Culture + Style

Expect the Unexpected at These Secret Tokyo Sights

Already a city famed for its contrasts, Tokyo boasts unexpected finds around every corner. Dig deeper and a world of secret sights unfolds. From art deco splendor to the city’s oldest soba restaurant, here are three sights you likely haven’t seen before.

Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum

Built in 1933 as a residence for Japan’s imperial Prince Asaka, this art deco building and its contents will immediately transport you to another era. Each room is a well-maintained study in the opulence of the times—from the residence’s Lalique glass doors to its carpets, furniture, fireplaces and fittings.

Go in the spring and the already impressive parkland that surrounds the museum bursts pretty in pink with cherry blossoms.

Azabu-Juban

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Try the popular fish-shaped red bean snack, taiyaki in this bustling neighborhood. (Photo: Alamy)

Once a site filled with feudal mansions, Azabu-Juban boasts over 300 years of history and retains a quaint, laid-back feel complete with cobblestone streets. Go hungry.

The area gave birth to the popular fish-shaped red bean snack, taiyaki, which can be sampled at its original store, Naniwaya Sohonten, as well as one of Tokyo’s oldest and most popular soba shops, Sarashina-Horii, first opened in 1789.

Streets surrounding the main shopping strip are filled with unique finds, as well as the small Juban Inari Shrine and the calming Arisugawa-no-miya Memorial Park. Carry on to Roppongi Hills, the perfect place to reacquaint yourself with modern life.

Museum of Logistics

what to do in tokyo
Learn about cargo ships and more at the Museum of Logistics. (Photo: Getty Images)

Japan moves with a speed and efficiency unlike most other places on the planet. Find out how systems such as cargo shipping have successfully evolved since Edo times at the Museum of Logistics.

Getting here will take you past two other points of interest, the historic Nihon Enoki Fire Station, a working station built in 1925 (and next to the fantastic Boulangerie Seiji Asakura, if good bread is your thing) and the Food Culture Museum, which gives a rundown of Japan’s multifaceted eating scene.

From Sheraton Miyako Hotel Tokyo, it won’t take more than 15 minutes to reach these cultural gems.