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Tokyo

Tokyo, the most modern metropolis of Asia

Tokyo is a fascinating capital that succeeds in balancing the preservation of the past with an eye toward the future. Symbols of both cultural dimensions coexist in one of the most densely populated urban areas of the world.  

 

Akihabara is the neighborhood for lovers of electronics, games and Japanese manga
Tokyo has no squares. The city is no less than a constellation of quarters, each one with its own train station as a point of reference.

 

In Tokyo, where born the latest fashion trends and the most innovative technologies, you can discover the ancient traditional culture of Japan. The symbol of the urban landscape is the Imperial Palace, once called the “Edo Castle” and still surrounded by deep moats, with the Nijubashi, an elegant double-arched bridge that leads to the main entrance, and the Eastern Garden (Higashi Gyoen) with lush vegetation.

 

Marunouchi is situated in the western area of Tokyo and is the largest business district in Japan, beyond which lies the Ginza district, famous throughout the world for its elegant shops.

 

From the beginning of April, Ueno Park, the biggest in the city, is transformed into a paradise of blossoming cherry trees that turn a delicate pink colour.
 Ueno Park with cherry trees in bloom
 
Kannon Temple
Walking through Asakusa, home to the Kannon Temple, is like stepping back in time. Its alleys are scattered with old houses and workshops that offer everything from kimonos to handmade combs.
 
In Shinjuku, in the eastern and most modern part of the city, bars and nightclubs sit alongside depar tment stores and shops that offer a refined and sophisticated shopping experience.
 
Kannon Asakusa Temple

 

Shibuya
Shibuya is the fashion and international art centre and an ideal location for those who wish to make purchases or have fun. 
The famous Shibuya district

 

Roppongi, Tokyo Middletown, the National Art Centre Tokyo, Roppongi Hills and the Hatsudai district, with the nearby Tokyo Opera City, are both meeting places and cultural centres at the same time. The Akihabara district, the enormous ‘electronics’ district nicknamed the ‘Otaku Mecca’, and the Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari, an amusement park with hot springs, should not be missed.

 

The enchanting Tokyo’s Surroundings between mountains, parks, lakes, spas, temples and sanctuaries

 

Travelling from the capital by train towards destinations of great cultural and touristic interest is simple. Tokyo Disney Resort, Japan’s favourite theme-park, is a mere 17 minutes away from the main station.
 
Yokohama, Japan’s second largest city, is characterised by numerous historic buildings and the large Sankeien Gardens.

 

The bronze statue of the Great Buddha
Kamakura
Kamakura, an hour away from Tokyo by train, is a small and tranquil coastal town characterised by several temples enveloped in a hushed
atmosphere and by the bronze statue of the Great Buddha. This impressive “Daibutsu” is a 11.4-metre tall giant that weighs 122 tonnes, meditating in the lotus position under the sky. Strolling through Kamakura’s streets, home to the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Sanctuary and many other Buddhist temples, you find yourself gently slipping back into the XII century.

 

Hakone is an hour and thirty minutes away from Shinjuku station in Tokyo by train, and a recreational area famous for its thermal springs, which are nestled between the splendid mountains in the Fuji- Hakone-Izu National Park. One of the most interesting attractions is the open-air museum, which is home to hundreds of sculptures.
The cruise on Ashi Lake offers the oppor tunity to admire magical scenery and Mt. Fuji from a different perspective. 

 

Mt. Fuji
Owakudani
At Owakudani, the jets of steam and sulphuric vapour that emerge from the hidden cracks in the rocks are a sight that shouldn’t be missed.
The scenic landscape that surrounds Mt. Fuji (Japan’s highest peak, measuring 3,776 metres) includes the Five Lakes district and is ideal for excursions.
The Izu peninsula, south of Hakone, is a popular destination for thermal springs.
Izu’s seven islands are characterised by magnificent marine landscapes.

 

The Island of Oshima is 2 hours and 20 minutes from Tokyo by boats, allowing you to discover it in a day trip. The Toshogu sanctuary, in the centre of Nikko, is an artistic and architectural masterpiece and only two hours from Tokyo by train.

 

Japanese cuisine
Japanese chefs choose fresh seasonal ingredients and use sophisticated techniques.
The typical dishes of Japan are ramen (Chinese noodles in broth), kaiseki ryori (soup with three side dishes of vegetables), sushi in varieties typical of each region of the country. Also the typical dishes of izakaya which are: Edamame (soy beans, unripe, boiled), Kara-age (pieces of chicken, marinated and fried), Yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), Tamagoyaki (Japanese style omelette flavored with broth), Agedashi-dofu (pieces of fried tofu served with broth). The Wagashi are desserts from Japanese confectionery, prepared according to traditional recipes. Many of these desserts represent the seasons and look lovely.
 
