Japan Travel

Japan Day 5: Shinkansen To Tokyo, Asakusa, Imperial Gardens, And Shibuya

Japan Day 5: Shinkansen To Tokyo, Asakusa, Imperial Gardens, And Shibuya

See My Full Itinerary For 10 Days In Japan


After spending our first four days in Japan traveling in and around Kyoto, Julia and I took a Shinkansen east to Tokyo. Traveling by bullet train makes the entire country of Japan accessible. The 320 mile journey only took 2:30, and gave us spectacular views of Mt. Fuji. We arrived to Tokyo Station just after 9:00 and walked to our hotel to drop off our bags. We wanted to get an early start and get some sightseeing in, as we had many day trips outside of Tokyo planned for the days that would follow. We were fortunate in that our hotel was located just outside of the Kyobashi Metro station. We purchased a day pass for unlimited rides and made our way towards Asakusa.


Japan Tokyo Asakusa Shinkansen Shibuya Imperial Gardens
Mt. Fuji From The Shinkansen
Japan Tokyo Asakusa Shinkansen Shibuya Imperial Gardens
Tokyo Metro

Our first stop in Tokyo was in Asakusa to see Sensoji, a 7th century Buddhist temple. To get to Sensoji we walked through the crowded shopping alley called Nakamise. There were a ton of street food vendors and souvenir type shops along the way. I’m not a huge fan of massive crowds and swarms of people, but somehow, this river of humans didn’t feel so bad.


Japan Tokyo Asakusa Shinkansen Shibuya Imperial Gardens
Nakamise
Japan Tokyo Asakusa Shinkansen Shibuya Imperial Gardens
Heading Towards Sensoji To Kaminarimon Gate

After walking through Nakamise, we approached the Kaminarimon Gate that leads to Sensoji Temple. The temple itself sits tall just on the other side of the gate alongside a pagoda. All of the buildings on this site are post war reconstructions.


Japan Tokyo Asakusa Shinkansen Shibuya Imperial Gardens
Pagoda
Japan Tokyo Asakusa Shinkansen Shibuya Imperial Gardens
Walking In
Japan Tokyo Asakusa Shinkansen Shibuya Imperial Gardens
A Very Crowded Sensoji

The Tokyo Skytree is a short 15 minute walk from Asakusa, so Julia and I made the trip over to find a place for lunch. The Skytree is a icon over the Tokyo skyline at 634 meters tall. It’s base is actually a large shopping mall with restaurants and an aquarium. We found a nice place to eat and then made our way back to the Metro towards the Imperial Palace.

The inner grounds of the Tokyo Imperial Palace are not open to the public, so we walked around the Eastern Gardens of the palace which is open to the public. The location of the Imperial Palace is the former grounds of the Edo Castle, where the Tokugawa Shogun ruled from 1603 to 1867. The Eastern Gardens was the location of the inner defense walls and moats. We enjoyed the history of the complex and also the early blooms of cherry blossoms scattered around the garden.


Japan Tokyo Asakusa Shinkansen Shibuya Imperial Gardens
Defense Tower View Of The Grounds
Japan Tokyo Asakusa Shinkansen Shibuya Imperial Gardens
Blossoms
Japan Tokyo Asakusa Shinkansen Shibuya Imperial Gardens
Blossoms Pt II

After enjoying the blossoms of the Imperial Gardens, Julia and I made our way back to our hotel to check in and grab some dinner. We wanted to make it a quick stop though, as we wanted to get one more site in for the day, and were quickly back on the Metro to take in Shibuya at night. Tokyo is made up of 23 districts, and Shibuya is one of the most well known as it houses a very popular shopping and entertainment district located just outside of the Shibuya train station. The most iconic site of Shibuya is the large crosswalk by the Hachiko exit. This crossing is said to be one of the worlds busiest. Not a surprise when you consider that Shibuya station gets an average of 2.4 million visitors a day! At night, Shibuya comes alive with neon lights, illuminating video screens, and the hustle and bustle of youth culture come alive. When I think of Tokyo, my mind conjures up visions of Shibuya.

Julia and I spent quite a bit of time walking around Shibuya, but made our way back to the hotel before it got too late. We had an early wake up waiting for us, with our sixth day in Japan taking us to Kamakura.


Japan Tokyo Asakusa Shinkansen Shibuya Imperial Gardens
Shibuya At Night
Japan Tokyo Asakusa Shinkansen Shibuya Imperial Gardens
Crosswalk
Japan Tokyo Asakusa Shinkansen Shibuya Imperial Gardens
Along These Crowded Streets

I'm Drew, creator of Trail to Peak. Trail to Peak brings content to life on the web through breath-taking photography and captivating video. I launched Trail to Peak in 2014 with a goal to inspire readers to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. I have traveled to 19 countries, walked Camino de Santiago, hiked the John Muir Trail, trekked through the Andes of Peru, and am constantly seeking new adventures in my home state of California. Joining me on my weekly adventures is my partner, Julia, our son, Owen, and our two goldendoodles, Isla and Lilly.

9 comments on “Japan Day 5: Shinkansen To Tokyo, Asakusa, Imperial Gardens, And Shibuya

  1. “Massive crowds and swarms of people” explains why Japan hasn’t been too high on my bucket list, but everything you write about your trip does pique my curiosity. Looking forward to reading about Day 6 and the rest of your trip!

    • This was one of those days that made it tough. Like you, I’m not a fan of huge crowds or lots of people…that’s why most of my posts come from isolated mountain peaks 🙂

      • I’m an isolated mountain peak guy myself 🙂 I’ll live in a medium-sized city, but it needs to be close to both mountains and the coast 🙂

  2. Asakusa was one of my favorite parts of Tokyo! Your photos brought back some great trip memories

  3. Britanica

    I noticed something I your pictures, some areas are seemingly thriving with life and people and other areas look almost deserted. Are you going at different times of the day or is this just how things go? I would imagine a lot of the crowded areas have to do with visitors. Really enjoying reading these 🙂

  4. The human stream on the streets could be suffocating but well as long as you had fun and made every moment count. Then I guess it’s worth it.

    How were you able to get in those shots, especially for the Nakamise with all these crowd?

    Great pictures as always. Looking forward to your other entries.

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