A hop-on hop-off bus tour of Tokyo is perfect for visiting the main sites. Three different routes have stops at locations including Asakusa Temple, Ueno Park, Odaiba Island, Roppongi and Akihabara. One- or two-day passes are available, valid for 24 or 48 hours after first use.
A standard day tour of the city visits the landmark Sensoji is the most famous structure at the Asakusa Temple complex. Entering Sensoji Asakusa Temple via the fantastic Kaminarimon Gate evokes images of the historic era of shoguns. The other main structures in the temple grounds are a multi-tiered pagoda, Kannon prayer hall and a secondary arched gate, Hozomon. Nakamise-Dori is the street leading in from Kaminarimon gate and it is lined with colourful knick-knack stalls.
Tsukiji Fish Market sits on the banks of the Sumida River and is one of the world’s biggest food markets. While parts of the market are barred to the public, other areas are not and taking in a tuna auction or a sushi breakfast are high on the agendas of visitors. Most Tsukiji vendors speak Japanese only and a guided tour allows visitors to get around the language barrier and gain more insights.
Although the inner sanctum of the Imperial Palace Tokyo is only open to visitors on two days of the year, the gardens are accessible and can be visited as part of a tour group. The tours follow a route from Kokyo Gaien Square and around the gardens with stops at Nijubashis and Meganebashi bridges.
The tradition of sumo wrestling date back hundreds of years and were originally performed in honour of Shinto gods. The Japan Sumo Association controls the national sport and limits tournaments to six times a year. Three sumo wrestling Tokyo tournaments are held at Kokugikan Stadium in January, May and September. Audiences delight in the sudden-death finishes to bouts as the winner is only required to land any part of his opponent’s body on the salt and sand coated clay podium.
Tokyo Disneyland is one of Tokyo’s premier family draws and the chance of a ride on the Western River Railroad or joining the Pirates of the Caribbean for a boat cruise are two of countless highlights. Stage shows are changeable but tend to include Mickey's Rainbow Luau and Super-Duper Jumpin' Time. Minnie and Minnie plus other Disney characters are on hand to greet guests while neighbouring DisneySea ensures youngsters want to come back the very next day.
Mt Fuji is Japan’s best known sight and around two hours by tour bus or car from Tokyo. At 3,776 metres high, it is Japan’s tallest peak and is visible from Tokyo on fine days. As it is so high, Fuji’s peak is layered in snow for a significant part of the year. Keen climbers can ascend via four different routes, while there are hiking routes on the lower slopes for those who wish to do something that is not so arduous. Obviously an organised tour is obligatory.
Mt Fuji comes under the jurisdiction of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. As well as Fuji, the park has multiple enticements to visit. Iwachi and the Izu Peninsula are Japan’s answer to the French Riviera and famed for their innate beauty. Riding the Hakone Ropeway, paragliding, bathing in an onsen hot spring and beautiful blooming trees are key draws here. Sakura trees flower in spring and susuke grass flowers in autumn.