Tokyo Destination Guide
If New York is the city that never sleeps, then Tokyo is the city that never stops. A buzzing 24-hour town of bright lights, towering skyscrapers and an endless array of entertainment, Tokyo tourism is all about losing yourself in this dizzying metropolis. From the temples of Asakusa to the youth mecca that is Harajuku and the electronics hub of Akihabara, there are simply not enough hours in the day to experience everything Tokyo has to offer. Simply drink in the culture of one of the world's most exciting cities, where 21st Century technology mixes with old-world charm in the breathtakingly diverse capital of Japan.
A sprawling conurbation of more than 35 million inhabitants, Tokyo's countless attractions are spread far and wide. One of the most recognisable is Tokyo Tower – a soaring Eiffel Tower-inspired telecommunications hub which is one of the city's most recognisable landmarks. A more recent addition to the skyline is the newly built Tokyo Skytree in Sumida – now the tallest building in a city packed with towering skyscrapers. For a touch of Tokyo's historic past take a boat ride down the Sumida River to atmospheric Asakusa and the popular Senso-ji temple. The sprawling Imperial Palace in Chiyoda and the picturesque Meiji Shrine in Shibuya are similar reminders of Tokyo's historic past.
A haven for food lovers, Tokyo has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in the world. However Tokyo restaurants don't have to break the bank and there are enough cheap noodle bars, sushi restaurants and department store options to keep even the most money-conscious of visitors satisfied. There is no one central hub for restaurants – simply peruse the streets until something takes your fancy. If you feel like a drink head straight to an 'izakaya' – the Japanese equivalent of a traditional pub, where you can sample delicious morsels to your heart's content. The range of drinking establishments in Tokyo is simply mind-boggling and the city is home to some of the finest whiskey bars anywhere in the world.
Tokyo hotels can be expensive, particularly in the high-end range. A cheaper option is to stay in one of the ubiquitous business hotels dotted throughout the city. Whatever your choice, the nightlife hubs of Shinjuku and Shibuya are popular places to stay – be sure to check out the hotbed of humanity that is the neon-lit Shibuya Crossing after dark. For a uniquely Japanese experience you can spend a night in a capsule hotel, some of which now include women-only floors. Representing the other end of the scale are the luxury hotels in the upscale neighbourhood of Akasaka and clustered around vibrant western Shinjuku.
If you want to shop 'til you drop then Tokyo is the place for you. Tokyo shops run the gamut from cheap 100-yen stores to the most upscale of luxury department stores. Some items are synonymous with certain parts of the city. Akihabara is the place to find not only electronics but also 'manga' comics. For fashion, try Shibuya and youth-oriented Harajuku – where you'll see thousands of teenagers displaying their outrageous fashion sense outside the stores. The upscale Ginza is home to some of the more exclusive fashion outlets but if that doesn't strike your fancy, simply hop on a train and head elsewhere – there's a chance to shop around practically every corner in Tokyo.
Tokyo like a Local
A trip to Tokyo Disneyland is the quintessential way to experience the city like a local. When the weather in Tokyo warms up, lovestruck Japanese couples head straight for the Disney Resort Line to visit Disneyland or its neighbouring theme park Tokyo DisneySea. A trip to one of the Disney resorts on Valentine's Day is a quirky Japanese tradition for many young Japanese couples. However, you don't need to wait until February to experience the magic of Disney – the resorts are open year-round, though they get especially busy during the hot summer months.