Tokyo Must Do with Japan Tour Guide


Get a taste of “real” Japan with sights recommended by Japan Tour Guide, a group in Japan that matches visitors with volunteer guides. (


Today’s Guide: Tomonari Watanabe

Tomonari is a student from the Tokyo University of Science. He guides foreign visitors every weekend in Tokyo, where he was born and raised. To date, he has guided some 300 groups of visitors.

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Spot 1: Kichijoji (10:00am)

Take a stroll around the most desirable town to live in, as voted by the locals. The picturesque Inokashira Park here is famous for cherry blossom viewing and boasts a large pond where you can paddle a boat in. You may even catch some street performers along the river path.


For a satisfying and affordable meal, try yakitori restaurant Iseya.


Spot 2: Shibuya (1:15pm)

After seeing how the locals live, see how they play.


Shibuya is where you can shop for the latest fashion, eat a variety of food and try all sorts of entertainment, such as concept cafes–maid cafes, ganguro cafes (witness extreme makeup!) and even a goat cafe!


Between Shibuya and Harajuku, there is Cat Street which has many street fashion clothes shops and general shops where you can enjoy window shopping.


Spot 3: Harajuku (3:00pm)

The most famous place for foreign tourists in Harajuku is definitely Meiji Shrine. Feel purified both mentally and physically while experiencing Shinto, the Japanese traditional religion.


From the shrine, you can easily access the trendsetting Takeshita Street, which is famous for its clothes shops and crepes. For high fashion, Omotesando Street is just round the corner.


Spot 4: Shinjuku (5:15pm)

In the skyscraper district of Shinjuku, there are many shopping malls, bars and clubs where you can experience Tokyo’s nightlife. For a feel of Japan’s early post-war days, head to drinking alley Omoide Yokocho. Or visit Hanazono Shrine, Shinjuku’s guardian shrine for some history and culture.


For dinner, why not treat yourself to Kyomachi Koishigure, where you can enjoy Kyoto’s traditional atmosphere and savor delicious Japanese food and sake.


Nikko Sightseeing: Lake Chuzenji

Lake Chuzenji (Chuzenji-ko in Japanese) is a scenic lake in Nikko National Park. It was created 20,000 years ago when Mt. Nantai (2,484 m) erupted and blocked the river. Lake Chuzenji’s shores are mostly undeveloped and forested except at its eastern end where is the small hot spring town of Chuzenjiko Onsen.


The lake is especially alluring in mid to late October, when the autumn leaves reach their peak along the shores and surrounding mountains. The Chuzenjiko Skyline road offers you a panoramic view from the hill.

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Visitors can also take a boat tour which takes an hour to go around the lake.

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In the vicinity area, there are some other sightseeing sites such as the Futarasan-jinja Shrine, which is a part of the Toshogu Shrine complex, and Ryuzu (Dragon Head) Waterfall.

Futarasan-jinja shrine tower gate

The name of the falls comes from its shape, which resembles the head of a dragon. This waterfall is one of the most famous autumn leaves destinations in Nikko.

Ryuzu waterfall


Fishing are quite popular in the lake, and many restaurants in the area serve trouts caught from the lake. During the autumn color season, traffic can be very busy around this area. Thus visiting during weekdays is recommended. Lake Chuzenji Boat Cruise cruises depart from the pier in Chuzenjiko Onsen. You can take a 10min. shuttle across the lake to Chuzenji Temple (150 yen) or a 60min. round course (1,500 yen).


Address: 2478-21 Chugushi, Nikko-shi, Tochigi
Phone: 0288-55-0360 (Chuzenjiko-Kisen)
Hours: 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM
Closed : Dec. through Mar.

[ Information ]
From Nikko:
Take the Tobu bus bound for Chuzenji Onsen or Yumoto Onsen to Chuzenji Onsen bus stop. (50min.)
A 2-day pass for unlimited bus rides between Nikko and Chuzenjiko Onsen is available for 2,000 yen at Tobu Nikko station.