Top things to do in Tokyo
From humble beginnings as a fishing village called Edo 800 years ago, Tokyo has evolved into a vibrant and exciting city offering one of the best immersive vacation experiences in the world. Tokyo is the modern capital of Japan and the Imperial Palace is a highlight of the attractions which are a living testament to the city’s trajectory through history.
A hop on hop off bus tour provides the ideal means of getting to grips with the city and the freedom to stop at any location at will. Temples, historic buildings and peerless monuments are a small percentage of Tokyo’s peerless draws. Sensoji in Asakusa is the city’s oldest temple and its regal structures epitomise everyone’s idea of a magic kingdom.
Taking in a sumo wrestling Tokyo bout or a show at the Kabukiza Theatre provide insightful glimpses into the city’s rich traditions. Tours of Tsukiji Fish Market, Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and Mt Fuji are easily arranged and among the numerous excursions on the itineraries of travel agencies in the city.
Odaiba is a man-made island in Tokyo Bay with attractions to suit every age group. An authentic replica of the Statue of Liberty, a 115-metre-high big wheel, Zepp nightclub and a shopping mall that could have been transported from Venice are among the enticements which lure millions of Tokyoites and visiting tourists every year.
Inage Seaside Park is along the shores of Tokyo Bay and offers all the fun of the seaside without the need of sampling the waters of the bay. Funabashi is another location with a seaside park and is close to Urayasu and the Tokyo Disneyland complex. Tokyo Disneyland is right next door to its sister park, Tokyo DisneySea.
Ueno Park in north Tokyo is a must for culture vultures as it is home to the flagships of the city’s museum portfolio. The Tokyo National, the National Science, the Western Art and the Tokyo Metropolitan Art museums in addition to Ueno Zoo are all contained within the confines of the park. The Ghibli Museum’s anime related exhibits are among numerous themed collections in Tokyo.
Festivals are another compelling reason to visit Tokyo. Sensoji Temple in Asakusa is the venue for the world-famous Sanja Matsuri Festival every May. In Japan, festivals are known as matsuri and Tokyo’s annual calendar is loaded up with them. Others include Sanno Festival and the biannual Kanda Festival. The Koenji Awa Odori Dance Fest and sakura cherry blossoms in spring are two other major events worth organising holiday dates for.
Shopping opportunities abound in Tokyo and it is rare for visitors to return home without bags full of souvenirs and goodies. Boutiques and high-end brand name outlets give visitors the opportunity of replenishing their wardrobe. Odaiba Island, Omotesando’s Oriental Bazaar and Nakamise are best for Japanese souvenirs while Akihabara is noted for its plethora of electronics shops. Shibuya is good for trendy clothing and accessories while Ginza’s department stores could occupy serious shoppers for days on end.
Nightlife and dining venues in Tokyo are diverse and provide something for every possible taste. Noodle shops are ubiquitous and kaitenzushi cafés are the ideal place to sample this unique Japanese speciality. Curries, US fast food and Korean dishes are three of the other plentiful dining options. Bars and nightclubs in Roppongi, Ginza, Shinjuku and Shibuya are worth investigating on nights out.
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