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Tokyo

Tokyo is a city whose relative youth belies its size - today its estimated population is over 12 million. In fact only really in the last 60 years has it come to world prominance  - with its history of violence, earthquakes and upheaval its a miracle it has survived at all.

Tokyo actually consists of a number of different cities that each have their own special attractions. It is a vast conurbation situated on the banks of the Sumida River and spreading around the Tokyo-wan (Tokyo Bay) area. (Click here for a basic map of the Tokyo Bay area)

We have subdivided Tokyo in the following way, for ease of understanding

Akihabara has the largest concentration of electronics shops in the world. with some good discounts available

Asakusa in the heart of old Shitamachi (NE of city) is known for its temples - most notably the famous Senso -ji. 

Ginza has fabulous shopping opportunities for equally fabulous prices - it is an extremely busy place.

Marunouchi is the area to the west of Tokyo Station and is a major business district. The huge Imperial Palace grounds (left) is within easy reach of here.

Roppongi is the place to go to for nighlife, clubs and music. The city’s most cosmopolitan area is a magnet for young foreigners and locals alike.

Shibuya is north of the centre is a magnet for  Tokyo’s youth with its fashionable shops and restaurants. Also some good museums and temples.                                                                                 

Shinjuku , incorparting Harajuku,  is an area of corporate wealth and soaring skyscrapers by day and an entertainment zone by night. Centre of teen Tokyo, Yoyogi Park is in this district.

Most guides agree that the JR Yamanote line acts as an excellent method of viewing most of what Tokyo has to offer - the rail line loops around many of Tokyo’s attractions and even those that aren’t directly on the the line (eg Roppongi) are normally still within relatively easy access.

To get around Tokyo, the best advice has always been to use the subway system. Although it can take a little time to become familiar with it, it is by far the fastest and cheapest way to get around. For more info see the getting around section.

Among the highlights of Tokyo no one can afford to miss are: the Sony building in Akihabara, the Imperial Palace, the temples of  Asakusa, Korakuen Garden (pictured above), the sight of the sacred mountain of Fuji -san in early morning (rare most of the time due to the dust in the atmosphere), the Tuna auction at dawn in Tsukiji Market. If you can, try to see a Kabuki performance as well.

Tokyo is by no means a cheap city to visit. The general cost of living in Japan is among the highest in the world and prices in the capital are even higher then elsewhere in the country.

 

 

 
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