The capital of Japan is a multinational city with strong influences from different cultures. Skyscrapers and contemporary buildings are positioned side by side in business districts. In contrast in other suburban districts people are more laid back and appreciate the calmness.
Due to the variation of the Japanese climate many tourists prefer to go there during spring when the cherry trees blossom, turning the area into heaven. Museums, architectural sites and sculptures makes the city the perfect destination for art lovers and this is definitely the place to go if you want to experience a high-technology city. The Japanese sushi culture has spread all over the world but here in Tokyo you will find a different appreciation as it is made to perfection, with presentation is carefully articulated
Tokyo has got two main airports. When flying from Australia you will most likely arrive at Narita Airport which is located 70 kilometres outside of Tokyo. The second one is Haneda Airport which is the busiest airport in Asia, mainly focusing on domestic flights. Haneda Airport is located 14 kilometres outside the city centre. There is an express railway between the two airports, which is convenient for initiating connecting flights within Japan. There are also trains departing regularly from both airports to the city centre, and this is probably the most convenient way of transportation to the city due to the risk of heavy traffic. Taxis and buses are other options but most tourists prefer to go by train, which is the fastest transportation.
For local transportation, buses and subway operates throughout the whole city, with as many as 13 different subway lines operated by two companies, Toei Subways and Metro. Visit their websites to see if they operate your preferred route.
Places to visit
- Ueno park – The park is situated in the district of Ueno, known for its many cultural sites. Some of Tokyo’s most popular museums are situated in this area. The Ueno Park is a large public park which attracts tourists all year round. Most people visit the park during spring to witness the cherry trees blossom. The park was founded in 1873 and is now Japans most popular urban park with over 10 million visitors each year.
- Imperial palace – If you are lucky to be in Tokyo when the palace is open, a visit is a must. The palace is only open twice a year for visitors since it’s the home for the Imperial family. During the Emperor´s birthday, on the 23rd of 12/and the New Years celebrations on 2nd of January people are allowed to enter the inner palace where the members of the Imperial family wave to the crowd.
- Imperial Palace East Gardens – the gardens surrounding the palace are open to the public all year. Experience the beautiful area and see the moats and walls protecting the palace.
- Sensoji Temple – the Buddhist temple is Tokyo´s oldest temple and still one of the most important in Japan. During a couple of days in late spring the temple becomes the main attraction during the yearly Shinto Festival.
Leisure and activities
- Tsukiji market – also known as the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market. Even if it is possible to buy most goods at the market it is mostly known for the fish. Situated in the city centre it has been one of Tokyo´s major tourist attractions for a long time. The inner market is the most spectacular where the fish are sold by auction. Some fish are sold for several hundreds of thousand dollars. The outer market offers a large variety of goods, mainly food.
- Disneyland Tokyo – the giant theme park was built in 1983 and is now the worlds third most visited theme park. Disneyland Tokyo consists of seven different areas; four of them influenced by classic Disney characters.
- Mount Fuji via the bullet train – the beautiful Mount Fuji is a must see from Tokyo. Most tourists travel there by Shinkansen Bullet Train, to see the best parts of the area. There is also a cable car that takes people up the mountain.
- Boat cruises – there are several different companies offering boat cruises to see as much of Tokyo as possible. Sit back and relax while seeing the major sights and the city from the waterside.
- Sumo wrestling – there are three yearly tournaments in Tokyo and if you´re lucky to be in the city during this time, make sure you don’t miss it. Otherwise, it is possible to view a Sumo training session at one of the sumo stables, the mornings are known to be the best time to watch.
- Tokyo Tower – the tower was influenced by the Eifel Tower in Paris, but was built 6 metres higher to become the world’s largest lattice tower. Visitors 05/visit the two observation decks to enjoy the views over the city. Beneath the tower there are restaurants, museums and other entertainment.
Places to eat
Japanese cuisine is known all over the world, mainly for sushi. Sushi culture in Japan differs from the rest of the world in. Japanese people value the presentation of food as much as the taste, which you will notice in all restaurants where fish or vegetables are made into small pieces of artwork. Sushi is offered in all areas of Tokyo, in both luxury and take away restaurants. Teppanyaki is alao popular each table has its own chef who prepares the meal you´ve ordered, often with great theatrics.
Tokyo is a multinational city that offers all different cuisines; Italian, American, Chinese and many more, so you will definitely find what you´re craving for.
The area of Roppongi offers a large variety of bars and clubs for all tastes. The district gets really crowded with both locals and tourists during night. Roppongi is known to be Tokyo’s best party district, which mostly attracts young people as well as celebrities. Other areas that are crowded with bars and clubs are Shibuya, Ginza, Shinjuku and Akasaka, but Roppongi is still the most famous.
Remember that the drinking age is 20 in Japan and all clubs check ID at the door.
City for kids
As mentioned above, Disneyland Tokyo is a must for kids. Even if you have a whole day at the theme park you won´t have time to see it all. The Ueno Park is also a good place for a relaxing and entertaining day for the kids and in the same area you will find Ueno Zoo, which is Japan´s oldest zoo. For the older kids the Fire Museum is an interesting museum, as well as the National Museum of Nature and Science, which is suitable for the whole family.
If you want to shop while travelling with kids, most department stores offer special play areas for children of all ages. Some of them offer baby-sitting services while parents go shopping.
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