Tokyo is Japan's capital and the country's largest city. The sheer level of energy is the most striking aspect of Japan's capital city. Tokyo remains a glittering example of the 'miracle' of post World War II Japan. Streets are lined with tiny specialist shops and bustling restaurants, most of which stay open late into the night. Close to the soaring office blocks exist pockets of another Tokyo - an old wooden house, a Japanese inn, an old lady in a kimono sweeping the pavement outside her home with a straw broom.
Tokyo travel, Japan Tourist Attractions
More than anything else, Tokyo is a place where the urgent rhythms of consumer culture collide with the quieter moments that linger from older traditions. Spring is the best time to visit Tokyo, particularly as cherry blossoms begin to appear in early April and this is when the city is at its most beautiful. Autumn is not a bad time to visit either, with its cool temperatures and many clear days, while winter is marked by the occasional snowfall but rarely freezing conditions. The city can be an unpleasant place during summer, when torrential downpours and mugginess combine with the crowded public transport to wear down your calm visitor's fade.
Tokyo is also one of Japan's 47 prefectures, but is called a metropolis (to) rather than a prefecture (ken). The metropolis of Tokyo consists of 23 city wards (ku), 26 cities, 5 towns and 8 villages, including the Izu and Ogasawara Islands, several small Pacific Islands in the south of Japan's main island Honshu.
The 23 city wards (ku) are the center of Tokyo and make up about one third of the metropolis' area, while housing roughly eight of Tokyo's approximately twelve million residents. Titicaca
Prior to 1868, Tokyo was known as Edo. A small tokyo travel castle town in the 16th century, Edo became Japan's political center in 1603 when Tokugawa Ieyasu established his feudal government there. A few decades later, Edo had grown into one of the world's most populous cities.
With the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the emperor and capital were moved from Kyoto to Edo, which was renamed Tokyo ("Eastern Capital"). Large parts of Tokyo were destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and in the air raids of 1945.
Imperial Palace attractions
The Japanese emperor and the imperial family still call the Imperial Palace home, so unless you get a royal invite to tea tourists are restricted to the outskirts and the gardens. New Year's Day (2 January) and 23 December (the Emperor's birthday) are the only exceptions to this rule.
The biggest draw card of the Imperial Palace, both literally and metaphorically, is Edo-jo castle. From the 17th century until the Meiji Restoration, it was used as the impregnable fortress of the ruling shogun ate. Over the Tokyo tourism years the castle was upgraded, added to, renovated and built onto with all the force of a rabid renovator. For a while it was the largest castle in the world but all the DIY'ing came to an abrupt end when large portions of it were destroyed in the transfer of power from shogun back to emperor during the Meiji Restoration.
The Imperial East Garden is entered through one of three gates although the most popular is the Ote-mon, which was once the principle gate of Edo-jo. The garden is an oasis of quiet after the bustle of Tokyo, and characteristically Japanese; a horizon of clear lines, an attention to detail and the religious placement of objects within the landscape.
Tokyo Disneyland travel
You could be forgiven for assuming that the country that invented fake waves would jump at the chance to out-Disney Disneyland, so it comes as something of a shock to see such uncharacteristic restraint. Surprisingly Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and most of Walt's other empire-building prototypes have been respectfully left alone and much of Tokyo Disneyland is an exact replica of the Californian amusement park.
The Shinjuku district is, without doubt, the most vigorous part of Tokyo; two million people per day pass through Shinjuku station alone. With a total lack of irony or tongue-in-cheekness, the two sides - east and west - sit side-by-side in mutual harmony; west Shinjuku is the staid, buttoned-down commercial hub of the city, while the east is its colourful, seedy and exotic counterpart. The west is planned, administrative and skyscrapped, while the east side is rambling, chaotic and full of fast-food shops and pawn shops.
Wandering the east side you'll be able to see the entire world go by while simultaneously having your senses assaulted by archetypal Blade Runner video billboards on the Studio Alta building, a popular meeting Tokyo attractions place for Tokyoites. Other east-side attractions include Hanazona-jinja shrine, the many departmemt stores and the colourful if risque Kabukicho and Golden Gai areas.
Sony Building travel
The Sony building, at the Sukiyabashi intersection, is a must-see for all the cyberjunkies, digital-devotees, and Playstation groupies. Any electronic gizmo that has ever been invented is here in the Sony building, as well as some yet-to-be-retailed prototypes. With most of the displays being a hands-on proposition, it's an oversized kid's arcade.
The building itself is a rather phlegmatic version of the sixties - a lot of function over form - but with eight stories of unadulterated electronic heaven who cares about the packaging.
Despite its disaster-ridden history and propensity for shape-changing, Ginza has become synonymous with conspicuous consumption and excessive shopping. At the end of the 19th century, after fire razed it to the ground, it was ressurected in a London-cum-faux-Parisian style with brick Tokyo travel buildings and wide boulevards that mimicked the Champs Elysses. Since then, earthquakes and WWII carpet-bombing has seen it gradually transform from continental chic to trans-atlantic functional, but it still pulls the crowds.
There are some Japan Tourist Attractions jejeune shopping districts that have tried to wrestle the crown from Ginza - they're more crowded, more opulent and hipper - but the grande old dame of ostentatious spending stills retains her imperious snob value. Serious shoppers don't leave town without swinging through the doors of Matsuya, Mitsukosh and Wako department stores. The Ginza strip is where you can purchase novelty items whose fetishistic value far outweigh its functional value, and indulge in a spot of retail therapy. Window shopping is free, though, and the window displays in the department stores are works of installation art in themselves.