Discover Japan's dazzling capital - where ancient meets modern
Tokyo, Japan’s bustling capital, is home to just over 9 million people, and is the country’s largest city. Tokyo mixes modern with traditional, from neon-lit skyscrapers, cherry tree-lined parks, attractive gardens and historic temples and shrines. Prior to 1868, Tokyo was known as Edo, a small castle town in the 16th century. In 1603 Edo became Japan’s political centre. Today, Tokyo offers a seemingly unlimited choice of shopping, entertainment, culture and dining to its visitors. What is unique to Tokyo is that it is made up of smaller cities without one true city centre. One of the most popular attractions in Tokyo is The Imperial Palace, located in the district of Taitō. Other districts of interest include Asakusa, where the city’s history can be appreciated. Other highlights are Ueno Park, the city’s largest green space and particularly worth a visit during the cherry blossom season, and Tokyo Skytree is the world’s tallest free-standing broadcast tower. Tokyo’s premier shopping area, the lively and popular neon-lit district of Ginza, is another highlight of the city. Tokyo also has a fantastic selection of Museums, from the renowned Ghibli Museum, showcasing the animation work of Studio Ghibli, to fabulous art museums and the historical Edo-Tokyo Museum.
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Here we have selected a few of the sights and experiences that you really should see on a visit to Tokyo.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
In addition to native, traditional Japanese gardens, this 144-acre park also has examples of French formal and English landscape gardens, all of which are worth visiting The park is filled with picturesque landmarks, such as a Taiwanese Pavilion on the edge of a tranquil pond. Formerly an imperial garden, it became a national garden after World War II.
The Senso-ji temple is at the end of the shopping street. Japanese worshippers gather around a large incense cauldron in front of the temple where the incense is said to encourage good health, before paying their respects at the Shinto shrine opposite.
Tsukiji Fish Market
The outer market, still in it's original position, has street-food stalls serving up everything from seared tuna to uni sandwiches in squid-ink sticky buns. Just down the road at Toyosu Market, meanwhile, you can taste fresh raw fish in a series of sushi bars and peek in on auctions and live fish sales from a second-story viewing station. You can also tour tour a large green space on the rooftop, which affords views of the Tokyo skyline.
Every visitor to Tokyo should visit the Shibuya Crossing and marvel at the organised way the public cross in their 1000's. The best time to go is at dusk, one of the crossings peak times and in its most flattering light.
Sumo at Ryoguku Kokugikan
Only three of six official grand tournaments happen in Tokyo, all at Ryoguku Kokugikan. The stadium houses over 11,000 eager fans under its green, pavilion-style roof. Official tournaments last just over two weeks each, which means Ryoguku Kokugikan sometimes hosts other events. But sumo is the arena's feature attraction, and if you're hoping to see sumo in Tokyo, this is where to find it.
A selection of tours to Tokyo
Japan Group Tour Nature
Cherry Blossom Tour
13 day tour from £4,449
A 13 day tour that explores the very best of Japan’s culture and nature, during the popular cherry blossom season.
Japan Group Tour City
10 day tour from £3,499
The Essential Japan tour is a perfect tour for the first time traveller to Japan.
Japan Group Tour Rail
14 day tour from £4,699
A tour that explores the very best of Japan’s cultural, natural and UNESCO locations. Journey on the famous bullet train.
Japan Group Tour Culture
Japan Golden Route
10 day tour from £3,299
As its name suggests, Japan’s Golden Route visits a range of destinations from the exciting, bustling capital city of Tokyo, the picturesque and ancient capital Kyoto, and Japan’s most renowned city, Hiroshima.