You can taste typical dishes in restaurants, in the food departments of large shopping centers, in Japanese pubs, but also in the markets, while in some cafes it is possible to eat and drink tea while playing with animals such as cats and owls, where the atmosphere is very relaxing.
 
 
 
 The Sukiyaki

You can not leave Tokyo without trying:

  • Sukiyaki: meat cut into slices together with vegetables, tofu and pasta.
  • Tempura: fried shrimp, fish or vegetables
  • Sushi: slices of fish or raw seafood with vinegar rice, cucumber, marinated radishes and sweet omelettes.
  • Sashimi: slices of raw fish with soy sauce.
  • Kaiseki Ryori: vegetables and fish, algae and mushrooms.
  • Yakitori: chicken skewers, liver and vegetables.
  • Tonkatsu: breaded and fried pork.
  • Shabu-shabu: veal slices, cooked in broth and seasoned with sauce.
  • Soba and Udon: two types of Japanese noodles. The Soba are made with buckwheat flour while the Udon with wheat flour, served in broth or with a sauce.
  • Japanese Sake: wine of alcoholic rice.
 
 
Text by Luca Lembi and Enzo Cuppatri
Photos: Sisterscom.com, Shutterstock

Video: www.japan.travel
Copyright © Sisterscom.com

Published Avion Tourism N66; N1/2018

 

 

Tourism Board
 
 
Where to sleep in Tokyo
Tokyo offers different and special possibilities for accommodation between hotels, apartments, hostels or capsule hotels.
To find the ideal hotel and the best offers you can do a search for the stars but also for districts or landmarks.
 
 

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Discover the city, the main tourist attractions, the most important museums to visit and tours not to be missed, selected for you by the Editorial Staff of Avion Tourism.
WHERE TO GO
Monuments
IMPERIAL PALACE

Surrounded by deep moats that were dug at the time of its construction, this palace was once known as “Edo Castle”, residence of the Shogun. The palace was bombarded during World War II, but was rebuilt in 1968 with the structure in steel.

An elegant two-arched bridge, Nijubashi, leads to the main entrance of the palace. Near the palace there are the Oriental Garden and the Museum of Imperial Collections.

www.sankan.kunaicho.go.jp

TOKYO TOWER

The 333-meter-high steel tower is a television antenna, which houses exhibition halls, shops, restaurants and offers wonderful views of the city and Tokyo Bay. Here you can visit an aquarium and a wax museum. It is located in the beautiful Roppongi district, a trendy place with restaurants, bars and nightclubs to experience Tokyo by night. For shopping, you can go to Azabu Juban to live the atmosphere of old Tokyo, or in the modern Roppongi Hills shopping center.

www.tokyotower.co.jp/english

 
MEIJIJINGU SANCTUARY

The Meijijingu Sanctuary is located in the middle of a park and is dedicated to the emperor and empress Meiji. The building is an example of Shinto architecture and is a Shinto religious place. A building on the back of the sanctuary displays the Emperor's Treasure.

The sanctuary is located in the Harajuku district with the famous Takeshita-dori street, the Tokyo's teenager area with cafes, restaurants and boutiques for a trendy shopping.

www.meijijingu.or.jp/english

 
TOKYO STATION - Marunouchi Building
Completed in 2012, for its preservation and renovation, the Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building offers the history and grandeur of the original building dating nearly a hundred years back with the red brick façade. It is an important cultural property of Japan. The interior, with also a Tokyo Station Hotel and Tokyo Station Gallery, is designed in classical European style. Tokyo Station, surroundings and underground complex are a beautiful commercial district featuring shopping areas, cafés and restaurants.
 
Museums
TOKYO NATIONAL MUSEUM

Established in 1872, the Tokyo National Museum is the largest museum in Japan and exhibits more than 100,000 pieces of ancient and medieval art. It is located in the beautiful Ueno Park and is a centre of cultural excellence. Its rich collection offers a comprehensive overview of the traditional art of Japan and other Asian countries. It also hosts historical and scientific exhibitions. After visiting the museum, you can stroll in the Ueno Park or go in the Ueno district.

www.tnm.jp

 
SUMIDA HOKUSAI MUSEUM
The Sumida Hokusai Museum is dedicated to the ukiyo-e artist Katsushika Hokusai, referred to as Hokusai. His most well-known works include The Great Wave off Kanagawa and Red Fuji, a couple of prints from the collection Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji.
The museum was opened in 2016 in Tokyo's Sumida Ward where Hokusai was born and where he spent his life.
TOKYO MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART

One of the largest museums in Japan, the Museum of Contemporary Art hosts a complete range of masterpieces of foreign and Japanese contemporary art. It was inaugurated in 1995 and organizes exhibitions of contemporary art for painting, sculpture, fashion, architecture and design. Its collection is about 5,000 works, houses a permanent exhibition and temporary exhibitions.

