On the west side of Shinjuku, this little area reminded me of a district in ichijoji which has the same 'days gone by' feeling to it. This tiny narrow street and side streets is full of good places to find cheap beer and greasy or salty meat, most often pork or chicken. Only the adventurous would come here on a date, but it is a good place to go as a small group. Too many people, and you won't all fit in a single bar.
Tall people watch out though, there are some very low corrugated roofs to cut your head on.
Golden Gai (Landmarks & Historical Places / Shinjuku)
Many of these small bars have seating charges which they will only tell you about after you've finished. Going in for just one beer might not be as economical as you originally planned. Each bar has its own sort of theme or style as decided by the owner. There are foreigner friendly bars, and they are fairly obvious, what with their English signs out front. The most scenic way into the area is along a little diagonal pathway lined in trees and shrubs, which is completely unlike anything else in the kabukicho district. You can find the path next to the Mister Donut shop on the main drag in Shinjuku.
From Hachiko, cross the scramble to the north (parallel to the yamanote line tracks) and turn right. After going under the tracks and passing the pepper lunch, turn left. The street is really quite unlike anything else in Shibuya, with stacks of tiny bars in two story buildings. Some of the bars are so small they could only seat 4 people. The one I visited, was the third space for a crew of rock climbers. These bars all share the same outdoor toilets and work together to decorate their street during festivals. There is also a pretty good cold ramen noodle place in the B1 close to the main street.
This place would be a great place to have another much needed park in the city if it weren't reserved for the royal family. Of the 5 large green spaces in central Tokyo, 2 of them are off limits to common folk. From the outside, you can get a great look at the moat and walls that keep people out. The gates themselves are quite interesting to look at, and during cherry blossom season, the area of the palace gardens closest to Yasukuni shrine is absolutely stunning (and absolutely pack full of people trying to see the magnificent view)
I went for a walk around this majestic looking building in the spring one year. The central Tokyo government buildings have the highest security anywhere in Japan. In addition to police on every corner, there were motion detectors on the top of the fences, video cameras everywhere and police cruisers roaming around. Other than the quite memorable security, the building itself is architecturally quite interesting due to the shape of its roof. The classic architectural style of the columns is at a discord with the pyramid shaped roof. A unique building to be sure. They day I went, tours were not allowed inside (because it was a weekend.)
I went to the campus by bicycle on a random Wednesday afternoon, but there was absolutely nobody around. It was towards the end of semester, and a friend of mine said that perhaps the students just didn't feel like going that day. The empty campus with old brick buildings and big trees gave the place a really calm and peaceful feeling. There are actually 5 Todai university campuses around the city, so be sure to check their website to see which of the campuses you would like to visit.
I went here with my Architect friend on a day trip around Tokyo. The building was designed by the same architect who did some of the buildings for the Tokyo Olympics. The concrete walls form a cross shape at the top, but widen out to a larger space at the bottom. The lighting is very interesting: There are 3 great big spotlights at the crux of the cross pumping out all of the lighting for the whole main area of the cathedral. It gives the idea that when you look up, you look into the light of God, heaven etc. It is a long walk from Mejiro Station, but is only across the street from the 4 Seasons Hotel.
There are actually 4 shopping malls in close proximity to eachother. There is the Aqua City, the Venus Fort, Mediage and Decks. Odaiba is worth a day trip for shopping and exploring. Venus Fort is themed like a Roman villa, but rumor has it that the mall will be torn down soon. There is an auto showroom, including self driven cars on a track which take you on a tour of the area. There is Muscle Park, a mini theme park in which you test your strength and dexterity in various physical challenges. There is a great big gaming center in Mediage, with a whole lot of futuristic games found only in Japan. The Aqua city has an interesting floor full of 'retro Japan' shops. Spend the day exploring the area, you can get there on the Yurikamome line or the Rinkai line (which connects easily to shibuya.)
There are some interesting stores in this Mall. There is a wine shop in the basement which has an automatic wine dispenser (by the glass if you have a member's card). There is a jewelry shop which is by invitation only, and there is a great shop with a cactus garden and all sorts of stylish collectables. called forbidden Fruit. To get in, you have to enter from the street, not the mall itself.
In addition to the shopping, the architecture of the building itself is fairly cool. Start at the top and spiral your way down the building, like a triangular version of the Guggenheim in New York.
It should be noted that the Tuna Auctions are no longer open to the public and that part of the attraction is now closed. That said, this is probably the best place to go for fresh sashimi early in the morning. The best way to do it is to take the last train out to Tsukiji station and find an izakaya which is open late; drink until 4:30 and make your way to the market. Arriving at 7:00 is too late.
MidTown has a lot of cool stuff in it:
A cooking school with drop in classes; a pet grooming center where you can watch dogs getting groomed, a food court with lots of selection, a971, with 500 yen beers in a classy environment; lots of restaurant choices; some really exciting shopping (such as the world's most expensive chocolatier) and the Ritz Carlton, which is the home of what might be the most expensive martini ever (it comes with a diamond). The gardens out back are a great place to relax in the summer and enjoy an outdoor cinema (in august I believe) The whole building is architecturally interesting and hosts many exciting cultural and artistic events.
The lower floors of this place are maze like and difficult to navigate. The hallways wind around with banks of escalators going up one floor and stopping with the next escalator hiding around a corner. Part of the problem is that there are no navigation points and many places inside look similar. The observation floor, mado lounge and the museum are worth checking out and can be accessed without having to enter the maze itself. The tower is Tokyo's second tallest building, to the dismay of Mori, the Midtown is just a few meters (possiby less than a meter?) taller.
I've found that the best place to view the bridge is from the Odaiba side. Walk along the boardwalk back from the station and shopping area to towards the bridge. Follow the beach all the way around to the old battery, go up the stairs and turn right. You'll end up nearly under the bridge, with an excellent view of the city behind it. At night there is almost nobody in the area, so an evening picnic with your special someone won't be interrupted by throngs of other people with the same idea.
If you do it for nothing else, do it for the glass floor section up at the top. The glass floor has a better effect during the day than the night, but both times are excellent for a date. Japanese people view Tokyo tower as a top place to bring your date, so be prepared for the various types of couples, whether it's the first date awkward types or the couple on tour from another city. From Roppongi it look like it is a short walk. This is not true, take the train, bus or taxi, or be prepared for a little bit of a hike.
You can go up both towers. Except some days of the month when it is closed... so be sure to check the website or phone to see if it is open before you make the 'trek' from the station out to the building. If it is closed, the Park Hyatt is nearby, offering similar views albeit more expensive. For a high altitude restaurant, beer and drinks are remarkably reasonable. On a clear day you can see Mount Fuji when looking west. Clear days usually are only available in the winter as the summer humidity drops the visibility to less than 50km. From what I've heard, the best days for great views are the sunny days immediately following a Typhoon. There is a gift shop at the top with all kinds of Japanese junk gifts targeted at foreigners and Japanese alike. It's a fun and free place to spend a little time. I only wish they had a glass elevator!