Nagatoro is a town in Saitama Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo, Japan. It’s known for the Nagatoro River, with its white-water rapids. In the south, the Saitama Museum of Natural History has dinosaur bones found in the region. At the foot of nearby Mt. Hodosan is the ornate Hodosan Shrine. At the mountain’s summit is the Nagatoro Hodosan Wintersweet Garden, with its sprawling grove of plum trees and seasonal flowers.
Nagatoro is a popular spot for day trippers from Tokyo looking for river boat cruises, wild water sports and hiking in largely unspoiled nature. River cruise on the Arakawa River is one of the most popular activities in Nagatoro.
The whole town of Nagatoro has been designated a prefectural nature park and preserve.
River boating is serious business in Nagatoro.The river cruises are done by tour boats carrying about 20 passengers and steered by two men with long poles. They travel along high rock walls and through some excitingly rough waters.
At the end of the trip down river, the passengers are brought back to central Nagatoro by bus. The boats are lifted from the river by crane and transported back to their starting point by truck. Those boats are built to go down river, they can’t make the trip back on their own.
Tickets: Available both in front of the train station and at the boarding point. Various tours are on offer. Course A and B are 1600 yen per adult, children (3 – 12 years old) 800 yen. Course C is 3000 yen per adult and 1400 yen per child.
Access Take a limited express along the Seibu Ikebukuro Line from Ikebukuro Station in Tokyo to Seibu-Chichibu Station, then take a short walk to Ohanabatake Station and take the Chichibu Railway to Nagatoro (about 2 hours).
Jiyugaoka is a stylish district of lifestyle stores and appealing eateries. Get a sense of sophisticated everyday residential life in Tokyo. Named after a local school known for its liberal education, Jiyugaoka — literally “Freedom Hill”. It currently ranks as one of the most desirable places to live in Tokyo.
Jiyugaoka is Known for its quaint and fashionable vibe, sweet shops and boutiques,trendy cafes and narrow paths that make you feel as if you’ve transported yourself to the streets of Europe’s most fashionable cities — and yet, it carefully incorporates an authentic Japanese touch. It’s considered to be one of the more appealing areas in Tokyo. Locals typically categorize it as an “oshare na machi” which means stylish town, along with other areas such as Aoyama, Daikanyama and others.
Today, Jiyūgaoka tends to attract a lot of women as there are a lot of cute cafes, sweets shops and boutiques aimed at a middle-upper-middle class lifestyle. Buildings seemingly European-inspired can be found in the area, further increasing its appeal as a little escape from “typical Tokyo”. One of the areas mimics Venice
The Moominvalley Park (ムーミンバレーパーク) is a theme park about the Moomin characters created by Finnish author and artist Tove Jansson. Opened in March 2019 about 40 kilometers northwest of Tokyo in Saitama Prefecture.The original Moomin characters were created in a series of books and newspaper comic strips by Swedish-speaking Finnish writer, painter and illustrator Tove Jansson (1914-2001).
The first book in the series, The Moomins and the Great Flood, published in Finland in 1945, introduced the central characters: Moomintroll, Moominpappa and Moominmama, all white and vaguely hippopotamus-like creatures, living in a fictional place named Moomin Valley.
Moomin House – The main attraction
The main attraction is set a three-floor Moomin house, pulled straight from the pages of Jansson’s drawings. Replete with a cellar pantry, living room, dining room, bedrooms and even the author’s study in the attic—the experience is focused on the lives and history of the Moomins, as well the storied life of the artist herself. There is an extra fee of ¥1,000 to enter.
The Moomin valley Park combines both nature and entertainment about how the Moomins live in harmony with their environment. The park is modeled after the Moomin world and consists of four zones along the shores of a lake: the Welcome Cove at the entrance, the Moomin valley with most of the main attractions, the Kokemus exhibition facility, and the forested Lonely Mountain.
Access & Hours Opening Times
Metsä Village: daily from 10 am to 9 pm, admission is free.
