Kitanomaru Park Walking Tour, Tokyo (Self Guided)

The Chiyoda district is steeped in history and is a reflection of the city’s culture, both past and present. Besides several prominent historical landmarks like the Imperial Palace, the place boasts of some of the best museums in the region. The Kitanomaru Park, part of the outer gardens of the Imperial Palace, houses the National Museum of Modern Art, Science Museum and the Nippon Bodokan. The park is an ideal place to enjoy the sakura that blossoms in spring.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Kitanomaru Park Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Kitanomaru Park Walking Tour
Guide Location: Japan » Tokyo (See other walking tours in Tokyo)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 km
Author: ann
National Museum of Modern Art-Crafts Gallery

1) National Museum of Modern Art-Crafts Gallery

The Crafts Gallery is an annex of the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo. It was opened in 1977 with a view to display the living treasures of the country which are its traditional crafts.

The Crafts Gallery occupies a building that was once the headquarters of the Imperial Guards. It was designed in 1910 by military engineer, Yasushi Tamura. In 1972, the building became a designated Significant Cultural Property and in 1977, it became the Crafts Gallery extension of the National Museum of Modern Art. The present gallery was designed by Yoshiro Taniguchi.

The collection at the Crafts Gallery features objects from the Meiji era to the present day. It has textiles, ceramics, glass, dolls, lacquer, wood, bamboo, metalwork, industrial and graphic design. There is a section on the growth and diversification of Japanese crafts in the post World War II era. The collection portrays crafts made using traditional techniques in new contemporary creative designs. It also hosts themed exhibitions like the History of Japanese Modern Crafts Exhibition and large scale shows once or twice in a year. Crafts from other parts of the world dating from the 19th century are also featured. It is a research facility and has its own research library.

Opening hours: Tue-Sun: 10:00 AM-5:00 PM (open until 8:00 PM on Fridays).
National Museum of Modern Art

2) National Museum of Modern Art (must see)

The Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art is the first art museum in Japan. It features works by Western-style Japanese contemporary artists and traditional Nihonga artists.

Located in the Kitanomaru Park of Edo Castle, the museum was established as a facility governed by the Ministry of Education. It opened its doors in 1952. The first building was designed by Kunio Maekawa. It was redesigned twice and the most recent design was by architect, Yoshiro Taniguchi. Today the museum has two branches: the Crafts Gallery located in a nearby historic building and the National Film Center, the only institution in Japan devoted to the history and development of cinema.

The Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art collects and preserves works by contemporary Japanese artists. It is a research facility for students of contemporary art and exhibitions are frequently held based on specific themes. It has a few works by contemporary western artists and an impressive collection of works by Japanese contemporary art masters. Artists featured in the museum are Ai Mitsu, Hisao Domoto, Koga Harue, Aso Saburo and Kanae Yamamoto. Historic masterpieces are always on view while other exhibits are changed several times in a year.

Why You Should Visit:
Small, but top-notch permanent collection; interesting items, even for foreigners to appreciate visually without much explanation.
The (very modest) fee includes a ticket to MOMA, which is down the road a few 100 meters.

Don't miss the great balcony view over the Tokyo Imperial Palace across the river.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Thu; Sat-Sun: 10am-5pm; Fri: 10am-8pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Science Museum

3) Science Museum

The Science Museum features diverse subjects and areas in science and the exhibits are sure to get any child interested. Offering interactive displays and workshops, any kid would be having a gala time, running around touching and experimenting things in the exhibits. The museum has an excellent coverage on topics that are diverse and range from topics like optics and illusions to the modern day Internet. A must visit for families with kids.
Shimizu-mon Gate

4) Shimizu-mon Gate

The Shimizu Mon Gate is the east gate that leads to the Edo Castle in Tokyo. It is also the east gate of the Kitanomaru garden and district.

The Shimizu- Mon gate is a Masugata Mon style gate. This type of gate has a small square or plaza in front. There was a gate at the location of the present one as early as early as 1620. The present gate was rebuilt in 1658. The gate formed a part of the old Edo castle and is regarded as a structure of great cultural and historical significance in Japan. It was declared an Important Cultural Asset of the country in 1961 and is managed by the Agency for Cultural Affairs.

The Shimizu Mon Gate is made of stone in traditional Japanese architectural style. It stands next to the Shimizu moat. The Yaguramon gate in front of the Shimizu Mon is a timber frame gate that has a keep with two stories built at a right angle to the Shimizu Mon. Roofed pillars stabilize the gates and a small window in the Yagura Mon helped guards to observe the possibility of an attack and gave them time to get ready to shoot. The Shimizu Mon is the last of the two remaining gates from the Edo era when the Tokugawa Shogunate flourished in the city.
Nippon Budokan

5) Nippon Budokan

The Nippon Budokan (Martial Arts Hall) is a large indoor arena erected to host the Judo event in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. It was modeled after the Yumedono Hall of the Horyuji temple in the Nara Prefecture of Japan.

