Tokyo Tower is one of the most well-recognized landmarks in the world. Built in 1959 to accomodate widespread use of TV and radio, the tower also includes a large observation deck halfway to the top. There is a large elevator to the deck, but you can also walk the stairs up if you feel up to it – but be warned, it’s a long way.
Unfortunately there isn’t a major train station next to Tokyo Tower. Your best bet is the Yamanote Line or Tokyo Monorail to Hamamatsucho Station. The walk is only just over 1/2 a mile. A little further to the northwest is Onarimon Station. You can, of course, also bike to Tokyo Tower from other parts of the city.
If you’re coming from the north, Toranomon is just to the north and provides quick access.
Admission is around $18/adult, but is well worth it. On the ground floor are a lobby + some shops including food. The observation deck is huge with tall floor-to-ceiling windows providing panoramic views of the city in all directions.
At the entrance to Tokyo Tower on it’s 60th anniversary. It was fully repainted in time for the 60th.
Across from the entrance.
Zojo-ji Temple+ Shiba Park
Entrance to Zojo-ji. Note the 2 guardians on either side.
Just to the southeast of Tokyo Tower is the huge Zojo-ji Temple complex. It’s just off Hibiya Dori and has a nice park + a bike parking lot. You can walk all the way around the park to Tokyo Toweron the northwest. On the north end there is another small interesting park with lots of stone Jizo. Since it’s only 1 block away, check it out. There is also a huge cyprus tree planted @ Zojo-ji Temple by the late US President Ulysses S. Grant in the 1800’s.
Also, just south of Zojo-ji is the massive Shiba Park with lots of hills + trails to walk in. Definitely check it out.
Just to the west of Shiba Park is the very luxurious Prince Park Tower Tokyo. Around $150-$200/night, it’s bit pricey but if it fits your budget is worth a 1 or 2 night stay. There is also a free shuttle from PPTT to Hamamatsucho Station.
Tokyo Tower is a must-see if you’re in Tokyo. One of the oldest and most well-known landmarks, it makes a nice short day trip. Definitely don’t miss it.
Facing north on Rt. 405 looking at Toranomon Hills at night. Note the spotless street pavement.
There are plenty of interesting side streets in Toranomon. Feel free to wander around + explore. If you head south on Rt. 405 towards Shimbashi, there’s a lot of good food + there’s also the Avant Cycles shop on the west side of the street.
Avant Cycles shop.High-end racing bikes. A bike is a must-have in Tokyo.
Plenty of high-end Japanese shops fill the area – many of them with astonishingly good nighttime lighting.
Caffé Veloce has a retro 1950’s vibe – but it’s known for not having the best coffee in Tokyo. It does have some pretty decent cheap food, though – such as hot dogs for around $2.00 USD.
Just behind Good Morning Cafe + Grill is TREX Toranomon Café + bike shop. You can rent bikes here – or take a paid bike tour around Tokyo. The bike shop is out front, and the café is in a smaller bldg. around the back. Both definitely worth a look.
More Good Stuff
Rt. 409 (Hibiya-Dori) which runs E-W + intersects Rt. 405 (the main street in Toranomon) has some interesting things to see + do. At the southwest corner of this intersection is The Monument of the Site of Asano Takuminokami’s death (Asano was involved in the famous medevial Japanese Legend of the 47 Ronin – which was made into a US film in 2013).
Directly across the street to the east of this is the SHINTORA-DORI CORE – a mixed used development which also has a huge coffee shop on the ground floor.
Facing south on Rt. 405 towards Shimbashi/Shiodome. Again, note the spotless pavement.
There are all kinds of other interesting side streets/paths to explore.
Even small side streets are usually clean + well-lit.
Tokyo has spotless pavement – mainly because all plastic waste is collected, recycled, and plowed into new road pavement to make it rubbery + elastic so it doesn’t chip or crack. The plastic gets reused, and the country gets better roads. Brilliant. You rarely see any road gravel in Tokyo. The only downside is Japan hasn’t mastered bike lanes yet – as indicated by the double arrow + cyclist icons on the right.
Vending machines are good for quick, cheap drinks. You can now also pay electronically via IC railway cards such as Suica in most places. Suica also supports payment via smartphone or Apple Watch.
Japan’s Suica electronic rail IC card. You add money to the card, then use it at electronic turnstyles at train stations to pay your fare. You can also use them at convenience stores and most vending machines.
Another abandoned bike in Tokyo – an all too common occurrence.
Further to the west down Rt. 403 just south of Tokyo Tower is world-famous Zojo-ji Temple. You can easily walk to it from Toranomon.
Well, that’s it for the Toranomon Superguide. We hope you found it useful. Enjoy your stay. You can easily spend a few days in the area and see everything. If you also want to see Shimbashi + Akasaka too, plan on a week or so for all 3. You can stay in one of the inexpensive hotels in Toranomon (such as APA), or one in Akasaka. There is also a First Cabin on a main street in Akasaka. It is conveniently located + has a Key’s Cafe embedded right inside it. There is also a Tully’s Coffee just around the corner. Or choose the very nice APA #215 Hotel Shimbashi Toranomon. If you do stay in Akasaka, be sure to check out the excellent Akasaka SACAS area.
Looking east in front of Toranomon Hills.
There are lots of great restaurants and shops on the backstreets.
And some great restaurants under overpasses + between streets.