15 reasons to visit Tokyo.
Tokyo is enchanting for dozens of reasons that have to do with the culture, traditions and customs of the Japanese people. We chose 15 of them and present them to you. All you have to do is plan your trip.
If someone has heard only one thing about Tokyo, then this is likely to be the “city of the future” – because of its persistence and productivity in new technology products. Yet this city is enchanting for dozens of other reasons that have to do with the culture, traditions and customs of the Japanese people. We chose – from the travel site cnngo.com – 15 of them and we present it to you. All you have to do is plan your trip…
1. The most complicated railways in the world
With 13 subway lines and over 100 overhead trains by both public and private rail companies, Tokyo’s rail system seems to have been designed to win world records. It is rare to find a place in the metropolitan area that does not reach the train and maybe a little walk.
2. Buildings lost in the sky
When officials in Tokyo learned that the new Guangzhou tower in China would reach 610 meters – the same height planned for the Tokyo Sky Tree that was under construction – did what every reasonable person would do: they increased by 24 meters the top of the … heavenly tree, to keep its title as the highest tower in the world. It is built in the center of the Japanese capital and its inauguration is expected to take place on 22 May. The award-winning Guinness Award, features shops, restaurants and observatories that offer stunning views.
3. The streets and the passages look like scenes from “Braveheart”
Passing outside Shibuya station is certainly the busiest in the world, with thousands of people walking hurriedly, interacting and forming a “colorful” crowd. This image perfectly sums up the essence of what Tokyo has to show: not old or new buildings, but thousands of people who interact in a celebration of civilization.
4. The Emperor will see you now
Visit the Imperial Palace on December 23 or January 2 and see something impressive: its owner. Emperor Akihito and his family make a public appearance twice a year at the Palace, the monarch’s birthday and a New Year’s Day greeting. If you are tall enough, you will be able to see it between a lagoon.
5. More Michelin stars from anywhere else
When the French Red Michelin Guide announced that it would release a Tokyo version – the first to cover an Asian city – many were skeptical and felt it was a simple marketing trick. Yet, 293 restaurants were awarded as a whole in the edition of the Tokyo Yokohama Shonan 2012 guide. Is it fair? In Tokyo there are 160,000 well-known restaurants, more than ten times more in Paris . In the guide, there are a few three-star restaurants – Kojyu in the Ginza area, serving sophisticated, traditional Japanese cuisine, Joel Robuchon (from the name of the famous chef) at Ebisu and Quintessence in Shirokane-dai. More than anything else, the Michelin driver, however, proved something most people in Tokyo already knew: this city is undoubtedly the gourmet capital of the world.
6. Electronic stores are like theme parks
The Japanese have put their love for the latest electronic devices, with Yodobashi Akiba (http://www.yodobashi.com/ec/store/0018), the largest electronics store in a Tokyo section is known as the center of gadgets, video games and anime. At any Akihabara electronics store, if you go, it will be as if you are in a … wondrous country, with flashing lights, giant screens, stereo, gaming machines and consoles, as well as restaurants, cafes, bookstores and record shops.
7. The largest fish market in the world is in the best neighborhood for sushi
Given the seafood trend in Japan, it is not surprising that the largest fish market in the world (and one of the largest wholesale markets) is in Tokyo. With over 2,000 tons of seafood every day, the Tsukiji-Shijo market is a paradise for fishermen, buyers, but also for the best restaurants in Tokyo. In addition, here you will find the freshest and finest sushi and the most delicious roasted fish at reasonable prices – if you take them early on.
8. Even the most serious museums are strange
The Edo-Tokyo Museum (http://www.edo-tokyo-museum.or.jp) is the best place to revive the old traditional style of life in Tokyo when it was called Eddo in the 15th to the 19th century. The exterior building, however, looks like a giant spacecraft in a cinematic scenery. This is perhaps an attempt to “reconcile” the past, present and future of Tokyo in a space.
9. You can spend endless hours reading comic books
In a manga-kissa, or “coffee comic” and a few hundred yen an hour, you have a small booth and a reclining chair, a computer with Internet and endless comics and soft drinks. Apparently, this service was created for fans of manga, but quickly became popular for yet another reason: they offer – especially for young people – a very cheap place to “kill” their time and relax. The Manboo! is the most recognizable manga-kissa and its showcase in the Kabuki-cho region is perfect for you to look forward to if you missed the last train.
10. The cocktails are impressively fresh
In Tokyo of cocktails, bartenders approach their subject with the art and aesthetics of the Michelin-starred chef. Mixologists at Aoyama’s striking bar, Bar Rage, offer high quality and use fresh ingredients from all over the country in their seasonal drinks. They find the most delicious fruit of passion from Okinawa, or the sweetest kumquats from Miyazaki, to give classic cocktails a Japanese “note”.
11. You do not have to leave the airport
A new, international passenger terminal at Haneda Airport, inaugurated in 2010, allows travelers to avoid the delay from Narita to downtown Tokyo. In addition, on the Edo-Koji terminal’s market, there are plenty of themed restaurants and boutiques with souvenirs that show Japanese culture.
12. Water is just an excuse for bridges
Linking the Shibaura area with the futuristic Odaiba Island, the Rainbow Bridge, is one of the city’s most recognizable attractions. With bright towers and colorful evening lighting, the bridge is the best backdrop to admire the city from a restaurant terrace in the Odaiba area.
13. Most bars per square meter
Wandering at the various bars takes a whole new meaning at Golden Gai: you just need to get out of a bar to get to another bar! There are more than 200 small bars in the Golden Gai area – some so small that few people can fit. Less crowded but equally, there are bars in the Omoide Yokocho area near Shinjuku Station and Nonbei Yokocho.
14. The area with the red lights is the least dangerous
The Kabukicho region is full of homes of tolerance, cabarets and “pink lounges”, but also … students with acoustic guitars on the streets? And maybe the Red Lantern area is not “aristocratic,” but it’s Tokyo. Do not hesitate to wander there anytime of the day and get an ice cream cone as you make your walk.
15. The most creative festivals
Although festivals of all kinds and sizes are organized all year round, every Japanese will tell you that there are no other festivals like those of the summer. The most famous are: Three Great Edo Festivals in Kanda, Sanno-Matsuri in Nagata-cho and Fukagawa-Matsuri in Tomioka, Koto-ku. These are events where thousands of people gather and celebrate, of course, with plenty of alcohol.