Moomin Valley Park: daily from 10 am to 8 pm, last admission at 7 pm.
Admission for Moomin Valley Park: Adults (13 years and older) 1,500 yen, children below age 13 1,000 yen, small children (age 0 to 3) free.
Hokoku-ji is a Zen temple that was established 700 years ago. This Zen temple famous for its bamboo garden, giving it the nickname of Take-dera, or “Bamboo Temple.” It has been carefully maintained over a long period of time and the lush bamboo grove will take your breath away. Drink some matcha tea during a tea ceremony and take some time to quietly view the forest.
The Bamboo Temple with a beautiful bamboo grove
The bamboo grove is Hokokuji’s most famous attraction and can be found behind the main hall. The beautiful bamboo grove was originally a Buddhist training area, At the end of the 12th century, political rule by the military class took root in Kamakura and lasted until 1333. In the Kanto region at Kamakura, which was the capital city longer than Tokyo, even now retains many historical buildings giving an air of the old capital. In the background of those times, Hokoku-ji is a Zen temple belonging to the Kencho-ji school of the Rinzai sect that was built in 1334, after the demise of the Kamakura shogunate. Also known as the Bamboo Temple, it has attracted many tourists on weekends as a famous place with a beautiful bamboo garden forest.
The best time to visit is either early in the morning, to avoid the crowds, or on a sunny day to see the rays of sunlight magically beaming through the bamboo.The large grove is amazing with 2000 splendidly maintained bamboo stalks soaring up into the sky. If you walk on the narrow path along the forest, you’ll forget the hustle and bustle of the city through the chirping of small birds and the scent of the bamboo, and there will be a heartfelt serenity.
Hokokuji’s Bell Tower
Located to the left of the main hall is a unique-looking bell tower with a simple thatched straw roof. The quaint bell tower harks back to the the original thatched roof of the main hall; it was destroyed by the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923.
There is a teahouse in the bamboo grove where you can enjoy a cup of matcha tea while leisurely looking at the garden. You will want to savor the tea as it is served on a tray made in the Kamakura-bori style, a type of traditional handicraft of Kamakura as you also enjoy it with your eyes.
Info Opening hours: 09:00 – 16:00
Closing days: December 29 – January 3
Free for temple, 200 yen for bamboo groves, 500 yen for bamboo groves plus matcha (Japanese green tea)
Access From Kamakura station, take bus no. 23, 24 or 36 towards Jomyoji (10 mins, 200 yen), and alight at Jomyoji bus stop. Hokokuji is then just about 2 minutes away on foot. Alternatively, you can walk from Kamakura station, which should take less than 30 minutes.
Kamakura (鎌倉) is a coastal town in Kanagawa Prefecture, less than an hour south of Tokyo. It is a small city and a very popular tourist destination. Sometimes called the Kyoto of Eastern Japan, Kamakura offers numerous temples, shrines and other historical monuments. In addition, Kamakura’s sand beaches attract large crowds during the summer months.
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is a 10 to 15 minute walk from Kamakura Station East Exit. Founded in 1063, this is the most visited and important Shinto shrine in Kamakura. Every year, more than 2 million people visit here for the first shrine visit of the new year.
Hokokuji Temple is famous for its spectacular bamboo garden and a resting place where you can enjoy Matcha green tea and a sweet Japanese snack. To Hokokuji Temple from Kamakura station, it takes 40 minutes on foot, 7 minutes by taxi or 10 minutes by bus. If you want to take a bus, take a bus number 鎌23, 鎌24, or 鎌36, and get off at Jomyoji bus stop.
Kotokuin Temple is known for the Great Buddha, which is a symbol of Kamakura City.
The Great Buddha in Kotokuin Temple was constructed in 1252, and is 11.31 meters (13.35 meters including the base) in height and about 121 tons in weight. Close to the Kotokuin Temple stands Hase Temple. Hase Temple is famous for its garden full of seasonal flowers all year round and the biggest Kannon statues in Japan. To get to Kotokuin Temple and Hase Temple, take a local train from Kamakura station and get off at Hase station.
