Tokyo: Destination Spotlight

Tokyo, the capital of Japan is the most densely populated city in the world.

Tokyo comprises 47 prefectures, 23 central city wards, many satellite towns and villages and also Ogasawara and Izu Islands. The bustling capital offers travellers a superb choice of hotels, entertainment venues, cultural sites and shopping options.

Tokyo boasts many historic temples, beautifully arranged gardens and fantastic museums.

The city has an impressive skyline with neon lights and skyscrapers, futuristic technology, impressive architecture and a well-organized but packed transport system.

This lovely city believes in traditions –  there is almost no crime or public litter and the overall atmosphere is calm and peaceful.

A fabulous travel destination, Tokyo is the right place for foodies who can find everything from soba to sushi. The city is famous for the highest number of restaurants with Michelin stars in the world.

Tokyo is also a haven for shopaholics – there is something for everyone.

The Best Time to Visit Tokyo

Tokyo is a year-round travel destination.  However, in January and February the weather can be quite cold; and in July and August it can be very hot and humid.

Many consider the best time to visit Tokyo is the period between late April and early May when the cherry trees blossom.  Alternatively, consider the period between September and December when the sky is clear and the days are warm. Try wherever possible to avoid the national holidays and the first week of the new year.

Getting to Tokyo

The city is serviced by two main airports – Haneda and Narita. The majority of international flights arrive at Haneda Airport.  This airport is connected to all the main stations and central parts of the city through the JR Narita Express train, which offers great prices on return tickets. As a general statement, taxis are quite expensive.

Narita Airport is centrally located and much closer, yet it services fewer international flights.  Its main traffic is domestic flights. Connection to the city is through the Monorail and the fares are not expensive.

Getting around Tokyo

Tokyo’s public transport system is very easy navigate and use. The staff is friendly, the trains run on time and there are signs in English. The most popular line for travellers is the green one – JR Yamanote, which stops at all major sites. You will need a single travel ticket or a prepaid and rechargeable PASMO card that can be used on all buses, trains and subway lines.

If taxis are your preferred form of transportation, passengers are treated to gloved taxi drivers who open and close the doors for them. However, not all taxi drivers speak English and communication can be tricky.  It’s a good idea to have the address and phone number of your hotel written in Japanese in case you need help communicating your destination.  Bear in mind too, that taxi drivers should not be tipped.

Where to Start

Tokyo is a huge city. Good places to start exploring are the old neighborhood Asakusa with its temples and museums or Ueno Park.  If it’s shopping that you’re interested in try Omotesando and Harajuku, then Marunouchi with its restaurants, large shopping malls, and luxury hotels.  If you’re after a quieter pace, perhaps try the residential area Daikanyama with its nice cafes and fashion boutiques.

 Tokyo Attractions

Tokyo has it all – skyscrapers and temples, large departments stores, various indoor and outdoor attractions. The best way to see as many of them as possible is to make a good plan.

 Here are a few suggestions …

Tokyo Skytree – the tallest freestanding tower in the world, higher than 2000 ft. It was opened in 2012 and features many shops and restaurants, fast elevators and two viewing platforms to enjoy the city views.

Nezu Museum – a lovely museum with pebble walkways and walls of bamboo, presenting exhibitions of pre-modern Asian arts like paintings and calligraphy, tea ceremonies and bamboo crafts. The museum features a lush garden of greenery with nice ponds and teahouses.

Sensoji – the oldest Buddhist temple in the city and a great place to feel the atmosphere of old Tokyo. It is situated in what once was a major geisha area and features a lovely market that sells beautiful Japanese crafts.

Sumo tournament – sumo is the national sport of Japan. There are three sumo tournaments per year – in January, May, and September, with each one lasting for 15 days. They are held in the Kokugikan arena and a great way to experience Japanese sporting culture.  Tournament schedules start early in the morning and go through until early evening.

Hotaluna & Himiko cruise – these boats are characterized by high-tech lighting and curved glass windows that offer a trip across Tokyo Bay. There are many water buses, yet these two are the most famous ones. Each boat has three departures per day.

Oedo Onsen Monogatari – a hot spring bath is the finest way to relax in Japan. This place has been inspired by the 17th and 19th Century Edo era in Japan and features 13 types of indoor and outdoor baths, divided by gender, massage treatments, food stands and live performances.

Karaoke – Japanese love karaoke and this is one of the most popular recreational activities. There are many karaoke venues in Tokyo – rooms with large screens and karaoke machines, as well as some musical instruments. A visit to one of them is a must for every traveller.

The Ancient Capital of Japan Kamakura – this seaside location is one hour’s train ride from Tokyo. It is home to a lovely community that is focused on organic food and surfing. Here you will also find ancient temples, beaches and green mountains.

Ueno Park – a fantastic location that brings together an eclectic mix of gardens, museums, lotus ponds and a zoo with pandas.

Tsukiji fish market – this is the biggest fish market in the world and it is a great experience.  Get up early to see how it functions before sunrise. It has a tuna auction and fantastic sea creatures. It is also home to the oldest museum in the country – Tokyo National Museum, where you can see many artifacts and samurai swords. The major attraction though are the blooming cherry trees in spring.

Final words

Tokyo is among the busiest and most bizarre cities on the planet. The choice of things to see and do is endless which is sure to a guarantee an awesome adventure.

Now you’ve got some great ideas for your trip, don’t forget to arrange travel insurance as soon as you’ve made a booking. Get a quote today or call one of our friendly team on 1300 819 888 to discuss your requirements.

 

 

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