Image by Tokyo-based illustrator Miwa Goto

Insider Travel Guide to Tokyo

At once ultra-modern and enduringly traditional, Japan’s capital is a kaleidoscope of pop culture, history and innovation. There’s something to stimulate the senses around every corner, whether it’s the buzz of a pachinko parlour, the scent of incense at Sensō-ji temple, the neon lights of Kabukichō or the sight of blossoming cherry trees. Tokyo’s tech-savvy reputation is embodied in its futuristic skyscrapers, high-speed bullet trains, robot restaurants and nine-storey electronics stores. Japan’s penchant for all things eccentric is evident everywhere, from eye-popping street style to stores, streets and whole districts devoted to manga, anime and kawaii culture. Meanwhile, old-world Japan can be found in the city’s historic shrines, Japanese gardens and in the narrow streets of old-fashioned quarters such as Asakusa.

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Tokyo travel and culture

Tokyo is an incomparable city where everything you do will be unlike anything you’ve known before. Eating is an experience in itself, with concepts ranging from monster, maid and animal cafés to traditional tea ceremonies. To eat and drink like a resident, head to Shinjuku and explore the Golden Gai’s maze of tiny drinking dens and Omoide Yokocho’s izakaya (Japanese pubs). Take in the sheer size of the world’s most populated city from atop the 634m-tall Tokyo Skytree, or by braving the crowds at the infamous Shibuya Crossing. Finally, make sure to enjoy quintessentially Japanese traditions, whether by watching a sumo tournament or soaking in an onsen (natural hot spring).

Neighborhoods in Tokyo