enigmatic's Reviews ( Landmarks & Historical Places )

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  • St.Mary's Cathedral (Churches-Catholic / Waseda)
  • 2009/01/28
  • While I'm all about checking out churches and religious sites in other countries, this one was kinda over my head. I mean, I can appreciate the beauty and architectural ingenuity from the outside. But the inside seems almost sacrilegious as far as cathedrals go, in terms of it's austerity. The dark interior seems like something out of a dystopian hallucination. It is definitely a modern take on an old idea.
  • National Diet Building (Landmarks & Historical Places / Tameikesanno)
  • 2009/01/28
  • An architecturally curious building, it is the site of some serious government head-scratching. Hey, at least they don't have all-out fist fights here like they do in some countries. I would suggest signing up for a tour...just know that you have to be there on a weekday to be able to do that. Oh, and like other serious/official buildings in Japan (Imperial Palace) the guards who work here don't have much by way of a sense of humor.
  • Tokyo Stock Market (Landmarks & Historical Places / Nihombashi)
  • 2009/01/28
  • If you're expecting to see a re-enactment of the NYSE in the Pacific, keep looking. Here, despite market volatility, people are still polite to one another. The increasing use of technology in trading also means that fewer people make a living waving their arms around and shouting. You really can't feel the true energy of a place like this from above. You have to get down in it. Unfortunately, for you to do that you'll have to start by submitting an application.
  • Hakone (Landmarks & Historical Places / Machida)
  • 2009/01/28
  • Like some other places close to Tokyo, this is a site that books up fast. But if you manage to get a last minute trip through a travel agency like JTB you can score some really rockin' deals. The onsens in this area are fabulous and you can enjoy the quirky onsens that keep Japan in the news globally: the red wine, green tea, and coffee baths you sometimes hear of are located in this area. Beautiful of Mt. Fuji from here as well.
  • Nikko (Landmarks & Historical Places / Kita-Senju)
  • 2009/01/28
  • By far one of the best weekend retreats from Tokyo I've ever had. The train ride out there is pretty short and there are tons of hotels with both western and Japanese style rooms. The onsens in this area really are stellar. Just keep in mind that Nikko is not exactly a well-kept secret...places book up pretty far in advance. But if you go to JTB and get a lucky last minute booking, you can save a ton of cash on your trip, and still score an awesome travel package.
  • Tokyo International Forum (Landmarks & Historical Places / Tokyo Station)
  • 2009/01/28
  • There isn't much you can say about a convention space. I mean, it's basically a big box with ever-changing contents. The sections of the building set up for their architectural beauty are a lovely sight to behold. But the real reason to head over here is for the food trucks that magically materialize during lunch time. Every day there is something different, but there are usually at least a dozen choices. Get there early, as most places run out of food. It really is that good.
  • Omotesando Hills (Landmarks & Historical Places / Harajuku)
  • 2009/01/28
  • Very luxurious. Shopping, fashion, night life... the same basic ingredients for any popular spot in Tokyo. But this one is special because all the stuff is really expensive. Trust me. That makes it better. All of the beautiful people everywhere make this a visually pleasing experience, too. Store displays are more like art so you can at least appreciate the gorgeous things the stores know you'll never be able to afford in your wildest dreams.
  • Rainbow Bridge (Night View Spots / Hamamatsucho)
  • 2009/01/28
  • With respect to the other reviewers, I find the best place to view this bridge is from the deck of the booze cruise leaving from Hammamatsucho. Other that how it looks from the deck of a boat...what can you say...it's a bridge. It goes across the water and cars drive on it. There are lots of pretty lights. But honestly, all the coolest cities know that you aren't really a city without a rockin' bridge. And considering this one revolutionized the commute and flow of traffic for millions of people, it is worth a look.
  • Imperial Palace (Landmarks & Historical Places / Jimbocho)
  • 2009/01/28
  • What is there to say...it's a big wall. With a moat. A moat that recently had a naked European man with a saggy bum in it. There are a couple of beautiful swans living in the moat, but the gardens are probably the best part. It is one of very few places in all of Tokyo you can just lay out on the grass and read a book. The city scape from this location is quite nice, too. The security guards don't have much as far as a sense of humor goes, though, so don't push it. And watch yourself in the early morning and the evening...the trail around the palace is thick with joggers.
  • Omoide Yokocho: Shinjuku (Landmarks & Historical Places / Shinjuku)
  • 2009/01/28
  • Crammed one on top of the other, the little local places serving everyone's favorite grilled meat on a stick will make you feel like you've stepped out of modern Tokyo and into some mythical parallel dimension of exactly what people who have never been here expect Japan to be. Friendly staff, don't expect any service whatsoever in English. Take the Japanese friend assigned to you upon processing through customs and have them help you order.
  • The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (Night View Spots / Shinjuku)
  • 2009/01/28
  • The building itself is a beautiful example of architecture. And this building is a one-stop shop of anything bureaucratic. Literally any government function you can dream up can be found here. Very popular tour destination in the heart of the skyscraper district in Shinjuku. But if it's a view you're after, Roppongi really is a better bet. Especially since there is usually a pretty lengthy line for the elevator up to the top.
  • Tokyo Tower (Night View Spots / Azabu-juban)
  • 2009/01/28
  • The Monet of tourist attractions: cool from a distance but a total let-down when you see it up close. It is nothing more than a radio tower surrounded by stinky tour buses with a pathetic shopping center crammed underneath it. The only people who actually go here are tourists who allow Lonely Planet to jerk them around and foreign guys who think their Japanese girlfriends actually want to go here. Let me clue you in: IT'S NOT THE EIFFEL TOWER, DUMMY! There is absolutely nothing romantic about a giant orange radio antenna. If you want play off of a city view, don't be a stingy schmuck: go to Roppongi Hills.
  • Tokyo Midtown (Landmarks & Historical Places / Roppongi)
  • 2009/01/28
  • It's taller than Roppongi Hills by a couple of meters. Who says size doesn't matter? While they may not have the city night view (the top floors are obscenely expensive condos, not tourist attractions), they do have some great bars/restaurants in the area. It's only a night spot if you like taking walks in the park or having a relaxing glass of wine at a restaurant. The only club-like atmosphere you'll find is at A-971 (which is choc full of depressed finance people, these days). Luxury shopping and the same basic amenities you find in Roppongi Hills, minus the theater.
  • Roppongi Hills (Landmarks & Historical Places / Roppongi)
  • 2009/01/28
  • Wonderful dreamscape. Every single time I go there I feel like I'm in Disneyland. Everything is immaculate. It feels so space-age. Wonderful restaurants. Good museum. Beautiful view, especially at night. Great luxury shopping as well as affordable boutiques. Oh, and the movie theater is pretty nice, too. If you have a chance, definitely check out the premier seating. Enjoy a beer with your movie and recline. Not your average theater. Because of the large numbers of foreigners who flock to this capitalist mecca, virtually all staff speak English.
  • Tsukiji Fish Market (Landmarks & Historical Places / Tsukiji)
  • 2009/01/28
  • Due to the inability of drunken foreigners to STOP LICKING THE TUNA the entire fish market has been redesigned. It is now much harder to see the market as it used to operate. Most people forget when they travel here that it is an actual work place for fishermen and brokers. It is interesting to see, but party people who stumble in here after a night of binge drinking have started ruining it for everyone. If you go, play nice.