Whether you’re looking for the hustle and bustle or peace and quiet, this list has you covered.

The SoraNews24 team is full of people who love to travel. In just the past few weeks, we went all the way up to Hokkaido looking for the entrance to hell, and out to Himeji for one of Japan’s best regional breakfast treats.

But as our staff returns to our Tokyo base following the Golden Week vacation period, we’re reminded that Japan’s capital is also one of its most diversely fascinating places. There’s no shortage of wonderful ways to spend a day within the city limits, so we asked 10 of our Japanese-language reporters to tell us their favorite place to spend the day inside Tokyo.

● Mr. Sato: Shinjuku Kabukicho and Golden Gai

It’s been about 20 years since I moved from the countryside to Tokyo, and I’ve spent most of my time working and playing in the west half of the city, especially the Shinjuku neighborhood. Even before I moved here, I knew about Kabukicho and Omoide Yokocho [two famous Shinjuku bar districts], and I still like them to this day. They’re right in the center of the city, and there’s a real feeling of humanity, a thick human energy you can feel there, and I love it.

I especially the cluttered, chaotic feel of Kabukicho. It’s gotten a little spruced up since the Toho Cinemas and Kabukicho Tower buildings opened, but out on the streets, it feels even more gritty. I like seeing that, and maybe I’m part of that atmosphere now too.

● Takashi Harada: Nakano Station area

Nakano isn’t too built up, but it’s not too undeveloped either, and it’s close to major downtown centers like Shinjuku and Shibuya if you feel like heading to one of the later on. But you really can find just about anything you’re looking for near Nakano Station. Especially out the north exit, there are tons of places to grab a drink, even in the afternoon, and lots of cool restaurants to check out too.

Even just walking through the Sun Mall and Nakano Broadway shopping areas is fun, and if you’re into anime and manga, it’s on par with Akihabara. By the way, the famous Nakano Sun Plaza concert hall is closing on July 2. It’s been in the neighborhood for 50 years now, so I hope you’ll go see it at least once before it’s gone.

● Seiji Nakazawa: Sumida River riverside

When people go to Asakusa, they usually head towards the Kaminari-mon gate and Sensoji Temple. If you go the opposite direction from the station, though, to the east, the area has a whole different appeal. If you cross over to the other side of the Sumida River, it feels less touristy, and there’s some of the shitamachi (“old downtown”) atmosphere remaining. It’s a totally different vibe, with hardly any people around.

I’ll just pop into a basic chain restaurant like Sushiro, go for a walk along the river while admiring the view of the Skytree, and then sit down on the grass at Sumida Park and relax. After that, I’ll keep walking, going under the sakura trees, and enjoying a very chill route throw the neighborhood.

● Masanuki Sunakoma: Tokyo Tower

My favorite place in the whole city is Tokyo Tower, and it’s the view of Tokyo Tower from Sakurada-dori Street that’s the best. Just looking at it from there, I can feel the memories from my student days flooding back. That view shows up in a lot of TV dramas too, and it looks beautiful weather you’re walking or driving down the street.

By train, if you get out at Tamachi or Mita Stations and walk towards Tokyo Tower, you’ll be able to see the kind of view I’m talking about before long. Even if you don’t go up to the top, Tokyo Tower is, no question, a beautiful sight that I love looking at.

● P.K. Sanjun: Akihabara

Well, it may not be the most unique choice, but I think Akihabara is a great place to hang out and wander around. There are all sorts of interesting shops and tasty but inexpensive restaurants. So even if you don’t have any particular purpose in mind ahead of time, you can find something fun to do after you get there, and if you decide you want to head to another place before going home, it’s just a short walk to Okachimachi or Ueno.

● Yuichiro Wasai: Imperial Palace Outer Garden

Tokyo Station is one of Japan’s most connected, and also busiest, stations, so it almost feels like a cheat code that the Imperial Palace Outer Garden is such a short walk away but has so much beautiful plant life. It might just be the most elegantly tranquil sightseeing spot in the whole city.

Just being there puts my mind at ease. I don’t need to do anything out of the ordinary when I go there. All I need to do is walk along the pine trees and see the statue of samurai Kusunoki Masashige on his horse, and I feel fulfilled coming. Right now, May, is when the weather is perfect for spending the afternoon here, too.

● Ahiruneko: Roppongi Hills Sky Deck

I don’t have any personal interest at all in the shops and restaurants at Roppongi Hills, but I’ve got to say that the view from the Sky Deck, the open-air observation platform at the top of the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, is the absolute best in the city.

For people who are afraid of heights (like me), this location is sort of like being in hell, but there’s truly no better spot for instantly conveying what an awe-inspiring place Tokyo is.

● Mariko Ohanabatake: Nishiogikubo/Kichijoji area

For someone like me who grew up reading about Tokyo in fashion magazines before I moved here, the Kichijoji neighborhood was the mecca of subculture coolness. Nishiogikubo too, and after living here for 20 years, I still love them both.

Kichijoji’s Inokashira Park, with its lake, is a nice, laid-back place to walk around, and there are tons of good cafes, knickknack shops, and bookstores to take detours into. Nishiogikubo is great if you’re looking for someplace to have a full meal. Everywhere you turn, there’s someplace with a menu that looks great, and almost always it turns out that the food really is that good. This last point might not apply to everyone, but something I like is that neither neighborhood is all that huge, so they’re easy to navigate without getting lost.

● Go Hatori: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (a.k.a. Tocho)

If I’m going out to see the sights in a city, I want an unobstructed view from up above. Tokyo gives you a lot of options on that front: Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree, Shibuya Sky. They’re all nice, but they all charge you to go up to the top.

That’s why I recommend Tocho. From its observation floors 202 meters (623 feet) up, you can see the whole city, but admission is free. There’s even a snack corner in Building 1 on the 45th floor, called Towngate Core Tokyo Seen, where you can get soft serve ice cream and parfaits, or you can drink a beer while admiring the view out the windows.

I also totally recommend the self-service cafeteria on the 32nd floor of Building 1. They’ve got all sorts of inexpensive but nutritious meals, with pasta, ramen, udon, and soba. It’s like a super-secret food court!

● Yoshio: Oizumi Sakura Athletic Park Outdoor Cooking Area

This place is in Nerima Ward, and you don’t need to make any reservation or pay any fee to use the barbeque area. Tents and campfires are OK, but you can’t cook directly on the flames [i.e. you have to use a grill]. The convenient system means it gets pretty crowded on the weekends, but pretty much all I need is a blanket to sit on and stuff to make coffee with, so I like to just stop by on a whim. The parking lot, washing area, and restrooms are all pretty conveniently located too, and they keep the restrooms really clean, which is great for people who come with their kids, like I do.

By the way, right across the street is another park, Wako Forest Park, which is actually over the border from Tokyo in Saitama Prefecture. It has a nice grassy field, and it feels so nice to look up at the wide, clear view of the sky there. There are a lot of big parks in the Nerima area, but these two are my favorites.

These are our personal picks, and we’re sure everyone who spends enough time in Tokyo will find their own too. But if you’re looking for a place to spend a day in the city, every place on our list has its own unique charm, and we hope we’ll run into some of you there.

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