The Nippon Budokan means Martial Arts Hall. It was built in 1964 and designed by architect, Mamoru Yamada. It has an octagonal roof and stands on the location of the former Kitanomaru Palace. It has three halls. The largest hall has a seating capacity for an audience of 14,000. There are 2,762 seats in the first floor, over 3000 seats in the second floor, more than 7000 seats in the third floor and standing space for 480 spectators.

The Nippon Budokan has also hosted many international rock concerts. The Beatles were the first group to perform here in 1966. Later well known singers like Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton have performed at the venue. The building is still used predominantly for wrestling and martial arts. The national championships of traditional martial arts like Judo, Kenda, Karate, Akido and Kyudo are held here annually. It is also used by the Pro Wrestling organization NOAH that conducts major events and competitions. Martial Arts classes are also held to train future champions at the Nippon Budokan.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Tayasu-mon Gate

6) Tayasu-mon Gate

Tayasu-mon Gate was once a part of the great Edo castle. Today its massive walls separate the Nippon Budokan and Yakusuni Srine. This is a typical Masugata-mon style of gate. No one knows exactly when this gate was built, however the present structure was reconstructed in 1636.
Lighthouse at Kudan-Sakaue

7) Lighthouse at Kudan-Sakaue

Also known as the Jotomyodai, the old lighthouse at Kudan-sakaue is a very small structure located between Budokan and Yasukuni shrine, right next to the pedestrian walk that connects this to major landmarks. Sometimes it is also referred to as the weather house.

8) Chidorigafuchi

Chidorigafuchi is a park in the northeastern part of the moat surrounding the Imperial Palace. It is a well known spot where visitors come to view cherry blossoms in the spring.

The entrance to the Chidorigafuchi Park is from the Yasukuni Shrine. Cherry trees line the green walkway along the moat. One can view the cherry trees in full bloom on the other side of the moat by strolling along the walkway. A popular way of viewing the cherry blossoms is by renting a row boat or paddle boat from the Chidorigafuchi boat house and viewing the blossom covered cherry trees on both sides of the moat. In springs locals and visitors come to view the trees in full bloom and lighted up with LED lamps.

In a quiet corner of the Chidorigafuchi Park is the Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery established in 1959. It is a cemetery with monuments commemorating the Unknown Soldier where unclaimed bodies of military personnel and civilians who died in service to their country in World War II are buried. It covers an area of 16,500 square meters. The oldest body is buried under a ceramic coffin that has within it a gilded bronze urn in the shape of a tea jar. There is another monument that has a stone slab with a poem by the Showa Emperor inscribed on it.

Walking Tours in Tokyo, Japan

Create Your Own Walk in Tokyo

Create Your Own Walk in Tokyo

Creating your own self-guided walk in Tokyo is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Tokyo without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Tokyo, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 km
Ueno Park Walking Tour

Ueno Park Walking Tour

The Ueno Park, next to the Ueno station is a public park that offers visitors a large number of attractions. The area is home to many of the famous attractions in Tokyo. They are the Ueno Zoo, major museums like the Tokyo National Museum, The National Science Museum and The National Museum of Western Art. This walking tour would provide you an insight into old Tokyo. The museums here preserve the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 km
Tokyo Imperial Palace Walking Tour

Tokyo Imperial Palace Walking Tour

The Imperial Palace, residence of the Japanese Emperor was once the site of the Edo Castle in the 17th – 19th Century. Located in the heart of the city, it is a vast expanse of green and is surrounded by moats. The palace is open only for two days a year - January 1st and December 23rd. However, walking tours of the inner palace grounds is conducted on weekdays except on special occasions. Prior...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 km
Ginza Shopping Tour

Ginza Shopping Tour

Often compared with New York's Fifth Avenue, Ginza is a district situated in Chuo, Tokyo. It is known as one of the most luxurious shopping regions in Tokyo. The area is home to big department stores and almost all leading world brands have their presence here. Ginza is also famous for its bakeries and restaurants. The small allies leading off from the main road is lined with galleries...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 km
Best of Asakusa Walking Tour

