line which actually crosses the famous bridge.
Roppongi Hills is a building complex that caters all your needs, from lodging to restaurants and entertainment. The main tower, Mori Tower, is one of the tallest skyscraper in the city and offers a fantastic view of Tokyo from the observation deck.