January 2018


Exciting Tokyo
January 2018




Bird's-eye view of Tokyo city, a memorable travel destination
© Elle Harris

Few cities initially feel as overwhelming as Tokyo. The building lights seemingly stretch out infinitely, while hundreds of people navigate through hubs such as Shibuya and Shinjuku. Yet what makes the capital of Japan and the biggest city in the world such a memorable destination is the sheer variety of places you'll find within the metropolis. Every neighbourhood boasts its own character - from the trendy fashion stores of Harajuku to the temple-filled streets of Nihonbashi to the anime-and-electronics heaven that is Akihabara. There's something for everyone, if you explore.


Words: Patrick St. Michel


Stunning Views

Tokyo doesn't lack tall buildings, offering breathtaking views of the Japanese city. The tallest in the capital is Tokyo Sky Tree, stretching 634m into the sky. Using an elevator to the observation deck, visitors can enjoy splendid views of the city and Sumida river that bends its way through the metropolis down to Tokyo Bay.


On the other side of town, visitors can see the bustling Shinjuku district in all its splendour from the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Besides the view, the big benefit of this spot is that the access to the 45th floor viewing deck is free of charge.


No need to go sky-high. The base of Tokyo Sky Tree features dozens of stores selling local souvenirs, including shops devoted to famous characters such as Hello Kitty and Doraemon. Alongside that, you can enjoy restaurants touching on nearly every type of cuisine you can imagine.


Festivals happen frequently in Tokyo neighbourhoods, especially ones such as Asakusa. Look out for throngs of people parading through the streets, especially during the summer.


Tradition Amidst the Concrete

Since the 1964 Olympic Games, Tokyo's growth and popularaity has rised as an urban and technologic centre. Regardless of its modern flair, the city houses plenty of monuments to its past, stretching back as far as the Edo Period from the 1600s and 1800s.

The district of Asakusa, feels like history come alive and the main attraction is Sensoji Temple. Founded in 645 AD, it’s the oldest temple in Japan...


Besides the fashion-centric neighbourhood of Harajuku is Meiji Shrine. Opened in 1920, the tree-lined space is dedicated to the spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife. The shrine attracts many visitors a year. The district of Asakusa, feels like history come alive and the main attraction is Sensoji Temple. Founded in 645 AD, it's the oldest temple in Japan, though it was rebuilt after being destroyed in World War II. The walk up to the main temple is a treat in itself, as the main road is surrounded by small stalls selling temple goods to special treats.


Shop Until You Drop

For those visiting Tokyo from outside Japan, now is an incredible time to nab some good deals. The biggest department stores and malls offer duty free shopping if you show your passport. You can find both on Odaiba, an artificial island built in the 1850s on Tokyo Bay that blossomed into a commercial centre in the 1990s. Visit malls such as DiverCity or Venus Fort to find everything from electronics to clothes. And at the latter, take a break riding their colourful ferris wheel.


Those looking for high-end clothes and cosmetics should visit Isetan, a department store opened in 1886. Simply walking around it is intoxicating, even if you aren't in the mood to buy any fine goods.

Tsukiji Fish Market, located not far from Ginza, is the biggest fish and seafood market in the world.


A Gourmet's Delight

Many chefs have hailed Tokyo as the best food city on planet Earth, in large part because of the sheer variety and quality of options. Anything you want can be found in some corner of the city. Sometimes, simply wandering around Shibuya, Ginza or Ikebukuro and wandering into a shop can warrant great results, whether for ramen, yakitori (grilled chicken) or tonkatsu (pork cutlet).


Of course, the go-to culinary treat from Japan to many is sushi. Why not visit the source of the world's finest fish? Tsukiji Fish Market, located not far from Ginza, is the biggest fish and seafood market in the world. You can find incredible sushi along with other fish-centric dishes by wandering the outside streets. Arrive at 9 or 10 in the morning and prepare for a decadent way to start the day.


If you visit Tokyo during winter, you will be able to stay warm by enjoying some of the season's famous dishes. Oden, a hot pot dish wherein various vegetables and meats are cooked in a special broth, is available in restaurants and street stalls. Just as filling is sukiyaki, a hot pot dish featuring beef. Even when the weather dips low, these specialties will keep you feeling hearty.

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    The colourful ferris wheel of Odaiba island
    © Elle Harris

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    Tokyo Sky Tree is the tallest structure in Japan's capital

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    Relax amidst the serenity of Sumida River
    © Elle Harris

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    The resplendent Senso-ji in Asakusa, Tokyo's oldest temple

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    The Meiji shrine is dedicated to the spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife

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    Festivals happen frequently in Tokyo neighbourhoods, especially ones such as Asakusa. Look out for throngs of people parading through the streets, especially during the summer.
    © Elle Harris

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    Shop till you drop in Tokyo

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    Tsukiji Fish Market is the world's biggest wholesale fish market, and visitors can get a close look at their offerings

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