JAPAN – A day in West Tokyo: Skyscrapers & temples

Tokyo is a huge city which cannot be explored in a day but it will also not take a week. One day should be spend in the Western part. I will take you to temples and skyscrapers in West Tokyo. This trip to Tokyo was for business but my son (9 years) joined me there and also to Macau and Hong Kong. We explored the city together which was due time as during my earlier trip to Tokyo I did not have much time. Join me on a journey through West Tokyo!

Meiji Shrine in Tokyo

As we arrived late afternoon and went to bed early we were fresh and without jetlag in the morning. My son had never been overseas before and the first day started with a small culture shock when we took the metro to Omotesando Station where the luxury shopping street starts. When we came out of the metro the whole crossing was just full of people walking (see photo above). My son was a bit overwhelmed but soon he blended in with his blonde hair. We walked down Omotesando Street towards Takeshita Dori Street which is a nice street full of art, musicians and other street artist. Visit it during the weekend like we did, and you will enjoy it for sure! After some snacks we continued towards the Harajuku Gate which is the entrance to the Yoyogi Park where the Meiji Shrine is located.

 

The Meiji Shrine in West Tokyo is in Yoyogi Park. The shrine is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. After his death in 1912 the shrine was erected as a national monument. When you enter you will pass under a huge Torii gate leading to the complex. Along the path you find a huge wall with many sake barrels which can be turned. All the trees in the park are planted by the people of Tokyo when the shrine was erected. Now it is a pleasant park to walk around and have a pick nick on one of the many fields. When we visited there was a ceremony going on at the complex which was very interesting to see. To be honest I do not know what kind of ceremony, but I think it was a wedding. We visit the Treasury Museum after the temple complex and continued by foot to the Shibuya Metro Station.

Wandering around West Tokyo

We left the Meiji Shrine in West Tokyo through the same gate as we entered and walked passed the National Stadium called Yoyogi Stadium. We wandered through the streets until we arrived at the Spanish Slope. Here it was time for some refreshment and after that we continued to the statue of the Hachiko dog. This dog became famous as it kept being loyal to its boss even after his death. At the Shibuya Station we took the metro towards the Shingjuku Station where we visited a few more places until it was dinner time.

 

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

The area around the Shinjuku Station is home to the skyscraper district but first we visited the nearby Hanazono Shrine. This shrine dates back to the middle of the 17th century and is a very important one in Japanese history. If you own your own business this is a place to make some prayers as it is said your business will run well then!

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is the building of the government that rules the Tokyo greater area. It consists of three buildings of which the 48-stories tall building is of most interest as it can be visited for free. At the 45th floor you will find a beautiful view over Tokyo. It is a modern building build in 1990 and like the Skytree worth to go up for the view.

 

Not far from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is the Japanese Swords Museum. This was our last stop in the late afternoon just before it closed. It’s located in a residential area and a bit difficult to find but the taxi managed. They have beautiful swords from ancient to modern times. When my son was finished checking out the swords out we continued to have a very special meal. This evening we would eat fugu fish, whale soup and raw lobster. Tokyo is the perfect place to eat such food which outside of Japan is very difficult to get.

The next day we continued to Hong Kong with a side trip to Macau. Together with the rest of the family we would return a few years later to do a 2-week Japan road trip which also included Tokyo. Tokyo is a great city to spend some time.

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Did you visit West Tokyo too or do you have questions? Please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Love to hear from you!

Further reading

Sometimes it’s impossible to cover every single place of interest, activities, food, and others that might be relevant. In the below list you find a list of relevant links with further information which I have carefully curated. These will help plan your trip even better.
 
  • If you have more time in Tokyo, then there is much more to do! Check for example these 25 things to do in Tokyo if you need inspiration.

Gallery West Tokyo

Check the gallery for more photos taken during this trip. If you like to use any photo for commercial, private or editorial use please contact first for permission and/or pricing.