 
Excursions
ASAKUSA

This district, with its streets flanked by old houses and shops selling traditional items, has a feel of old Tokyo. Here there is the Asakusa Kannon or Senso-ji, the Buddhist temple, dating back to the Edo period. Founded in 7th century, it has five floors and one of its two pagodas is the tallest in Japan. The area in which the temple stands has a magical atmosphere. Cruises on the Sumida-gawa River depart from Asakusa to the Hinode pier, ideal in spring to admire the cherry trees in bloom.

GINZA

It is the most famous shopping district of Japan, a true shopping temple. Located in one of the oldest areas in Tokyo, Ginza is also an important financial and economic centre with boutiques, art galleries and luxury restaurants. During the Edo period, it was an exclusive place and today hosts the shops of the biggest names in fashion and jewelry (Chanel, Vuitton, Ferragamo, Cartier, Mikimoto, etc.) alternate with department stores (Mitsukoshi, Matsuya, Matsuzakaya, Seibu and Hankyu, Le Printemps, etc.).

SHIBUYA

Shibuya is situated near the peaceful Meijijingu Sanctuary and to Harajuku and Aoyama, and is a fashion districts, the ideal place for shopping. A very popular area for the young trendy people of the capital, Shibuya is the heart of all innovation in Tokyo: the avant-garde of fashion and international art. Nearby there is also the Yoyogi Park, one of the largest in Tokyo, where to walk among small lakes and large trees, jogging or admire the lovely cherry trees in bloom.

 
YANAKA, NEZU, HONGO
The neighborhoods of Yanaka and Nezu are located near the Nippori station and are characterized by narrow streets and alleys. Of particular interest is the Asakura Choso Museum, the laboratory of Asakura Fumio, a modern Japanese sculptor. But also the Oguraya called "Space Oguraya", a contemporary art gallery. At Nezu is located the Nezu Shrine, built 1900 years ago. Near Nippori JR station, you find the shopping street "Yanaka Ginza" instead the Hongo district hosts ancient shops, universities and schools.
UENO PARK

The Ueno district has Tokyo’s largest park, the Ueno Park.

From April, these gardens are transformed into a paradise of blossoming cherry trees, which turn a delicate pink colour.

The park is home to various museums, temples and the first zoo in Japan, Ueno Zoo. From the Ueno Station, the pedestrian streets of Ameyoko-dori are ideal for shopping.

AKIHABARA
Akihabara is the electronic district of Tokyo and is centered around Chuo-dori street and Kanda Myojin-dori street. There are various stores with computers, smartphones and electrical component. Akihabara is also a district for Japanese anime fans the world over, with many specialized shops. 
Just a short walk from the electronic district, there is the Kanda Myojin Shrine, which has a history of nearly 1,300 years.
 
ODAIBA
Odaiba, which has become popular for foreign tourists, is an area that opens onto the seafront and offers fun for the whole family.
You can take a ride on Yurikamome and ferry along Tokyo Bay, taste gourmet dishes, shop in shopping centers, go jogging, stroll in the park or on the beach, and enjoy a beautiful sunset on the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower.
IZU ISLANDS
The Izu Islands are over 100 islands, easily reachable from Tokyo. Oshima Island is an hour and a 45-minute ride on the high-speed jet ferry from the Takeshiba Terminal in Tokyo Harbor. The island of Hachijojima can be reached within 50 minutes by direct flight from Haneda Airport. The islands offer unspoiled nature and an ecosystem, ideal for diving, surfing, swimming, hiking, eco-tours, bird watching and fishing. Do not miss an outdoor thermal bath overlooking the sea and the mountains.
OGASAWARA ISLANDS
Declared a Natural World Heritage Site, the Ogasawara Islands offer a sea with coral reefs, tropical fish and mountains. Here you can swim with dolphins, indulge in diving, fishing, hiking or trekking. The Ogasawara Islands comprise over 30 islands, about 1,000 kilometers south of Tokyo. The only mode of transport is the ship. The Island of Chichijima, the gateway to the Ogasawara Islands, is accessible through the Ogasawara-maru, departing from the Takeshiba terminal in Tokyo's port.
 
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