City Discovery: Flying Fish, Spiritual Sumo and Amazing Anime in Tokyo

Discover Tokyo!

The most metropolitan area in the world, Tokyo was originally called Edo but was renamed in 1868 when the city became the official capital. The name Tokyo actually means “Eastern Capital.”

Taking place every March in Tokyo is AnimeJapan, formerly known as Tokyo International Anime Fair, an annual trade show. As the largest animation event in the world, it gives animation fans and professionals a wonderful opportunity to interact and learn about new trends and developments in animation industry.

Don’t miss these Discovery Compass activities in Tokyo…

Intercultural experiences highlight exposure with the local culture, promoting a multilateral exchange of ideas, language and opinions.

Take a stop at the Tsukiji Fish Market. The Tsukiji Fish Market is the largest, busiest fish market in the world. To experience the best that the market has to offer, arrive early, really early. The market’s live tuna auctions begin around 5 a.m. and are not to be missed. Not all auctions are open to the public, however, and when they are, only a limited number of public access spots are available, 120 to be exact.

Experience Shibuya Crossing. Just imagine a human version of a tidal wave and you’ve got Shibuya Crossing. This is the most famous intersection in Tokyo and is definitely a must see/do. Just be aware of when the traffic signals turn red, because the flood of people into and across the streets may sweep you away. It is organized chaos.

ISA excursions and cultural activities highlight historical parts of the local culture to help students better understand their new environment.

Enjoy a Sumo match. There is more to Sumo that just large men running into each other. The tradition of sumo dates back centuries and is laced with Shinto rituals. The pageantry of a sumo event is hard to describe and is best experienced in person. 15-day Grand tournaments take place three times per year, typically in January, May, and September and are not to be missed.

Visit the Ghibli Museum. This museum features the work and famous Japanese animation movies from Studio Ghibli and it’s famous co-founder, Hayao Miyazaki.

Sociopolitical discovery highlights social and political activities or experiences.

Visit the Imperial Palace. The palace is the main residence of the emperor of Japan and encompasses just over 1.25 square miles in the middle of the city. The property consists of the main palace, the private residences of the imperial family, an archive, museum, and administrative offices.

Enjoy the Meiji Shrine. This is Tokyo’s most famous Shinto shrine and is dedicated to the Japanese emperor who opened Japan to the West in the late 19th century. The gate to the 200-acre park is 40-feet-high and made of 1,500-year-old cypress.

Professional experiences provide exposure to professional development opportunities during an ISA program.

Develop your international business competency by learning about Japanese Business culture and its unique manners/customs. Doing business in western societies is much different than doing business in Japan. By learning about the country’s business culture, traditions and customs, you’ll be better set to enjoy a successful career doing business in Japan.

While there is no structured volunteer program offered, any student truly interested in volunteering while in Tokyo can work with the ISA Tokyo staff to find different opportunities. Students simply present different organizations or areas that interest them and the Tokyo staff can help you figure out how to get involved.

Environmental experiences expose students to different environmental aspects of the host country.

Take an excursion to Mt. Takao, a popular nature and hiking spot. There are a number of hiking trails that take visitors up the mountain through the picturesque scenery to the summit that offers views of Mt. Fuji on a clear day.

Enjoy the city’s Cherry Blossom Festivals. From mid to late March through Mid April, the city of Tokyo takes on a slightly pink hue with the arrival of the city’s famous cherry blossoms. Be sure to visit one of the various festivals taking place throughout the city.

Learn more about Tokyo culture and customs and how to start your study abroad experience in Japan.

The 2015 City Discovery Series aims to showcase one of ISA’s program locations each week. Facts about each location and Discovery Compass activity examples are given, highlighting the areas of Intercultural, Historical, Sociopolitical, Professional and Environmental discovery. The Discovery Compass aims to help students have the best possible study abroad experience by helping them to gain a better understanding of the local environment, customs and people through a variety of experiences.


Author: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world. ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in 73 program locations throughout the world.

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