Tokyo: A Guide for Creatives

This August, I traveled to Japan for the second time. Once more, I fell in love with Tokyo. For me, the city is futuristic and almost unbelievable. It’s the biggest city in the world and has a larger population than my entire country! I only spent a few days there, but I picked out my favorite locations to share. 

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
As soon as we arrived in Japan, we visited Shinjuku. Here, you can find a metropolitan government building. It doesn’t sound very interesting, but you can take an elevator to the 45th floor and visit the observation decks. There's one in the left tower and one in the right. The view here is amazing. You can also take great pictures through the large windows and it reminds you of how big the city actually is. Good thing: entrance is free!

Tip: next to the metropolitan government building is the NS building. This building is smaller and the view isn’t as good, but what’s interesting here is the sky elevator and bridge. The elevator's exterior is made of glass so you can look outside while you rise to the 30th floor! At this point, you can walk to the other side of the building using the sky bridge. Entrance for this one is free too, and there aren’t as many tourists as there are in the government building.

TOP Museum
The Tokyo Photographic Art Museum was a very wonderful and emotional experience for me. I visited the Araki Nobuyoshi exhibition, called Sentimental Journey. It’s about his wife (and their cat) and her death. Essentially, a talented photographer breaks the rules of photography and captures love and loss. The exhibition ends in September, but I’m sure the museum’s other exhibitions are great as well. Oh, and if you don’t know Araki Nobuyoshi, please check out his work. It’s breathtaking.

Spoiler: as if it wasn’t emotional enough already, the cat dies too. You will cry.

The Shibuya crossing is a very popular tourist spot, and I totally understand why. The pictures are great, but the feeling this place gives me is incredible. I recommend going when it’s getting dark. The lights and nightlife atmosphere combined with hundreds of people, the sounds of street musicians and people yelling about whatever they’re trying to sell-- it all gives me a certain feeling. It’s very unique, it makes me feel alive. It's an intense kind of sonder: you start to think about how every single person you see has a life and a family and wonder where they are going and how they are feeling. 

Tip: Shibuya is a nice place for shopping, too! The largest Tokyu Hands store is located in Shibuya. They describe themselves as a “creative life store.” You can buy a ton of art supplies here, as well as stationery, toys, and clothes. It’s a great place for buying souvenirs! 

Visit the beach! Swimming isn’t allowed, but I still really enjoyed visiting the seaside. There’s not much to do here, besides shopping and admiring the Statue of Liberty replica or having a picnic on the beach. What I love about Tokyo is that different parts of the city give off completely different feelings, especially Odaiba. It’s very, very, very different from its counterparts.

Harajuku, a district in Shibuya, is known as the home of Japanese fashion  If you’re into Lolita or other styles of Japanese fashion, this city is definitely a must. Takeshita Street, the main street, is very crowded, but there are also a lot of smaller streets where you can walk peacefully. Next to the Harajuku station is the Meiji shrine. On Sundays, Tokyo’s alternative youth meets up here in crazy clothes and hairstyles. Sundays are more crowded than usual and also more impressive. If you want to shop here, make sure you do some research beforehand. Some stores are hard to find and there are a lot of secondhand and vintage stores specializing in specific clothing styles.

Tip: If you’re a street photographer, Harajuku is a very nice place to take pictures. The people are very friendly and will love to pose for your picture. Just ask them nicely! 

See you soon, Tokyo!

By Esther Vdb

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