Friday, August 21, 2015

Travelling to Tokyo?

Here's some info to start with:

Tokyo, enjoying a long history of prosperity as Japan’s capital since 1603, and with a population of about 13 million, has grown into the largest of the 47 prefectures of Japan and one of the more advanced metropolises in the world. The city focuses on everything from politics to business, from economy to cultural heritage, thus ascertaining itself as a world traveler destination

Scenic Geography

Even though, known for its urban sprawl and close quarters, Tokyo has treasured its natural beauty hidden throughout its cityscape. The presence of several parks, mountain ranges and bodies of water run through the area, and due to Japan’s cultural and ecological preservation efforts, one can still find traces of pre-urban Tokyo in its natural state.

For an outdoor traveler, Lake Okutama, the largest lake in Tokyo, running through both Tokyo and Yamanashi Prefectures, and the Tama River, provide an amazing scenic beauty. And though Tokyo doesn't have many caves, the most famous one is called the Nippara Limestone Cave, lying on the northwestern point of Tokyo, the largest cave in the Kanto region, taking up to 40 minutes to walk through the area. Here, one can find various stone religious sculptures and various ema, or written prayer plaques, from Shinto supplicants.

The Izu Islands lying in the Pacific Ocean and in order from closest to farthest from central Tokyo include the Oshima, Toshima, Niijima, Shikinejima, Kouzushima, Miyakejima, Mikurajima, Hachijojima, and Aogashima. Each island with its own character, attracts flocks of tourists seeking scenic beauty on top of marine sports and fishing. And the Ogasawara Islands, made up of more than 20 islands, with a subtropical climate form a unique ecosystem. They are listed as a World Heritage Site, and almost their entirety is included in Ogasawara National Park.

Tokyo is also famous for several parks and gardens, most of which are open to the public, like the Shinjuku Gyoen National Park, famous for its cherry blossom trees that bloom in early spring, and the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park encompassing several Japanese prefectures including Tokyo, and considered unique for the fact there is no volcano in the park.

Mount Kumotori, in the Okutama Mountains, is the highest point in Tokyo, standing at 6,617 feet, siting at the boundary between Tokyo and the surrounding Yamanashi and Saitama Prefectures. Near Mount Kumotori in the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park lies Mount Mitake and Mount Mito. The Musashi-Mitake Jinja, an ancient Shinto shrine, sits atop Mount Mitake and is a pilgrimage destination for Shinto worshipers. Mount Mito contains a large beech forest protected by the Japanese government and a waterfall cascading just over 100 feet. Visitors can walk across a suspension bridge to view the waterfall more closely.

Architectural and cultural landmarks

Tokyo, the capital of Japan, features architectural, organic and cultural landmarks that vividly display the iconic heritage of one of the oldest nations in the world. 

The Tokyo Tower, modeled after the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but taller and lighter than its French counterpart, makes it the tallest self-supporting steel structure in the world.

The Tokyo National Museum, one of the cultural landmarkds of Tokyo, houses a large collection of Japanese and Asian artifacts dating back to the Jomon Period in 14,000 B.C. Weapons and armor are displayed alongside cultural items such as kimonos, woodblock prints called ukiyo-e and traditional shodo calligraphy.

The religious heritage of the Meiji Jingu and Yasukuni shrines play an important role in Japan's political and military history as well as the Shinto religion. The Meiji Jingu Shrine was erected to honor and deify Emperor Meiji, for whom the Meiji Era was named, and Empress Shoken. The Yasukuni Shrine deifies the thousands of men who have died serving Japan in wars since 1853. Ritual meals are offered to the deities twice a day, following the Japanese tradition of honoring the dead as though they were alive.

A landmark all on its own, the Akihabara district of Tokyo, is a well-known hub for all things digital, electronic and animated. It's also considered a haven for gamers, the unofficial headquarters for the "otaku" subculture of game and anime enthusiasts.

Culinary Delights

Tokyo offers a wide variety of culinary delights, from Japanese cuisine like Soba (Buckwheat Noodles), Tempura (Deep fried seafood and vegetables), and Sushi, to Chinese, French and other national cuisines. It is also interesting to know that Tokyo is home to world’s largest number of Michelin-starred restaurants.

If one goes through the official travel guides and TCVB website, various restaurants have been specified for specific dishes and cuisine. Like the traditional recipe Sukiyaki of tender, thinly sliced beef, vegetables and tofu, seasoned with soy sauce and a dash of sugar, to be relished at Chinya.

Many Edomae (Tokyo style) selections such as horse mackerel, prawns, bonito, abalone, and salmon roe as well as tuna and salmon are available to enjoy the authentic taste, at Ginza Shintomi Zushi

Soba buckwheat noodles and udon noodles, available at Ri Kyu An, both popular and casual Japanese dishes.

Teppanyaki at Teppanyaki Colza, with the famous Kobe beef from Hyogo Prefecture and Matsusaka beef from Mie Prefecture are available in Tokyo.

Izakaya at Shunyutei, a “Japanese-style Pub”, the place to enjoy a drink alone or with a big group. A wide variety of alcoholic drinks and dishes are also available.

Chinese cuisine and various other cuisines from Beijing, Canton, Sichuan and other regions in China are available at Kogetsu, while French cuisine can be enjoyed at Precious Tokyo Bay, Ueno Seiyoken, Tokyo Kaikan Chez Rossini, to name a few.

One can find many more attractions and festivals, highlighting the culture and traditions of the city, with each month accompanying with itself dance, music and beauty. To make things easier, The Tokyo Convention and Visitors Bureau has created a calendar, which can be looked up @ event calender 

For any more information, check out ‘The Official Tokyo Travel Guide’ @

Images source ©Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau

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