Ota Ward is totally fly. For starters, it hosts Haneda, the only airport actually situated in Tokyo's 23 wards. Although a plane would come in handy in navigating this southernmost and largest of the city's wards, you'd miss out on roasting wieners at Ota's weekend barbecue hot spot, Jonanjima Seaside Park.

On weekdays, locals laze around the park's boardwalk, plane-spotting the departures of Haneda's nearly 3,000 weekly domestic flights as they curve directly overhead.

Haneda pilots have nothing on the inhabitants of nearby Tokyo Port Wild Bird Park, near Ryutsu Center Station on the Tokyo Monorail. Urban planners have let this area of landfill go back to a (somewhat) natural state, and now it's "for the birds." Nature-lovers flock to watch for cormorants, gray herons, grebes and coots. Peering through one of the not-yet-stolen public telescopes (the remaining two are chained in place), I caught sight of a massive female goshawk, a raptor usually found in mature forests. "She's often here," a photographer remarked, adjusting his meter-long telephoto lens.