Tokyo is not just a city, it’s a universe. More than anywhere else in the world, the contrasts are striking. One has the impression of entering into a kind of parallel dimension where everything becomes possible. At first we are surprised at every street corner, and then the extraordinary becomes normal. The weird melts into the environment.
It is a city that is not obvious to discover. Whether we stay there for three days, three weeks or three months, we will always have a feeling of frustration at not having seen enough. We must accept that we can never have done the trick. I wanted to write an article with all the essentials to see or do in Tokyo, but the list seems so interminable that I feel discouraged … So I start with these ideas of places or things to do that ‘ have rained, but are not necessarily part of the usual Top 10 or Top 20 of the Japanese capital. So of course you have to go to Shibuya, Akihabara or Shinjuku, but not only!
1 / A museum dedicated to the master of Japanese prints
This is one of the most famous images of Japan in the world: this huge wave that pretends to engulf Mount Fuji. This print is the work of one of the greatest Japanese artists, Katsushika Hokusai, and a brand new museum has just been dedicated to him in Tokyo. The Sumida Hokusai Museumopened in November 2016. There is much to learn about the life of this artist, who lived from 1760 to 1849. His most famous prints are the famous Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji, including “The Great Wave off Kanagawa “. The museum is also very successful architecturally. Directed by the Japanese architect Sejima Kazuvo, it impresses with its facade with geometric shapes and aluminum panels that reflect the light. A very successful contrast between a traditional artist and a modern architecture.
To see more. The Sumida Hokusai Museum is right next to the Edo Museum dedicated to the history of Tokyo City. It is also a great museum, with life-size reconstructions of ancient Tokyo. It’s like a real journey back in time and you can see the extent of the cataclysms the city has had to deal with, such as the 1923 earthquake or the Second World War. It’s a good idea to chain both visits.
2 / A cruise to discover Tokyo seen from the river
Most of the time to move to Tokyo, we use the subway. The city is so huge that on foot you are quickly discouraged. An alternative to discover the Japanese capital differently is to cruise on the Sumida River that crosses the eastern part of Tokyo. There are several companies that offer this, but an original way is to do it with the boat Hotaluna. Imagined by the Mangaka Leiji Matsumoto, it is a boat with a very futuristic design. The departure takes place from the traditional district of Asakusa, just in front of the headquarters of the Asahi Japanese beer with the golden flame designed by the French designer Philippe Starck. On the first part of the route you can see the landscape through the windows and the metal hoops and on the second part, you can go outside on the roof of the boat. The arrival takes place in the district of Odaiba, one of the most modern of Tokyo.