Japan is quickly growing as a country of interest for many Americans. So, if you are wanting to spend a summer, semester, or year studying abroad there, it makes sense that you would study abroad in Tokyo. Tokyo is the largest city in Japan and around 13 million people live in this city. Tokyo also hosts 47 of the Fortune Global 500 companies and the Japanese government; the Imperial Palace is also located in this city.
Obviously, Tokyo is a cultural hub and there is a lot to do and see in Tokyo. We here at EDUinReview want to make sure that you see the best of the best. So here is our list of the things you have to do while studying abroad in Tokyo, Japan.
1. See the city…from high up in the sky. It would takes months to see every inch of Tokyo if you walked along the streets. Instead, get a fantastic panoramic view of the city from the 45th floor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office. It is free to enter this building between 9:30am and 5:30pm, so you do not have to pay to see the city like you would at a private site. The views of the city from up this high are absolutely stunning and will take your breath away, simply due to how vast the city is. Also, on a clear day you can see Mt. Fuji from this viewpoint. How cool is that?
2. Listen to live music as you stroll through Yoyogi Park. The best time to visit this park is on Sundays, when it turns into an outdoor concert venue. Many bands gather here to perform for free. You will see every type of music available at this venue, from angry-screamers to traditional Japanese music to drum circles. The park is also gorgeous, so go on a nice day, sit under a tree, and listen to the music.
3. Visit the Imperial Palace and East Garden. Cross over one of the various moats, go through the stone walls, and have your breath taken away by the Imperial Palace. Possibly even better than the palace is the East Garden, which is free to enter. You will have to have a tour of the grounds to enter the inner areas of the grounds, but this is also free, so just plan ahead. If you are in Tokyo in late December and early January, you might even get to see the emperor, when he greets the people on his birthday (December 23) and the New Year (January 2). However, even if you do not get to see him, you really should visit this site. A trip to Tokyo is not complete without seeing the Imperial Palace and East Garden.
4. Dance at the Velfarre. This gigantic and very popular club opened in 1994 and has been going strong ever since. Velfarre can host up to 1,500 people at one time, making it a great place to make new friends on the dance-floor. In addition to techno-fueled club nights, you can visit Velfarre for fashion shows, talk shows, and other unique events. Unfortunately, Velfarre closes it’s doors around 1:00am, so don’t plan to spend all night there. The best time to be at the club is between 11:00pm and 1:00am, so try to get there during this time.
5. Learn Ikebana. Ikebana is an art form that is very popular in Japan. The translations include “arranging flowers” or “giving life to flowers.” However, it is not simply putting some pretty flowers in a vase. Ikebana is an art form with rules concerning colors, shapes, and lines. There is usually a significant meaning implied by each arrangement as well. If you have some free time, I really encourage you to learn more about Ikebana, and there are some great schools in Tokyo where you can learn. Ichiyo School Nakano, Ikebana International, and Ohararya Ikebana School are all great options. The Ichiyo School Nakano offers classes in English, which would be quite helpful if you are just learning Japanese or do not speak the language at all.
6. People Watch in Harajuku. Known for some of the most over-the-top fashions in the world, the neighborhood surrounding the Harajuku station is teeming with reasonably-priced shops. What’s more interesting, however, how the sidewalks become catwalks, with styles that cross categories and sometimes even defy definition.
Have you studied abroad in Tokyo? Do you have any tips for other students who are planning on studying there? Share them with us in the comments section below.
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