Tokyo, Japan, is somewhat of an alternate universe. The original mega-city, Tokyo is a throbbing capital of some 32 million people that is known for its futurist technology, hi-tech existence, food, and fashion.
Here you can visit the world’s most famous fish auction, pray at a 1,000-year-old temple, and shop for Lolita-style fashion all in a day. Since the late 1950s, skyscrapers and towers have sprung up across Tokyo, with the Tokyo Skytree as Japan’s tallest.
Enjoy the incredible panoramic views from observation decks across the city, where you can witness views over the Kanto Plain and impressive Mount Fuji. Tokyo’s Electric Town astounds with its sheer volume of anime, manga, and gaming paraphernalia. Harajuku and specifically the pedestrianized Takeshita Street are lined with offbeat fashion boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.
Sensō-ji is an ancient Buddhist temple located in Asakusa, one of Tokyo’s most traditional neighbourhoods, where you can still find old wooden shophouses. A vibrant red temple is a popular place of worship, and the gardens offer a contemplative escape from the bright lights of the city.
The beautiful Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden park is at its best when the cherry blossoms are blooming or the autumn leaves have turned red, but a stroll past the ponds and pagodas is always a good idea. Taking part in a tea ceremony at Hamarikyu Onshi Teien is a lesson in Japanese culture.
Shibuya Crossing is the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world in terms of foot traffic and walking does leave your head spinning. The nearby Hachikō Statue immortalizes the dog who waited for his owner every day at Shibuya station, even after his master’s death.
Ryogōku is the capital of sumo culture in Tokyo and you’d do well to take in a match at the Ryogōku Kokugikan and learn about the history of the sport at the Sumo Museum. In the area take up a seat at one of the bustling counters at a tiny yakitori restaurant for a meal.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games delivered on the promise of the most futuristic Olympics yet. Driverless taxis and instant language translation, a small army of robots and holograms to guide you around the Olympic Village. The Maglev train that levitates on magnets and has already broken the land speed record at 374 mph manmade shooting stars filling the atmosphere. All going smoothly despite the pandemic.
If I had to eat one city’s food for the rest of my life, every day. It would have to be Tokyo’s. Anthony Bourdain.
** This post forms part of my 100x Magical Places series which offers an introduction to my favourite destinations.
** Pics sourced on Pixabay.