As the world's largest metropolitan center, Tokyo can be an intimidating place for first-time visitors. But behind the skyscrapers, crowds and bustling streets is a charming cultural hub with enough sights and activities to thrill visitors for days on end.
One out of every four residents in Japan makes their home here in Tokyo, though many of them live outside the central districts and commute via train. While crowds of people are found at every turn, the crime rate is relatively low, and tourists join in the commotion without fear of injury or loss.
Everyone reacts differently to the ‘concrete jungle' on the exterior, but chances are once you've spent any amount of time here, you'll learn to appreciate Tokyo for its harmonious interior spaces, which are often innovatively decorated. This is especially the case in the city's swankiest night spots.
From the ancient ruins of Edo Castle to the soaring heights of the Tokyo City Hall, this has always been a city of grand architecture. It's also a city with first-rate shopping options and more than a few outstanding dining districts. Regardless of where their interests lie, tourists are sure to be fascinated by Tokyo.
With roots going back to the 17th century, Shinjuku is now one of Tokyo's most important districts. It boasts a thriving business district with soaring skyscrapers along with some of the best hotels in the city. This is also where you'll find Takashimaya Times Square, home to an enormous shopping complex.
Shibuya is a massive transport exchange that visitors are likely to pass through more than a few times. It doubles as a nightlife district that attracts young office employees and students with its laid-back atmosphere and reasonable prices.
Popular with young partiers, Roppongi and its lively night scene are awake at all hours. Restaurants, bars and clubs abound, and there are even a few neighborhoods that cater specifically to expatriates.
Best known for Ueno Park, with its zoo, temple, shrine and concert hall, Ueno and Asakusa constitute Tokyo's ‘old downtown'. These districts still retain hints of the fast-disappearing architecture that once defined Tokyo.
Tokyo's posh, upscale district, Ginza is synonymous with upmarket shopping and fine dining. The hotels here particularly cater for mature, affluent patrons with refined tastes. Automobiles are restricted on Sundays and the district becomes a favorite place for evening strolls.
Business travelers spend a great deal of time here in Tokyo's central business and financial district, but tourists have reason to explore as well. Both Edo Castle and the Imperial Palace are found here, along with a few lovely public parks.
This small district is home to a range of large hotels that are mainly serve business travelers. The small night district here is geared toward the same crowd and sees deals closing over drinks on a regular basis.
For average tourists, the main attraction in Ryogoku is the Edo-Tokyo Museum, but the district has a more ancient claim to fame. Sumo wrestlers have trained and competed here since the 1600s, and Ryogoku's sumo stadium remains one of the best places in the country to watch this sport.