Tokyo, Japan’s Animated City of Contrasts
Tokyo is, in one word, intense. An ultramodern metropolis with a timeless soul, Japan’s capital intrigues, thrills and constantly surprises. Choose from karaoke and capsule hotels, Michelin star restaurants and cramped by-lanes offering delicious street food! From stunning neon cityscapes to lush green spaces, and futuristic techno-havens to ancient, traditional shrines, Tokyo simply has it all – and now, even the 2020 Olympics! But you don’t have to wait until then to visit this phenomenal Japanese city and enjoy a slice of its life.
A constant dynamic energy streaks through the city, carrying its people in its vibrant wake. Start your day early and feel this throbbing pulse at the bustling Tsukiji Market, the world’s largest, busiest wholesale fish market, to catch the tuna auction and a delicious sushi breakfast. Capture a glimpse of a sea of humanity at the Shibuya Station intersection, when the signal brings forth a surge of people crossing the road from all quarters! While you’re in the area, venture into Shibuya 109, a much-favoured shopping destination or walk further down to Harajuku, another shopping haven that’s also great for people watching, bold fashions and historic sites.
When to visit
That’s up to you, although we feel that springtime is the most beautiful, when the delicate fragrance of the Sakura permeates the city, or autumn, when Tokyo blazes with the spectacular colours of its fall foliage.
If you’d much rather have a quiet picnic in Zen-like surroundings, then head to the picturesque gardens surrounding the Imperial Palace, or catch a restful nap under the exquisite cherry blossoms at Yoyogi Kōen. You’ll also find the Meiji Shrine here, a popular place for traditional Japanese weddings. The red Sensō-ji Temple in Asakusa is Japan’s oldest and grandest, and a must-visit.
Carry on to Akihabara, the acclaimed geek paradise filled with mega-tech departmental stores offering the latest gizmos and gadgets, also home to Japan’s Otaku culture of anime and manga. But don’t stop here! Try the Robot Restaurant for a surreal experience or check into a manga kissa or comics café for a date with unlimited comics and soft drinks! If you love cats, pet these furry feline friends at the cat café in Takadanobaba. After all, it’s Tokyo – imagine it, and you’ll find it!
The city still beckons, so ride the monorail across the bay to Odaiba Island and pose for a picture with the Rainbow Bridge in the background, or with the Statue of Liberty that stands on Odaiba’s man-made beach. Also include some time for sumo wrestling, tea ceremonies, pop art and Japanese art that Tokyo boasts.
If you’re hungry from all the touring, there are unlimited food options to satisfy your palate. Right from vending machines to street food to Michelin star restaurants, Tokyo gives you exactly what you want. If you’re looking for an unforgettable gastronomic experience, try the celebrated 7-seat Tapas Molecular Bar, offering a menu that is theatrical, fanciful and delicious.
Tokyo extends a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds and experiences and it’s next to impossible to soak them all in, in one day. If you stick around longer, you won’t be disappointed – especially since Tokyo doesn’t represent a single culture, but is a melange of several districts that each reflect their unique personality. Be there, to experience the wonder first-hand.
What to do
– Visit the Edo-Tokyo Museum and the Tokyo National Museum
– Enjoy the outdoors at Odaiba
– Experience spirituality at the Meiji Shrine
– Revisit childhood at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea