Japan's electrifying capital
From glittering skyscrapers to rickety ramen shacks, Tokyo is a dazzling mix of the ultra modern and traditional.
Tokyo is a place where the old cliche “there’s something for everyone” actually rings true. Literally “Eastern capital” in Japanese, Tokyo grew from a small fishing village named Edo in the twelfth century to become the capital of Japan. Today it is one of the most populous cities in the world.
Its size designates it as a prefecture encompassing 23 special wards governed independently as cities. Not just a concrete jungle, Tokyo Prefecture includes the volcanic Izu Islands and tropical Ogasawara archipelago in the Pacific Ocean.
Tokyo is home to more than 13 million people. Skyscrapers and neon lights soar over the Tokyo skyline, but there are also residential areas, tree-lined hills, and underground bars and restaurants. The city and its inhabitants live and breathe together. Exploring Tokyo, you get to feel its unique aliveness. Each of Tokyo’s 23 wards has a distinct character of its own.
Temples and culture
Eastern districts like Asakusa and Ueno give off a more retro vibe, preserving their historic temples, museums, and tiny izakaya hidden among pre-war winding alleyways. The super-sleek business center of Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward gets a dose of royal zen from the Imperial Palace nearby. Then there’s the nightlife center of cosmopolitan Roppongi, where ex-pats and locals alike go to party, but is also known for its thriving art scene.
Apart from all of the sights, niche attractions, and nightlife, Tokyo has events and festivals throughout the year. There’s never a dull moment across the city, so make sure to check what’s on during your stay.
It’s hard to visualize where Tokyo begins and ends, but make it beyond the urban borders, and you’ll discover lush forests, mountains, and teal waters. Tokyo’s Okutama is a town located in the prefecture’s western side and is home to outdoor adventures such as waterfall climbing and canyoning. Mount Takao, located in Tokyo’s Hachioji City, is perfect for a day of hiking.
Many are surprised to learn that Tokyo also has subtropical islands. Overnight ferries depart from the central Takeshiba port terminal near Hamamatsucho to Tokyo’s Izu Islands, such as Hachijojima.
The furthest island from Tokyo, Ogasawara, can take up to 26 hours to reach. Here, you’ll find pure white beaches and never-seen-before reefs that offer camping, hiking, surfing, snorkeling, whale-watching, and more.
Plan your trip to Tokyo with the links below!