City Tours and Excursions in Tokyo
A waterbus service runs regularly on the Sumida River between Asakusa, Hama Rikyu Garden, Hinode Pier and Odaiba.
Vingt-et-Un Cruises and Symphony Cruises organize day and evening tours in Tokyo Bay.
Phone: (03) 38 41 91 78 (Sumida River); (03) 34 36 21 21 (Vingt-et-Un Cruises); (03) 37 98 81 01 (Symphony Cruises)
Hato Bus JTB Sunrise Tours Japan Gray Line organize many different bus tours through Tokyo with English speaking tour guides.
Phone: (03) 34 35 60 81 (Hato bus); (03) 56 20 95 00 (JTB Sunrise Tours); (03) 34 33 57 45 (Japan Gray Line)
A brochure ‘Walking Tour Courses in Tokyo’ is available from Tokyo Tourist Information , which lists tours of different areas of the city. The Asakusa’s Goodwill Guide Club organizes every Sunday afternoon a free one-hour tour of the historic Asakusa area. Information is available from the Asakusa Cultural and Sightseeing Center .
Phone: (03) 32 01 33 31 (Tokyo Tourist Information); (03) 38 42 55 66 (Asakusa Cultural and Sightseeing Center)
The Fuji Hakone National Park, only 80 km southwest of Tokyo, is located in an impressive lake and mountain landscape and has cultural sights such as B. an impressive open-air museum, and if the weather is fine, also with an enchanting view of Mount Fuji. The popular ring route through the area is covered by a small train, a cable car and a boat and leads through forests and old spas before visitors soar high above the sulfur-separating volcanic craters. The trip on the ring route ends with a leisurely tour on the picturesque Lake Ashino.
With the Hakone Free Pass for around ¥ 5000 (depending on the starting point), you can use the area’s transport unlimited. Hakone can be reached by Shinkansen Kodama express train from central Tokyo to Odawara station or by a ride on the privately operated Odakyu route, which starts at Shinjuku station in Tokyo. The Hakone and Kamakura brochure, available from Tokyo Tourist Information (Tel: (03) 32 01 33 31), contains information on how to get there and what to see.
Phone: (03) 32 01 33 31
The small coastal town of Kamakura is surrounded by forested hills and was the seat of the first military government in Japan, the Kamakura Shogunate (1192-1333). It is best known for the 12 m tall statue of the Great Buddha, which dates back to the middle of the 13th century. However, the city also has several beautiful Zen temples, the impressive Tsurugaoka-Hachiman-gu shrine and the National Treasury, which displays important Buddhist art from the Kamakura period. There are idyllic hiking trails in the surrounding hills, and in summer the beach is a popular place for sunbathing and windsurfing.
Yokosuka Line trains run regularly from Tokyo-Mitte and Shinagawa to Kamakura stations, and the journey takes about an hour. Tokyo Tourist Information’s Hakone and Kamakura brochure contains information on how to get there and what to see.
Phone: (03) 32 01 33 31
One of the most celebrated tourist attractions in Japan is Nikko, which UNESCO has declared a World Heritage Site. Nikko is best known for his enchanting, ornamented mausoleum of the first Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (died 1616), the historical figure on which the fictional warrior in James Clavell’s novel ‘Shogun’ is based.
The carved, carefully painted and gilded gates, halls and warehouses of the mausoleum (known as the Toshogu Shrine) seem cluttered today, but as a politically motivated display of the power of the Shogun rulers in the mid-17th century, they corresponded very well to that time . The extensive complex lies in the middle of an old cedar forest and also includes the Rinnoji Temple, the Futarasan Shrine and the smaller, somewhat less lavish mausoleum of the third Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu. An admission ticket includes all four attractions. Lake Chuzenji and the breathtaking Kegon waterfall lie a little further than Nikko; both can be reached in one hour by bus via a picturesque mountain road with hairpin bends.
From Asakusa-Tobu station, several trains run every hour on the privately operated Tobu-Nikko route (Tel: (03) 36 21 52 02. Internet: www.tobu.co.jp/english/sight) to Nikko. The journey takes about two hours. If you are in possession of the JR Rail Pass, you would probably prefer to take the JR Shinkansen express train over the somewhat longer route from Tokyo-Mitte or Ueno stations to Utsunomiya, where you have to change to a local train to Nikko.
The Nikko brochure from Tokyo Tourist Information (Tel: (03) 32 01 33 31) contains information on how to get there and what to see; Information sheets and a map in English are also available from the information desk at the Nikko train station (tel: (02 88) 53 45 11).
Phone: (03) 32 01 33 31