Yokohama Cosmo World (よこはまコスモワールド, Yokohama Kosumo Wārudo) is a theme park in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. It contains the Cosmo Clock 21, formerly the tallest Ferris wheel in the world. It is a family friendly amusement park in the heart of Minato Mirai – a scenic spot during the day and romantic at night. Admission is free to enter and customers pay by attractions or rides via ticket vending machines located throughout the park. Prices range from 300 – 700 yen depending on the attraction or ride. Please note kindergarten aged kids and younger must be accompanied by an adult.
The park is divided into three zones
Kids Carnival Zone
The Kids Carnival Zone is great for young kids and toddlers. They have games, train and car rides, a beautiful two level merry-go-round and cycle monorail that gives you a birds eye view of the area.Here you will find the Ocean Swinger, rideable robot panda cars, a miniature shinkansen ride, a merry-go-round, bumper cars, and a cycle monorail.
Burano Street Zone
The colorful Burano Street Zone is named after a picturesque fishing village in northern Italy. Here you can find the Family Banana Coaster, take a spin on the Galaxy or Super Planet rides, get lost in a hall of mirrors, play on the games machines, or explore a haunted mansion.It is set up like a small, colorful town with an arcade, haunted house, ice world where one can experience the extreme cold, food stalls, small coasters, caricature artists and more.
Wonder Amuse Zone
Wonder Amuse Zone, located underneath the large Ferris Wheel, caters to young and young at heart adults. It is the main area of the theme park and has the most thrilling rides including the “Diving Coaster – Vanish!” which is just like a regular roller coaster until it suddenly plunges through and beneath a pool of water creating a gigantic splash.This section also features a virtual reality ride, a 360° 3D theater, a games arcade, fairground stall type games, and a food court. In the food court you can buy typical theme park fare such as hot dogs, French fries, crepes, and ice creams.
Yokohama Cosmoworld is dominated by a giant Ferris wheel, called Cosmo Clock 21, which has a large digital clock at its center. Standing 112.5 meters high with a 100 meter diameter, this was the world’s tallest Ferris wheel until 1992, and it still holds the record as the world’s biggest Ferris wheel with a clock. Cosmo Clock 21 is one of the characteristic features of the Yokohama Bay skyline and is especially beautiful at night when it is illuminated with an LED light show of constantly changing colors.
Yokohama Cosmo World Amusement Park Details
Address: 2-8-1 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture Cost: Entrance is free, pay as you ride Open hours: Kids` zone 11:00-19:00; Mon – Fri 11:00-20:00; until 22:00 on Sat, Sun & Special Holidays. Closed on Thursday. *Please see Calendar for special closures. Access: About 10 minutes on foot from JR Negishi Line · Municipal Subway “Sakuragicho Station”; About 2 minutes on foot from Minatomirai Line “Minato Mirai Station” Website: http://cosmoworld.jp/ss
The Tokyo Skytree (東京スカイツリー) is a television broadcasting tower and landmark of Tokyo. It is the centerpiece of the Tokyo Skytree Town in the Sumida City Ward, not far away from Asakusa. With a height of 634 meters (634 can be read as “Musashi”, a historic name of the Tokyo Region), it is the tallest structure in Japan and the second tallest in the world at the time of its completion. A large shopping complex with an aquarium is located at its base.
Getting to Tokyo Skytree is straightforward. It is located at Tokyo Skytree Station on the Tobu Isesaki Line, and Oshiage Station on the Asakusa Subway Line, Hanzomon Subway Line, and Keisei Oshiage Line. Alternatively, it is about a 20-minute walk across the Sumida River from Asakusa.The Tokyo Skytree tower entrance is on the 4th floor of the Tokyo Skytree Town shopping mall. Tokyo Skytree tickets and ticket pickup is at the 4th floor west entrance.
