The Tokyo National Museum
Japan's largest museum, with the world's largest collection of Japanese art. The main gallery, directly ahead from the entrance, is the Japanese gallery, with sculptures, swords, writing and porcelain. There is also a gallery for Asian art and archeology, a gallery for special exhibitions and Japanese archeological finds, and the gallery of Horyu-ji treasures. The other galleries are open Tues-Sun 9:30am to 5pm. Entrance fee 420 yen. Expect long lines during special exhibits. At Ueno Station on JR Yamanote, or Hibiya subway line.

Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market
Get up early and see huge number of various and unbelievably sized fish and aquatic crustaceans that are destined for the city's sushi restaurants and stores, at this wholesalers market. While the actual actions are closed to the public, you are free to wander among the stalls and look about. Anytime between 5am and 8am is best, though the earlier the better. Closed on Sun, holidays and every other Wed. Exit 1 or 2 at Tsukuji Stn. on the Hibiya subway and follow the signs.

Tokyo Kabuki
For those interested in seeing some of Japan's cultural past, try a stop at the Kabuki-za theater in Ginza. English narration and explanation of the Kabuki while you watch are available on earphones. Performances can go on three hours or more, but it's possible to get a restricted ticket allowing one to view just part of the show - though there is no earphone available for this option. Bookings must be made at least a day in advance. Exit 3 at Higashi-Ginza Stn, Hibiya line. Tel: 3541-3131.

Tokyo Imperial Palace & East Garden
Home of Japan's Imperial family. The inner grounds are only open 2 days of the year to the public (Dec 23 and Jan 2), but you can stroll around the surrounding gardens and there is a view point at the main gates. The East Garden, situated on what was once the center of the old castle, is open to the public, and has a tea pavilion and open lawns. It can be entered thru the Ote-mon Gate. Both are a short walk from either Ginza or Hibiya Stations, on the Hibiya subway, or Tokyo or Yurakucho stations on the JR Yamanote-line.

Tokyo Meiji-Jingu Shrine
Tokyo's most impressive Shinto shrine. Built in honor of the Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, the shrine was completed in 1920. During WWII, it was completely destroyed, but was rebuilt with all the original features - the shrine itself using Japanese cypress wood. The surrounding Meiji-Jingu Koen Park, being next to Yoyogi Park, and the nearby Harajuku shopping area, make this an excellent place to spend an afternoon. Accessible from Harajuku Station, on the JR Yamanote line.

An interesting day trip from Tokyo is to Kamakura, the one time capital of Japan. It has a number of buddist temples and Shinto shrines, including its most famous site the Daibutsu (The Great Buddha), a 11.4 meter tall, 850 ton bronze statue. Near the Daibutsu is the Hase-dera Temple, with its famous wooden Kannon statue, dating from the 8th century. The nearby beach, a 20 min. walk from the station, is popular with bathers in the summer. From Tokyo Stn, Shimbashi Stn, or Shinagawa Stn, (all JR Yamanote line), take the Yokosuka line to Kamakura Station. The trip takes under an hour. To get to the Daibutsu, take bus no. 7 from Kamakura Stn, and get off at Daibutsu-mae bus stop. Be sure to leave from Tokyo early in the morning, as most of the shrines and temples close after 4pm.

The most popular area for a day trip from Tokyo, and for good reason. Nikko is a mass of temples and shrines in picturesque settings, and worth the 2 hour ride out. Besides the three major attractions of Tosho-gu Shrine, Rinno-ji Temple, and Futara-sanjinja Shrine, there are various tombs, huge torii gates, and halls with collections of temple treasures. It's more cost effective to buy the ticket for the entire tour, though you can also get tickets for entrance to each individually. From Asakusa Station on Ginza line, change to the Tobu Nikko line, whose terminal is in the Tobu Dept Store. Limited express trains, with required reserved tickets, cost 2530 yen and run every half hour from 7:30-10am, and every hour after that. Rapid trains taking 15 min longer, and not requiring a reservation, run once every hour from 6am to 4:30pm, and cost 1270 yen.