Japan’s capital is a fast-paced modern city with surprisingly peaceful corners – a place where the latest technology sits comfortably alongside ancient shrines. Currently covered in cherry blossoms, spring has already started.
Japan Airlines (website: www.jal.com) flies to Tokyo from London Heathrow. The airline operates direct flights from New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
The arrival of cherry blossoms, known as sakura, marks the start of the hanami (flower watching) festival, which represents a new beginning for many Japanese people. Outdoor parties and picnics, equipped with sake and karaoke, take place all over the city.
See the enormous skyscrapers amidst the neon lights of Shinjuku. With over two million passengers passing through each day, Shinjuku has the busiest train station in the world.
Explore the Meiji Shrine (website: www.meijijingu.or.jp), a perfect example of Shinto architecture. Tucked away in a forest, it is an unexpected retreat from the bright lights of the city centre.
Visit the Akihabara district to see the home of the gaming, manga and animation culture and buy the latest technologies in the many electrical shops.
Shop in Ginza, Tokyo’s upmarket district where real estate prices are at the country’s highest. Weekend afternoons are best, when the area becomes a pedestrian zone.
Eat fresh fish in Tsukiji fish market (website: www.tsukiji-market.or.jp), one of the largest in the world. Bustling even early in the morning, the market handles over 2,200 tons of seafood each day.
Visit an onsen (hot bubbling spring) to experience an essential part of Japanese life. Azabu Juban Onsen is a traditional bath hidden amongst the clutter of residential and office buildings in Roppongi.
Fresh fish is essential to Japanese cuisine. Try top quality sushi and sashimi in their birth place. Other popular dishes include tonkatsu (breaded and deep-fried pork cutlets) and tempura (fish and vegetables in a light batter). Crepes filled with fruit and ice cream can be eaten in Harajuku, an area popular with young people.
Did you know?
All of Tokyo’s borders are rivers.