Prices & How to Buy Tokyo Skytree Tickets
A basic adult ticket for Tokyo Skytree that you buy on the day costs ¥2,100 on weekdays and ¥2,300 on holidays, and gives you access to the first of two observation areas, the Tembo Deck. At 350m, this gives you an awesome view over the city—and all the way to Mount Fuji on clear days. For an extra ¥1,000 (¥1,100 on holidays), you can ascend another 100 meters to the Tembo Galleria. Here’s the first way to save money—make do with the 350m deck. The views from the higher one aren’t much different.
Food and souvenirs at Skytree
Fine dining in the sky at 634 feet up. Musashi (634) is a beautiful restaurant that makes sure your meal is as memorable as the trip you made to get there.TOKYO SKYTREE Official Shops are located on 1F, 5F, and the Tembo Deck Floor 345. These shops offer a wide selection of fine goods that will make beautiful mementos of your TOKYO SKYTREE visit.
Let your heart drop as your feet stay planted on this glass floor that lets you look straight down the side of SkyTree.
The Tembo Galleria at 450 Meters
Tokyo Skytree’s Tembo Galleria is a glass corridor and offers a view that is even more magnificent than the one on floor 350. It’s one of Tokyo’s most popular sightseeing spots and really lets you take in the mega-metropolis of Tokyo to the fullest. Shaped like a sloped spiral, the Tembo Galleria will make you feel like you’re walking on air!
The View from Tembo Gallery
As the Tembo Galleria is 100 meters higher than the Observation Deck, you can see even further into the distance. It’s an excellent photo spot that makes for great memories, so take your time and enjoy the stroll. Please note that to go to Tembo Skydeck, you’ll ride an elevator to Floor 445, where another elevator will take you up to Floor 450. To go back, you’ll be taken to Floor 345, where you can return to Floor 350.
Visiting one of observatories in Tokyo is a must-do among tourists since the overlook view of the city is absolutely breathtaking especially at night. The reason why Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is recommended is because its observation decks (there are two of them) on 45th floor, 202 m above the sea level are total free to enter while most of the observatories in Tokyo require an admission fee.
Moreover, the building is located in a short distance from the west gate of Shinjuku Station and the surrounding area is well known for skyscrapers. It’s a great spot to hang around at night along with your visit to Izakaya Alleys or Robot Restaurants which are also located in Shinjuku area.
Enjoy commanding views of downtown Tokyo from a height of 202 meters. The observatories are places for visitors to deepen their understanding and interest in Tokyo and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s (TMG) policies while enjoying an amazing view.
While you look over the city, we would like you to think about the many possibilities that await Tokyo in the future.
There are 2 observatories: the north observatory and the south observatory. To access the observatories, please take the Observatory Elevator from the 1st Floor of Main Building No. 1.
Walking around Tokyo, you might see kadomatsu and shimekazari adorning shops, hotels, and other establishments. They’re not just for businesses; they’re used as home ornaments as well.
Kadomatsu Kadomatsu, an ornament that is placed at an entrance, consists of three bamboo shoots of different lengths (symbolizing prosperity), pine (symbolizing longevity), and plum branches (symbolizing steadfastness). They’re said to be the temporary dwelling places of gods who visit to bless humans, and are usually burned after January 15th.
Shimekazari Shimekazari are hung above doors, also to invite and welcome gods of good fortune and ward off evil spirits. They consist of shimenawa (a sacred straw rope), pine, and a bitter orange (a symbol of posterity), among others.
Kagami mochi There’s also an offering to the gods called kagami mochi, two round rice cakes stacked one on top of the other and topped with an orange, which is placed on the household Shinto altar.
Hagoita Other lucky New Year items are hagoita (a wooden paddle used to play a badminton-like game called hanetsuki, though elaborately designed ones are purely ornamental) to hit and drive away bad luck, and hamaya (an arrow that destroys evil spirits), which is usually only sold in shrines during the first three days of the New Year. If you want to get a hagoita for the New Year, Sensoji Temple in Asakusa holds an annual hagoita market, which takes place every year in December.
