Downtown: The Tokyo Wards & Districts 4

Shinjuku

The Shinjuku ward is world-famous for the busiest train station in the world and basically having pretty much anything cool you want to see in Tokyo.

From the crazy labyrinth of a train station to the absolutely insane amount of eats, and everything in between, you could spend days just in Shinjuku and not waste your time.

Shinjuku is home to the world-renowned Kabukicho and Golden Gai areas.

Kabukicho

Kabukicho is the largest red-light district in Tokyo. A compact area packed with not only host and hostess bars, nightclubs, and izakaya — but also amazing dining experiences too. 

Golden Gai

Golden Gai is a maze of tiny alleys that transform into stand-up bars, izakaya, cafes, live music, and the awesome bustle of people shuffling through the tiny corridors. 

Taito

The Taito ward is another you may not have heard of. Heck, I hardly hear that name used. But Taito is home to the famous Asakusa area with the Senso-Ji Temple and Ueno Park. 

Taito is absolutely loaded with a ton to see and do like parks, temples, street food, cafes, upscale and downscale restaurants, and more. 

Asakusa

Asakusa is a tourist mecca. The powerful Senso-Ji Temple is here with its high walls, giant lantern gated entrance, and dozens of street vendors selling interesting Japanese trinkets and delicious street food.

Ueno

Ueno is home to beautiful parks, arts and entertainment, events, and of course, the Ueno Park — which contains the Ueno Zoo, insane cherry blossom festivals, incredible winter illuminations, and spacious green area to relax.

Plus Ameyoko Street where you can get a glimpse at a street market that started out of WWII. 

Toshima

The Toshima ward is actually one of the big central wards in downtown Tokyo, but I don’t hear people talk about it much. At least, not directly. 

The most popular areas inside Toshima are Ikebukuro and Sugamo. Those are what you’ll hear about.

Ikebukuro

Ikebukuro is this crazy area where the highway system fuses all together into an area packed with a ton to see and do like a planetarium, aquarium, giant shopping malls, themed kids game centers — packed into the giant Sunshine City Mall

And there are event spaces for live music, ruddy izakaya, and nightlife… pretty much everything.

Sugamo

Sugamo is really interesting. It’s nicknamed the “Harajuku for old ladies.” I guess that’s because it has shops specializing in older style fashion and kimonos. But that’s not the interesting thing. 

Sugamo has this weird tradition. When you visit the main temple there is a white, padded, tuft of fur in a box. It is said to mimic a duck’s butt — and patting it brings health and good luck.

I told you it was weird, but it’s interesting at the same time, right?


Next Page: Wrapping up the Wards & Districts