The word “Tokyo” literally means eastern capital. Fitting, considering the fact that the Tokyo metropolitan area is the largest in the world, with roughly 35 million residents. This massive city is not only the capital of Japan, but many consider it the capital of the far east.
It is a city of contradictions, opposites and clashing cultures that seem to mesh perfectly, making Tokyo one of the most interesting cities in the world. On one hand it is one of the most influential economic powers in the world, with suit-wearing businessman developing the next cutting-edge technology. On the other hand, it is home to cartoon lovers, wig wearing rockers and a fashion sense unique to the city.
So what are the must-see places that make Tokyo a truly unique destination?
Tokyo: The modern hub
There are many different ways to enjoy the modern side of Tokyo. The city is packed with high-tech gadget shops, skyscrapers and malls.
The Daimaru department store is a massive 13 story building with everything from high-end designers and fashion to kimonos and samurai swords. Even if you aren’t looking to buy, just walking around this massive store is an amazing experience.
Shibuya crossing, the Japanese version of Times Square, is the largest city intersection in the world. Simply experiencing “the scramble”, the massive crossing of the intersection, is worth the trip to Tokyo. If that’s not enough, there are plenty of stores and authentic food shops surrounding this busy intersection.
The Tokyo Sky Tree is another must-see site on your trip, as it is the world’s tallest “free standing” tower. The view from the top is spectacularly breathe-taking. This tower is a great example of Tokyo’s technology overlooking the city from above.
Cuisine and nightlife
The Tokyo cuisine scene is one of the best in the world, especially with fish and seafood. This city boasts an endless amount of sushi and seafood spots, ranging from fresh street food to gourmet restaurants. Besides the great restaurants, Tokyo is home to the huge Tsukiji fish market. If you think you can cope with the smell, check it out!
Besides the great food, there is plenty to do at night in this restless city. Start the party at one of the local karaoke bars, filled with saki and singing. You haven’t kareoked until you’ve kareoked in Tokyo! After that, check out some of the great and unique night clubs of the Tokyo nightlife, with extraordinary people roaming the streets throughout the night.
A one-of-a-kind culture
To truly experience Tokyo to the fullest, you must taste some of the unique culture. First, visit one of the many sumo arenas throughout the city to get a first-hand look of this Japanese sport. Also, there are many different shrines and temples to visit, each holding significant meaning to Japanese culture, religion and history. And if history is up your alley, visit the Edo-Tokyo Museum to enjoy amazing artifacts ranging from art to samurai. If you’re in the mood for some outdoors, Tokyo’s got you covered. Yoyogi Park is one of the most entertaining parks in the world, as performers of all kinds gather and practice their art. Here, you can find anything from hip-hop dancers to theatre actors and jazz performers. In addition, the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is one of Tokyo’s most beautiful places, filled with endless green and colorful flowers for a nice, relaxing break from the Tokyo hustle.
Tokyo can be overwhelming for some, so make sure you a take a step on the breaks and drift your way through this remarkable city, tasting a bit of everything along the way.