You know Tokyo – perhaps from the illustrated pages of Akira, or the films of Akira Kurosawa. Maybe your personal style is informed by Harajuku street fashion or the classic avant-garde of Comme des Garçons; maybe your musical taste runs to BoA or the 5678s. You might only know it in passing, from images of pedestrian hordes traversing Shibuya Crossing, stereotypes of buttoned-up businessmen or a clip of an incomprehensibly wacky Japanese game show. Tokyo is a city where unconventional individuals find freedom in anonymity – where the Japanese aphorism, the nail that stands up gets hammered down, doesn’t necessarily apply.
Tokyo’s bubbling nabe (pot) of creativity is a rich, long-simmering brew resulting from the mix of age-old Japanese traditions, a modern urban society and novel international ingredients. Likewise, its cuisine, popular culture and psyche blend old Japan and modern tastes. It’s a city torn between rigid rules and etiquette, and fluid reinvention and fusion – all of which create a flavour both recognisable and totally foreign. The city’s massive scale alone means a stunning abundance of idiosyncratic experiences.
Recommended things to do & see
Tips & Articles
5 things you didn't think to pack for Japan
25 June 2010
There are some things that are obvious choices from your trip to Japan. Extra memory card to capture all those wild street fashions. Extra suitcase for vending machine trinkets. But tissues?
Cherry blossom season
9 June 2010
Springtime in Japan and the country watches and waits for the first sakura (cherry) trees to burst into bloom. Starting from Kyūshū in the south sometime...
Don’t miss…cycling around Kyoto
25 June 2010
A bicycle is the best and fastest way to get around Kyoto: it’s economical and you don’t have to worry about traffic jams...
See all tips & articles for Narita
Our top picks for Narita
Meiji-Jingū (Meiji Shrine): Don't miss Tokyo's grandest Shintō shrine, set in lush forested grounds
Rakutei: Prepare to enter tempura heaven, where the deep-fried delicacies literally melt in your mouth
Ryōgoku Kokugikan: Attend the seasonal spectacle of sumō at this stadium for salt-slinging, belly-slapping and solemn ritual
Oriental Bazaar: This place is unbeatable for quality souvenirs and reasonably priced Japanese antiques
Ghibli Museum: A magical museum dedicated to the surreal and supernatural cinematic world of Hayao Miyazaki
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