Yoking past and future, Tokyo dazzles with its traditional culture and passion for everything new.
Why I Love Tokyo
By Timothy Hornyak
I’ve spent over 10 years in Tokyo, but this capital of the shōgun always renews its spell. I love walking in a random direction and finding something unusual like a museum of musical boxes or an eye-popping glimpse of Mt Fuji over Shinjuku at sunset.
In a way, Tokyo has an infinite quality. It’s always under construction, always crackling with new fads, and always swirling with people who are passionate about everything from anime to Zen. As Dr Johnson said of London, to be tired of Tokyo is to be tired of life.
You’ve Never Had Sushi Like This
Tokyo brims with astonishing cuisine. It out-Michelins every city in the world, and for good reason: Tokyoites take fresh ingredients, dining and service very seriously. Whether you’re inhaling a thick bowl of miso rāmen noodles, sinking your teeth into some creamy tuna from the Tsukiji Central Fish Market or splashing out with a multi-course kaiseki meal of seasonal delicacies, you’ll often be struck by the care that goes into the humble art of eating here.
The Japanese workaholic stereotype is very true, but stroll through a neon-lined row of Shinjuku yakitori joints on a Friday or any cherry grove in spring, and you’ll see that people take pleasure very seriously here. There is ever-flowing sake, deep respect for heartfelt karaoke, and constant curiosity about how outsiders view this archipelago at the end of the world. From picnics to shot bars, Tokyo’s nightlife is a drinker’s delight. Kampai!
Blade Runner City
This ever-changing metropolis of over 12 million is perhaps the most gorgeous ugly city in the world. It’s a superdense riot of mismatched buildings, overhead wiring and garish neon. Yet it has the moxie to build the tallest tower in the world on a foundation of reclaimed land and several bucking tectonic plates. Add one of the planet’s best mass transit sytems and you have the perfect sci-fi cityscape.
Shop Till You Drop
From the superdeluxe shops of Ginza to the electronics stores of Akihabara to Harajuku hipster boutiques, Tokyo is a universe of beautifully designed clothing, antique prints and bizarre only-in-Japan gems like Pocari Sweat (a soft drink). Craftsmen, meanwhile, continue to produce finely wrought treasures such as kimono-clad dolls and samurai swords that make excellent souvenirs.
Best places to stay in Tokyo
Tokyo city guide
Yoking past and future, Tokyo dazzles with its traditional culture and passion for everything new. From architecture to cuisine, this is a capital of superlatives.
A broke-ass guide to drinking in Tokyo
The nighttime lights in Tokyo are overwhelming. Billions of bright bulbs and bulletins begging for your attention, yearning for your yen. You think: ‘With all this brilliance, the rumors must be true: this must be the most expensive city on Earth...
Good-value hotels in Tokyo
Day trips from Tokyo
Tokyo is a city forever reaching into the future, resulting in sci-fi streetscapes of crackling neon and soaring towers. Yet it is also a city steeped in history, where you can find traces of the shōgun’s capital on the kabuki stage or under the...
Meet the baaarista: touring Tokyo's animal cafés
To celebrate the Year of the Snake, why not cuddle with one while you wait for a plate of hot, fragrant curry? At Café Little Zoo (little-zoo.jp) in Narashino, a suburb in Chiba Prefecture outside Tokyo, you can do just that...
Shopping in Tokyo
Tokyo - Plan your trip (Chapter)
Your journey to Tokyo starts here. You'll find the tools to plan your adventure: where to go, how much to budget, plus in-depth info on the city's best restaurants and places to shop.
Kamakura, Yokohama and Tokyo Bay Day Trip from Tokyo
Explore the countryside outside Tokyo on a day trip to Kamakura and Yokohama. You’ll see the Giant Buddha of Kamakura, tour ancient temples and shrines, and enjoy lunch at an authentic Yokohama Chinatown restaurant. You’ll also discover Japan’s ancient history and culture on a walk through Yokohama’s traditionally landscaped Sankeien Garden.
Mt Fuji, Lake Ashi and First-Class Bullet Train Day Trip from Tokyo
Breathe crisp mountain air from Mt Fuji’s 5th station and marvel at the sweeping vista on this deluxe day trip from Tokyo! You’ll travel to Hakone by coach and enjoy numerous photo ops of Japan’s highest mountain (weather dependent) from several vantage points. Ride the scenic Hakone Ropeway and cruise over Lake Ashi on a model pirate ship.
Five sites for exploring Edo-era Tokyo
Technology and fashion might be the first things that come to mind when you think of Tokyo, but even the city's most cutting-edge characteristics are framed by a past when 'Edo' (the pre-1868 name for Tokyo) was the world's biggest city and military Shogun ruled the country...
Tokyo - Marunouchi (Tokyo Station) (Chapter)
Home to the headquarters of many large Japanese companies, Marunouchi (Tokyo Station) faces the Imperial Palace, the spiritual heart of Japan.