Tokyo is the perfect blend between ancient history and modern culture. It has gorgeous temples, towering skyscrapers, majestic mountains in the distance, and delicious cuisine. Located on the east coast in the middle of the island, Tokyo is the biggest metropolitan area in the world. With this much culture and history all in one place, it is easy to see why Tokyo is one of the top cities to visit on the planet.
What to Do
There is no shortage of activities to do while you are in Tokyo. For those of you wanting to experience the world-renowned cherry blossom season in Japan, there is a limited window in which to do so. All the more special for it’s short tenure, the beautiful natural phenomenon takes over Tokyo for two weeks each spring so be sure to plan accordingly if that is an item on your bucket list. If you want to see the sport of sumo, Tokyo is one of the top stages for it. Sumo wrestlers are like celebrities over there and they compete in tournaments and festivals all the time.
Tokyo’s largest park, Ueno Park, is home to plenty of museums and historical sites. These include the Tokyo National Museum, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, the National Museum of Western Art, and the Shitamachi Museum, among others. Senso-ji temple (the oldest one in the city), and the significant Sengakuji Temple and Meiji Shrine are just a few of the countless temples and shrines in Tokyo to visit. Ueno Zoo inside the park is home to hundreds of species both large and small and includes pandas, tigers, polar bears, elephants, and many more animals. Travelers can also spend an afternoon or evening at a picnic in the park or near the Tokyo skyline. Disney lovers have to check out the fun and colorful seven themed lands of Tokyo Disneyland.
What and Where to Eat
One of the world’s best cities of cuisine, Tokyo is a food lover’s paradise. One of the most interesting things about the Tokyo food scene is that it offers every regional cuisine and Japanese specialty. In addition, there are plenty of Italian, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, and French restaurants if you are interested in international cuisine. If you love ramen, Tokyo has every type and regional style available for you to try. The world’s largest fish market, Tsukiji Fish Market, brings in tons of sushi all the time that then gets delivered to some of the best sushi restaurants in the world. Japanese-style pubs, or izakayas, serve good sake and beer along with grilled fish, yakitori, sashimi, and vegetable dishes. The widest variety of restaurants are centered in the urban hubs of Tokyo. Some of the best ones are Ginza, Tokyo Station Area, Roppongi, Shinjuku, and Shibuya. Most choices can be found on restaurant floors of department stores, near train stations, and in office towers.
Where to Shop
Rather than simply being one big city, Tokyo is more like several cities connected by several subway and train systems. A train station and shopping district surrounds each urban area. Ginza, the first Western-style district, is home to big-name department stores and expensive boutiques. Tokyo Station Area is the place to shop for souvenirs and eat at restaurants. Akihabara is known as the geek gathering point as it is where you can find all kinds of manga, anime, hobby and pop culture shops, cameras, and electronics. Honestly, you can buy just about anything in Tokyo. With cameras, electronics, clothes, tea, antiques, pop culture goods, cookware, yukata (light summer robes), and Japanalia (ceramics, handicrafts, lacquerware, etc.) being the best goods to choose from, Tokyo is one of the great shopping centers in the world.
Where to Stay
As one of the biggest cities in the world, there are plenty of places to stay in Tokyo. When choosing a hotel, it is important to pick one in the part of the city where you want to be. The best places to stay in the city are Shibuya, Shinjuku, the Tokyo Station Area, Roppongi, or Ginza/Hibiya. Nihombashi, Shiodome, Hamamatsucho, and Shinagawa are other good places to be as well. There are accommodations to satisfy any budget as well as a wide selection of hotels to choose from. With boutique hotels, luxury resorts, budget rooms, guest houses, capsule hotels, and ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) to pick between, you are sure to find the perfect place. Happy travels!