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TOKYO HIGHLIGHTS Print E-mail

tokio-by-nightTokyo is a really big city, may be the largest city in the world. The city consists of 23 different inner cities (ku), 26 suburban ones (shi), five towns (chō), eight villages (mura), over 300 islands, two major island chains, and various other bits, each with their own special attractions. Tokyo has been the capital of Japan since 1868 when it replaced the old capital of Kyoto (just north of Osaka, the 2nd largest city in Japan). Tokyo was previously called Edo before it became the capital.

  • Tokyo is home to more than 17 million people in the day time and 12 Million during the night.
  • Akasaka is the posh high class district which is home to over 3725 companies.
  • Akihabara has the largest concentration of electronics shops in the world. There are good deals to be found. Most shops have English speaking staff.  Foreign visitors can get refunds for taxes paid.
  • tokyo-tower-ggAsakusa is famous for its temples and pagoda.  Across the river you can see the Asahi Beer building.  It's the cube-shaped black building with the gold *thingy* on top. Enjoy the view but if you want to drink and eat some food the restaurant on the ground floor of that building can perfectly accommodate you.
  • Ginza has fabulous shopping opportunities for equally fabulous prices. It is an extremely busy place. Apple's first retail outlet is located in Ginza.  The Mac Store has English speaking staff & 4 floors of that computer cult culture for all to enjoy. Harajuku Takeshita-dori is a high school girl's dream street.  With cheap fashions abounding and sickly sweet crepes made Japanese style guaranteed to rot your teeth and add buxom to your fashion vocabulary.  On the other side of the spectrum, continue to Omotesando, the fashion avenue, with names like Armani, DKNY, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and Christian Dior to name a few, fashion is everywhere!
  • Ikebukuro was once a rather seedy area but has been moving upscale. The massive station contains plenty of shops, and the Sunshine 60 tower. West and northwest of the station is an area of bars and restaurants. Rikkyo University, a major private university with pleasant, ivy-covered, old, red, brick buildings, is in the area and contributes to the youth and liveliness.
  • Marunouchi is the area around the huge Imperial Palace. The newly renovated Marunouchi Building is filled with spectacular dining opportunities.
  • Roppongi is the place to go to for foreigner-centric nightlife. Filled at night with energy, people from around the world walk in search of fun and excitement. This part of Tokyo never sleeps. Adult entertainment, a play ground of sorts is yours for the enjoyment. Shibuya is north of the center and has shrines and trendy shops.  With its neon, traffic, and huge tv screens, it resembles New York City's Times Square. This is the center of youth fashion for the affluent Japanese teenager.  Styles change weekly with hip designers along side more established names in the big *deppato* Great food awaits visitors who venture into mid-range Izakaya.  Traditional Japanese food is very healthy, light and nutritious!
  • festival-sakouraShinagawa is a stop on the Tokaido Shinkansen amongst other train lines. It is less frantic than more central parts of Tokyo, but is well connected via the JR Yamanote line, the Tokaido line, the Keihin Tohoku line, the Keihin Kyuko line and the Yokosuka line. It is a good base to use to visit Japan, with a quieter location, and many international hotels right across the street. There is also an Outbacks restaurant just up the street too. Shinagawa has recently become a large business base with all the new high rise buildings that have sprung up over the past several years.
  • Shinjuku offers good shopping facilities and high skyscrapers. Famous for the movie-famed hotel in "Lost in Translation" and Takashimaya Department store's flagship location. TIMES SQUARE. Shinjuku station is the busiest in the world.
  • Ueno has a beautiful park, some museums and temples. Ueno station used to be the entry point to Tokyo for the folks from the northern provinces.
    To get from one end to the other, the best thing to do is to use the metro system. Although it takes some time to get used to it, it is by far the fastest and cheapest way to get around.

naos-asakousaAmong the highlights of Tokyo no one can afford to miss are:

  • the Sony building in Ginza,
  • the Imperial Palace,
  • the temples of Asakusa,
  • Shinjuku Gyoen park in Shinjuku, Meiji Shrine,
  • Korakuen Garden,
  • the sight of the sacred mountain of Fuji in early morning (mainly visible during winter.
  • A good spot is from top of Government Building in Shinjuku "the To cho" long vowels).
  • If you can, try to see a Kabuki performance as well.
  • The Tsukiji Fish Market is worth seeing but you have to be there by 7:00 am at the latest to see merchants buying tuna by auction to be served in restaurants later that day.
  • Also children enjoy spending a day at Toyko Disneyland.

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