The archetypal Asian metropolis, Tokyo is a heady blend of the futuristic and traditional. From neon signs to Shinto shrines, this is a city of true sensory overload.
The sheer size of Tokyo means you’ll never run out of things to see and do. Start by scaling the 634m-high (2,080 ft) Sky Tree, the world’s second tallest structure after Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. On a clear day you can see the whole Tokyo metropolitan area and as far as Mount Fuji.
Anime lovers should take the train to the suburb of Mitaka to visit the stunning Studio Ghibli museum. Replete with classic characters from the films of Hayao Miyazaki, it offers an amazing insight into modern Japanese culture. Afterwards, head back to Shinjuku Station and lose yourself in the maze of shops and restaurants underneath this vast, ultra modern terminal.
Set your alarm to see Tsukiji Market come to life in the pre-dawn hours. The world’s largest fish market is the place to eat the best sushi of your life at knockdown prices, but if the queues for the poky restaurants get too much, check out the ace tempura stands instead.
Go shopping in high-end Ginza or try and fit in with the cool kids in ultra-hip Harajuku. The latter is the best place to see Tokyo’s most out there, cosplay fashions.
Grab a beer with the city’s salarymen in any of the small Izakaya’s around Shibuya Station, or sink shochu or sake in the tiny bars which hide behind curtains down every alleyway in the centre of the city. Then hit a karaoke bar or practice your gaming skills in the countless, skull-thumping arcades of Akihabara.
Be sure to kick back in an onsen, the public baths where locals love to go for a gossip after a long day in the office. And take time to visit incense-shrouded shrines and get a minute’s peace away from the throb of the city.
As the 2020 Olympics loom, Tokyo’s popularity is certain to boom further. Get there now to see why it remains one the world’s most captivating cities.