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Tokyo Travel Guide

About Tokyo

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.

Key facts

Population:
12838000 (2008)
Latitude:
35.675865
Longitude:
139.769955

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Featured Hotels

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Claska Hotel

Modern minimalist design and classic Japanese aesthetics brush shoulders in this hip hotel, just outside of the city centre. There’s the chance to choose between a western–style room or traditional tatami space. Each option comes with plenty of home comforts, including beautiful toiletries and access to a huge CD and DVD collection. There’s even an in–house gallery, plus a French/Japanese fusion restaurant.

Hoshinoya Tokyo

Opened in the summer of 2016, Hoshinoya is a unique urban offering for Tokyo, a hotel with a contemporary take on Japan’s legendary omotenashi hospitality, set right at the heart of the city's Otemachi district. Leave your shoes at the door and unwind into spacious quarters, designed with a tasteful nod to the traditional Japenese aesthetic. The 19-floor hotel with stylish lattice exterior forms a bijou enclave in this bustling business district, just a 10 minute walk from Tokyo Station. You won't want to leave your ochanoma lounge area, allocated exclusively to guests staying on each floor and decked in traditional tatami mats, it has a library, sofas and kitchen space. But if you do the rooftop onsen spa is a truly unique Tokyo experience. The hot spring waters are the perfect cure for urban fatigue and will help you revitalise your body and mind, all the while staring up at the open Tokyo skies above.

Hotel Gracery Shinjuku

Set only a few minutes' walk from Shinjuku train station and in easy walking distance of a dizzying array of shops and restaurants, Gracery Shinjuku is something of a landmark - it's set in a modern high rise building that's 30 stories high, and there's a giant replica godzilla head peering out the side. If you're willing to pay extra, you can stay in a godzilla-themed room too. Though the rooms are compact, the bathrooms are larger than the norm and the higher rooms have scenic city views; there's also a convenient Italian restaurant on-site and a cinema on the ground floor.

Park Hyatt Tokyo

The Park Hyatt Tokyo's role as muse and backdrop to Coppola's Lost in Translation pushed it onto the world stage in 2003. Towering over fashionable Shinjuku, guests enter on the 41st floor and gaze across the neon-lit Tokyo sky. Art blends with sleek architecture and spacious rooms, and even the spa combines tradition and modernisation with impressive success. Plus, there's something to be said for working out in the gym that tormented Bill Murray.

Hotel Asia Center of Japan

Quite possibly offering the cheapest double rooms in central Tokyo, this hotel is ideal as as a central base for a short visit. Within walking distance of the ex-pat haven of Roppongi, and the restaurants and bars of Aoyama Itchome, guests are well placed for sightseeing.

Imperial Hotel

This 5-star luxury hotel in Vilnius and is set in a historic 16th-century building. Its great Old Town location, super helpful staff and 55 spotless rooms combine to make this a deservedly popular choice with business and leisure travellers alike.