Kadomatsu If you’re into crafting, some parks occasionally have crafting workshops, in which you can learn to make your own kadomatsu and/or other decorations.
2. On the 31st, watch Kouhaku Uta Gassen
Watching this long-running show, which started in 1959, has become a New Year’s Eve tradition for many Japanese families. Broadcast on the public TV channel NHK from around 7:15 pm until 11:45 pm, this 4.5-hour-long program involves a musical battle (in fact, the title literally translates to “Red-and-White Song Battle”) between two teams consisting of the year’s most popular and commercially successful artists. The artists are invited by NHK, so to be on the show is considered an honor.
3. Eat toshikoshi soba, ozoni and osechi ryori
The New Year’s celebration brings forth a festive time. Many countries and cultures have their own traditions for celebrating, and Japan is no exception. One of the ways that people celebrate the New Year’s is through food.Ushering in good fortune is the rationale behind many Japanese New Year traditions, so it’s not surprising that some dishes are designated as luck-bringing ones.
Toshikoshi soba (literally “year-crossing” buckwheat noodles), are served hot on New Year’s Eve to symbolize the cutting off of the year’s misfortunes, as well as wishes for good luck and long life.Meanwhile, ozoni (a savory soup with mochi), and osechi ryori (an encompassing term for dishes or food items traditionally eaten during the New Year due to symbolic value) are eaten during New Year.
4.Joya no kane: Ring out the old year
Joya-no-Kane is the custom of ringing a temple bell on New Year’s Eve in Japan. Practiced throughout the country, priests and temple visitors ring this symbolic bell 108 times to usher in the New Year. Why 108 times? In Buddhism, 108 is the number of earthly desires that cause humans suffering, and joya no kane is supposed to purify humans’ minds and souls for the year ahead.In Tokyo, the temples that are famous for this ceremony are Zojoji near Tokyo Tower and Asakusa’s Sensoji Temple. Both get extremely crowded, so get there early!
5. Nengajō — New Year’s postcards
Every year Japanese households receive an average of 50–100 nengajō or New Year’s cards, which are delivered on January 1. The cards usually feature a picture of the year’s eto (zodiacal animal). Families and businesses still send nengajō; think of it as the Japanese equivalent of the holiday greeting card.They come in beautiful and/or cute designs, and the ones sold by Japan Post even come with a numerical combination as part of a lottery.
6.Hatsuhinode, the first sunrise
Hatsuhinode means the first sunrise of the year in Japan. It is a happy event for Japanese because Toshigami who is a god of the New Year come with it. People pray huge harvest and perfect health over the year in the past. Nowadays, they pray not only harvest and health but also various wishes. This custom started since Meiji period(1868-1912).
Goraiko means also seeing a sunrise for getting benefit, but it is different from Hatsuhinode in climbing a mountain or not. It means seeing a sunrise on high mountain, and is used not only the first sunrise of the year. It is said that the higher a mountain is, the more benefit are gotten. Therefore, it is the happiest sunrise that to see the first sunrise of the year on high mountain.
7.Hatsumōde: Make your first shrine or temple visit of the year
Hatsumode is the Japanese tradition of visiting shrine or temple for the first time in the New Year. On this occasion, people pray in the hopes of having a good year ahead. The act of visiting a shrine or temple for prayer is called sanpai in Japanese.
8. Fukubukuro and New Year sales in Japan: Shop till you drop
fukubukuro (福袋), are bags that can be purchased in almost any kind of shop in Japan within the first week of the new year. These bags contain items from the shop or brand that will usually, in total, be worth around 3 or 4 times more than the original cost of the bag. The only catch is that the contents of the bag are normally randomly chosen and the buyer doesn’t know exactly what he/she is going to get. A lot of lucky bags will reveal one or two items the bag contains as sort of a “hint,” but they won’t tell you exactly what you’ll get.
