Tokyo is a one of a kind city that truly stands out in the world.
(Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn via flickr.com / CC BY)
This hub of exuberance is home to more than 13 million people, but is always welcoming to those visiting with unparalleled friendliness and enthusiasm. Perhaps that’s what their tourism has nearly quadrupled in the past decade, increasing 50% in the past two years alone.
Japan’s capital city is an exuberant, odd, and utterly delightful blend of modern, futuristic, and the traditional, and is truly one of the most unique cities on Earth.
Tokyo is perfect for the adventurous travelers who like everything from the eccentric city life to the sublime outdoors.
What to Do:
The inner city is a bustling metropolis of life and energy, with some of the world’s finest shopping, restaurants, and museums to spend your days exploring.
Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing- the busiest intersection in the world
If you only visit one museum, make it the Tokyo National Museum. This sprawling gallery is Japan’s oldest museum and is home to captivating relics and artwork that truly tell the story of the Japanese people and their history.
To stay in a historic mood, visit the Shinto Meji Shrine or Buddhist Sensoji Temple. The impressive Imperial Palace is wonderful visit as well, but be sure to arrange your tickets well in advance as they strictly limit the amount of people allowed in each day.
Tokyo is world renowned for its shopping and its food. For the fashionistas, Shibuya is THE area to peruse all the very latest in fashion, with local boutiques and high-end fashion houses lining the streets, while Ginza is a huge draw for those looking for the upscale experience, similar to New York’s 5th Avenue.
Ginza is also home to some of the world’s best sushi; though don’t discount the incredibly fresh and inexpensive sushi and sashimi you’ll found by the Tsukiji Fish Market. Street food is wildly popular and a must-try for any visitor, with options ranging from Raman to ice cream-filled Japanese crepes. Just don’t eat and walk, it’s considered rude!
Street food is a vibrant part of the Tokyo eating experience; Takoyaki is a local favorite with vendors throughout the city selling this snack.
(Photo credit: clry2 via flickr.com / CC BY)
And if you’re looking for nightlife that embraces the ‘weird’, Shinjuku and Roppongi are the destinations that you simply must experience. Fear not if you’re traveling with your family, Tokyo isn’t just an adults-only paradise; Disneyland is right within city limits for the young and young at heart to enjoy.
When to Go:
Tokyo has four distinct seasons, and despite summer being hands-down the peak tourist season, many prefer to visit when heat and crowds are far less of a factor.
Autumn brings fall foliage that is particularly spectacular with temperatures staying warm and mild from September to November.
Spring is also especially lovely, particularly if you’re interested in seeing the green spaces in full bloom during cherry blossom season from late March to early April. The beloved Inokoshira Park is notably spectacular during this time.
Also during spring is Golden Week, the Japanese Nation Holiday that runs from April 29th-May 5th every year. Keep in mind that while many leave the city during this time, you may also find much larger crowds at popular tourist attractions.
If you’re interested in climbing the breathtaking Mt. Fuji, the open season is July and August. But if you simply want to enjoy it up close and in luxury, stay a night or two at a hot spring resort at the foot of the mountain, like Ikaho Onsen or Minakami any time of the year.
Even winter in Tokyo isn’t that cold, rarely dipping below 40 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and crowds will be at a minimum. Though be wary of traveling around New Year’s, for several days surrounding the holiday many museums and restaurants will be closed.
Few times are as celebrated and magical as when Tokyo’s cherry blossoms are in full bloom
(Photo credit: Yoshikazu TAKADA via flickr.com / CC BY)
How to Get Started
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