Best of Asakusa Walking Tour

The Asakusa district in Tokyo is famous for the Senso-ji temple and is one of the few places in Tokyo that retains the old world charm. The temple markets, narrow streets, traditional shops and restaurants provide a glimpse of old Tokyo. It is also known as Tokyo's oldest geisha district. Take a walking tour and live the carnival atmosphere that pervades this place.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 km
Art Museums in Tokyo

Art Museums in Tokyo

Like any city that is steeped in history and culture, Tokyo too boasts of a rich collection of art. Art museums and galleries across the city have a rich repertoire of art pieces that are worth a view. These museums are great places to learn about Japanese art, culture and a lot more.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.6 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

Eclectic Bars of Tokyo

Eclectic Bars of Tokyo

Time to tap glasses and share laughs in Tokyo, a city of wondrous variety! In this app is an insider's guide to attractive drinking bars, and places nearby that are worthy experiences (theatres, shrines, shopping districts, etc). Each bar has been carefully chosen throughout this endless...
12 Must-Try Traditional Japanese Foods in Tokyo

12 Must-Try Traditional Japanese Foods in Tokyo

Cuisine is an integral part of any local culture, and no trip to Tokyo is complete without tasting the authentic, Tokyo-made Japanese food. This directory offers information about the traditional dishes and drinks available in Tokyo to help visitors better understand the local food culture and make...
Authentic Japanese Dining in Tokyo

Authentic Japanese Dining in Tokyo

Tokyo is home to literally a million eating places, so finding a truly authentic Japanese style restaurant with an English language menu can be rather tricky. We have compiled a list of easy to find Japanese style restaurants covering a range of culinary specialties to make your taste-buds tingle...
Tokyo Souvenirs: 18 Authentic Japanese Products to Buy in Tokyo

Tokyo Souvenirs: 18 Authentic Japanese Products to Buy in Tokyo

The list of the delights of Tokyo is long and being exposed to just some of them, at some point, can make one addicted (just as the Charles Winchester III character from the M.A.S.H. series). Still, you can always "prolong" the experience and enjoy the effects of it more, if bring home...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Tokyo for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Tokyo has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money getting around Tokyo and visiting the city's multiple highlights, you may want to resort to the Greater Tokyo Pass.

Among other conveniences, this pass allows bearer to explore Tokyo's metropolitan area with unlimited rides on railways of 12 private railway companies in Kanto area, as well as buses of 51 companies in metropolitan Tokyo and surrounding 3 prefectures for 3 days!

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Tokyo hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Toshi Center Hotel, The Capitol Hotel Tokyu.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Tokyo, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Tokyo typically costs somewhere between US$40+ and US$120 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of Tokyo from the open top of a bus listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get on and off at any of the stops along the route. The ticket is valid for one day (24 hrs).

- Attend a traditional tea ceremony, an integral part of Japanese culture, in Tokyo to perceive its sophisticated philosophy and to soak up the atmosphere and cultural highlights of this fascinating city with the help of a local guide on a jam-packed day of sightseeing in Japanese capital.

- Another good chance to absorb Tokyo's atmosphere within a shortest possible time is a 4-hour morning sightseeing tour embracing all of the city’s top highlights including major historic sights, shopping districts and otherwise colorful areas. Ideal for those on a first-time or short visit to Tokyo.

- Forget skyscrapers and transgress into the old-time, slow-paced Tokyo on a 3.5-hour guided walk through Yanaka, the historic part of the city dating back to the the Edo period, replete with charming temples and cherry blossom trees.

- Pedal your way around Tokyo on a 3-hour E-assist bike tour visiting the city's most spectacular sights and some hidden spots that you otherwise wouldn't have found or reached by public transport, stopping from time to time at some of the sights for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning interesting facts about the attractions en route from a knowledgeable group leader.

- No visit to Tokyo is complete without savoring authentic Japanese cuisine. Embark on a night food tour of Tokyo to appreciate the city’s nighttime culinary scene by getting a generous dollop of delectable local treats from selected pubs and restaurants under the watchful guidance of a local expert.

Day Trips

If you have a day to spare whilst in Tokyo, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like Mt Fuji and Lake Ashi, Nikko National Park, Kamakura and Tokyo Bay, or Hakone. For as little as circa US$100 to US$300 per person you will get a chance to discover highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites and Japan’s other most famous locations, explore the breathtaking countryside outside Tokyo including one of the best sightseeing spots in the country with lots of hot springs, visit the centuries-old center of Shinto and Buddhist mountain worship, see the Great Buddha statue, tour the ancient temples and scenic shrines, and more. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight from your hotel or a designated place in Tokyo, and transported either by a comfortable air-conditioned coach, bullet train (Shinkansen), boat, or a private vehicle (whichever is applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.