Tokyo, the capital of Japan, is one of the largest cities in the world. The metropolis is inhabited by 14 million people, not counting those commuting to work from the neighboring prefectures and the visitors to the city. Each neighborhood in Tokyo offers something different, making it impossible to fully experience this metropolis in just one day.
Plunge into the historic district of Asakusa, the Japanese kawaii culture capital of Harajuku, and Akihabara, the go-to place for electronics, anime, manga, and everything otaku. Discover the world’s latest fashion trends in Shibuya, then stroll through the high-brand department stores in Ginza. Head to rural western Tokyo to experience Japanese nature with hikes and beautiful foliage in the fall.
The excellent food in Tokyo is another appeal of the city. From the fresh sushi at Toyosu Market, where the exciting tuna auctions occur, to freshly-cooked tempura, and washoku, or traditional Japanese food, there is so much delicious cuisine to enjoy. For a casual meal, try the udon, soba, ramen, or rice bowls at one of the many Japanese eateries. Izakaya, or Japanese pubs, are in every Tokyo neighborhood. Enjoy a drink at the retro-style izakaya in Shinjuku’s Golden Gai district or while bar hopping in Kichijoji’s Harmonica Yokocho to get a taste of old Japan.
Tokyo’s trains and subways make it easy to navigate around the city using public transportation. Tokyo is where you can experience the coexistence of old and new, culture, arts, and technology. Visit the city to find a version of Tokyo that inspires you.
Getting to Tokyo from Narita Airport is convenient and inexpensive. From Narita, it takes around one hour to get to Asakusa, Ueno, Shibuya, and other major Tokyo areas. From Haneda Airport, use the train or monorail to arrive in central Tokyo in 30 to 40 minutes.
Several railway companies operate in and around Tokyo, so getting to tourist attractions and landmarks is simple. However, it can be easy to get lost at large train stations with several lines, so be sure to prepare your route ahead of time.
Sushi is one of Japan’s most famous traditional foods. Fish is placed on top of vinegared rice in typical sushi. There are so many ways to enjoy this classic dish that suits different budgets and diners’ needs, from 100-yen plates at conveyor belt restaurants to high-end sushi bars where a chef prepares each dish right behind the counter. In Tokyo, savor handmade nigirizushi, makizushi with nori seaweed, and gunkan rolls with a variety of fillings. Chirashizushi, prepared in a special bowl, is another must-try dish. With so much variety, there is a whole world of sushi to savor.
Tempura is fish, meat, vegetables, and a variety of different ingredients dipped into flour and egg batter, which is then deep-fried to a golden crisp. Diners can enjoy tempura by itself, with soba, udon, or on top of rice as a tempura don (tempura rice bowl). Tentsuyu, a light dipping sauce, is a common way of eating tempura, as well as enjoying it with salt. The crispy, crunchy coating of batter and the flavorful ingredient inside is simply delicious. Be sure to eat tempura while it’s hot!
Monjayaki is a teppanyaki dish common in the Asakusa, Tsukijima, and older “shitamachi” parts of Tokyo. To make monjayaki, or monja, a batter of water and flour mixed with cheese, mochi, or seasoned cod roe, is poured on top of and cooked with thinly shredded cabbage on an iron grill. The final consistency is usually not very solid. There are many monjayaki restaurants near Tsukijima Station, close to Ginza and Tsukiji. This area is called “Monja Street” and visitors can try different styles of monjayaki.
The weather in Tokyo depends on the four seasons. Despite the sometimes sudden weather changes from sunny days to rain, many visitors come to Japan in the spring, while the hot temperatures and high humidity caused by June’s rainy season mean the summer starts out quite wet - be careful of sudden thunderstorms and torrential rain during this season as well.