With a cityscape that feels like the set of a science fiction movie – from glitzy neon lights to the latest in fashion & technology, Tokyo is a city that’s constantly buzzing and energized by its people. With a population of over 25 million, the city has continued to rise, blending ancient practices of the East with the West’s new technology – making way for a greater tomorrow! Despite its size and energy, it’s a city that still holds tradition, ritual, and respect close to heart – one that beats with zen!
When it comes to exploring the city, there’s no dearth of things you can do. From landscaped gardens and parks, historic shrines, the Imperial palace, to catching the new shinkansen (bullet train) service, to shopping at posh boutiques for the latest in fashion, Tokyo will treat you to the ride of your life. Luxurylaunches and the much-renowned Palace hotel Tokyo’s concierge bring you an agenda showcasing the very best the city has to offer.
Top Day Trip
The culturally rich Kanazawa boasts many historical attractions, modern museums, and of course, its main attraction – the Kenrokuen, one of Japan’s “three best landscape gardens.” There’s also the historic Higashi-Chaya-Gai district where geishas have been entertaining guests since the Edo era; the Kaikaro, a traditional-style teahouse; and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, which showcases the contemporary in various mediums, including music, the performing arts, and film.
Japanese-style curry is distinctive in its blend of Indian spice and Japanese rice and is one of Japan’s most popular soul foods. You won’t be hard-pressed to find curry bars throughout Tokyo, but Manna, in the basement of Nakamuraya in Shinjuku, is where curry lovers flock to.
Best Activity or Excursion
Most would say no trip to Tokyo would be complete without visiting its famed Tsukiji Fish Market – Japan’s largest and busiest fish market. Another ‘must’ experience is a visit to the Palace Hotel’s ‘Grappling Tokyo’ – an experience that offers guests the opportunity to get up close and personal with mighty sumo wrestlers at their sumo stables, where they live and breathe the sport. Not only can sumo enthusiasts watch them practice, but they can feast with them over a lunch of chanko nabe, the staple food of these champions.
Many travelers to Tokyo don’t know that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building offers some of the city’s most impressive views from its 45th-floor observation deck, towering 202 meters above Shinjuku’s streets. It may not be as iconic as Tokyo Tower, nor as tall as the more contemporary Tokyo Skytree, but admission is always free – day or night – crowds are usually not as large, and on clear mornings, you can get a terrific view of Mt. Fuji in the distance.
Best One-Stop Shop & Best Local Shopping
The brand new Ginza Tokyu Plaza that just opened in April is a new shopping complex dedicated to showcasing products made in Japan. Its concept is based on Edo-Kiriko, which originally began as the combination of Japanese glass-making techniques and western cutting techniques back in the Edo era. Still, it is today, intended to symbolize the melding of local tradition and contemporary innovation. Ginza Tokyu Plaza’s 6th and 7th floors, dubbed ‘Find Japan Market,’ showcase works that speak to the beauty and uniqueness of products made in Japan and are a great place to browse for quality souvenirs.
Best Family Activity
A great way to take in the city with a family in tow without having to constantly navigate Tokyo’s streets or its extensive metro system (although it’s very user-friendly) is to hop a water bus and enjoy a leisurely, approximately 40-minute ride along the Sumida River as it winds its way past a dozen distinctive bridges and as many distinctive areas. Water buses leave every half hour or so and shuttle between the historic district of Asakusa and the Hamrikyu Gardens (or Hinode Pier) and depending on the season; you’ll be able to take in the picturesque autumn leaves or the sight of Sakura abundantly in bloom in the spring against the backdrop of the city’s skyline. You’ll also cruise past the famed Tsukiji Fish Market, as well as some of Tokyo’s waterfront communities. The river also offers the perfect vantage point from which to take in each summer season’s fireworks extravaganza over the Sumida.
Best Cocktail With A View
Tokyo is abundant in chic watering holes, but few offer open spaces and views as impressive as their interiors or cocktails. Lounge Bar Privé at Palace Hotel Tokyo has an intimate, outdoor terrace just off of its chic lounge area from which to soak in Marunouchi’s views and the surrounding skyline – including the distinctive glow of Tokyo Tower in the distance. Come a little bit before dusk, and you’ll be able to take in views of the Imperial Palace Gardens and moats as well before the sun sets on the city’s much-loved green space. In neighboring Ginza, La Terrazza Lounge at Bulgari Il Ristorante features an outdoor terrace on the 10th- floor rooftop of the Bulgari Ginza Tower, home to the largest Bulgari store in the world. Both venues offer distinctly different but equally memorable views of Tokyo from their unique perches.