Starting from January 2nd or 3rd, shops in Japan will hold huge New Year sales. These sales usually last a week or so, but popular brands’ lucky bags will likely sell out within the first or second day.
The Tokyo Tower (東京タワー, Tōkyō tawā, officially called 日本電波塔 Nippon denpatō “Japan Radio Tower”) is a communications and observation tower in the Shiba-koen district of Minato, Tokyo, Japan, built in 1958. At 332.9 meters (1,092 ft), it is the second-tallest structure in Japan. The structure is an Eiffel Tower-inspired lattice tower that is painted white and international orange to comply with air safety regulations.
The tower’s main sources of income are tourism and antenna leasing. Over 150 million people have visited the tower. FootTown, a four-story building directly under the tower, houses museums, restaurants, and shops. Departing from there, guests can visit two observation decks. The two-story Main Deck (formerly known as the Main Observatory) is at 150 meters (490 ft), while the smaller Top Deck (formerly known as the “Special Observatory”) reaches a height of 249.6 meters (819 ft). The names were changed following renovation of the top deck in 2018.The tower is repainted every five years, taking a year to complete the process.
You can choose to take the elevator or walk up 600 steps to the main deck, located 150 meters above the ground. If you are lucky, on sunny days you can even catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji rising in the distance. If you are not afraid of heights, try standing on the glass floor sections and look directly down to the ground—almost 145 meters under your feet. The very top deck— up at 250 meters— was renovated in early 2018.
The Tokyo Tower top deck provides an even more spectacular experience., you can enjoy a clear panoramic view of iconic landmarks such as the Skytree and Mt Fuji. Since it’s renovations were completed, visitors can expect a unique and futuristic vibe when they enter the top deck, artistic mirrors and LED lights greatly enhance the sightseeing experience.
Tokyo Tower at night is especially beautiful, the whole tower lights up and sometimes even changes colors depending on the occasion! Do not miss out on seeing the magical illumination at Tokyo, the sight of the whole metropolis suddenly lighting up in a wide array of colors will leave you breathless!
Tokyo Tower Price of tickets:
There are two tickets that visitors can choose from, I highly recommend getting the full Tokyo Tower observation deck tickets to visit both the main and top deck, as you’d be able to get a fully guided tour of the tower and it will give you the most out of your experience here.
Main deck ticket (150m):
This ticket allows visitors to go up to the main deck, if you wish to go to the top deck afterwards, you will have to buy another ticket. 900 Yen (Adults) / 500 Yen (Children from Junior Highschool to Primary School) / 400 Yen (4 Years old and above)
Top deck and main deck (150m and 250m) tour:
This ticket includes a full, multilingual tour that will allow you to skip waiting in the lines and go straight up the tower on a glass elevator. Simply present the QR code that you will receive after purchasing a ticket and you’re good to go!
Address : 4-2-8 Shibakoen, Minato-ku, Tokyo-to
Opening Hours 9:00 a.m – 23:00 p.m
Visit Foot Town
Want to do a little bit of shopping after visiting Tokyo Tower? Then Foot Town is the place. Located directly beneath the tower, there is an aquarium which houses over 900 variety of rare fish, various souvenir stores, as well as cafes and restaurants for you to dine in.
One Piece theme park
The One Piece theme park is a permanent addition to Tokyo Tower, here fans or newcomers of One Piece can see exclusive live action show “Phantom” which can only be seen here. There is also the gallery that displays original artworks of Oda Eiichiro, the author of One Piece.
Address Tokyo Tower Foot Town, 4-2-8 Shiba-koen, Minato-ku, Tokyo Opening hours 10:00 – 22:00 (final admission: 21:00) Ticket fees Same-day ticket: 3,200 Yen (Adult), 2,700 Yen (13-18 y/o) , 1,600 Yen (4-12 y/o)
Advanced ticket: 3,000 Yen (Adult), 2,600 Yen (13-18 y/o), 1,500 Yen (4-12 y/o)