The “Gateway to the North”, Ueno is north of Tokyo Station and is the jumping off point for train trips to Japan’s north. Tokyo Ueno-onshi-koen Park, the city’s oldest, contains archaeological history at Tokyo National Museum, Ueno Zoo, Toshugu Shrine and the lotus-filled Shinobazu Pond. To the east is festive Asakusa, where the traditional beauty of Senso-ji Temple and its red lanterns await. Outside the temple, Nakamise-dori Street is packed with folding fans, Japanese sweets and gifts. Hotel Okura is the place to see a tea ceremony.
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South-west of Asakusa is Nihonbashi, a commercial and shopping district steeped in history. Mitsukoshi and Takashimaya department stores have headquarters here in luxurious, early 20th-century buildings, while Bank of Japan calls an 1896 neo-baroque building home. Further south is upmarket Ginza, where high-end shopping and brand names abound. Drop into Matsuzakaya department store, indulge in fresh sushi or see colourful, dramatic costumes at a Kabuki-za Theatre show.
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Odaiba, south of Ginza on Tokyo Bay, is a haven of amusement parks, entertainment venues and Tokyo business hotels. A Ferris wheel, toy stores and designer clothing will delight at Palette Town. Sink into traditional, Edo-style hot spring baths at Oedo Onsen Monogatari. Across Tokyo Bay sits Shinagawa, starting point for train journeys to southern Japan and arrival point for trains from Haneda Airport. It’s home to Sengaku-ji, a temple and samurai artefact museum, and Hara Museum of Art, housed in a preserved 1930s home.
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If fun is the deciding factor on where to stay in Tokyo, Roppongi is Tokyo’s party heart. Low-key pubs jostle with sophisticated bars and clubs. A wealth of restaurants catering for every budget and taste are on offer, alongside sumptuous Tokyo hotels. Tokyo Midtown and Roppongi Hills are shopping paradises, while Mori Art Museum showcases contemporary art.
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Further north is Shibuya, a colourful district packed with fashion shops and games and shopping arcades. Neon signs and bright advertising dazzle the senses on Center Street. Nearby 109 Mall offers cool new fashions, while sophisticated department stores Seibu and Parco lie around the corner. Shinjuku gleams with skyscrapers and Tokyo’s top hotels. It’s a meeting point for many train lines and a haven for dining and late-night entertainment. It’s also home to the vast Shinjuku Gyoen -- lush, European-designed gardens.
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