Tokyo Travel Guide

Tokyo Travel Guide

Not for the faint-hearted, Tokyo is possibly the ultimate city break destination. Packed with skyscrapers, neon signs and 12 million people, the city is definitely for those who love hustle and bustle. However, amid the modern buildings and gadget-laden shops are glimpses of traditional Japanese culture and history that make Tokyo an intriguing place to visit.

Location

Mid-southern coast of Japan's Honshu island

Climate

Tokyo is generally humid in the summer - with highs of about 30 degrees C to be expected - and mild in the winter, although it can get very cold at the start of the year. Generally, spring and autumn are thought to be the best seasons during which to visit the city.

Currency

Japanese yen

Time Difference

GMT +9

Transfer Time

Narita Airport is the main hub for getting to Tokyo from other parts of the world. It is located just over an hour's drive from the city (60km) - either by hire car or taxi - and you can also take a bus (airport limousine or shuttle bus) or train between the two points.

Hotels

Whether you're looking for a modestly priced or full-on luxury hotel, Japan has it all. The new Grand Hyatt, Four Seasons and Hilton hotels are for those who want to splash the cash with rooms costing around the 50,000 yen (£220) a night mark, while holidaymakers wanting to save some money for dining out might want to opt for something like the Tokyo Family Hotel or the Shanghairou (5,000 to 10,000 yen), which boasts public baths.

Attractions

If you want to take a peek into Tokyo's fascinating history and ancient culture, check out the various temples and shrines in the Asakusa area in the north-east part of the city. You could also gaze at the Imperial Palace and its gardens in the heart of Tokyo's centre, or check out the gadgets - both new and old - crowding the display cases in the impressive Sony Building, which has a floor dedicated to the company's PlayStation range.

Shopping

Pick up some designer clothing at the Issey Miyake store or a carefully-crafted doll from Yoshitoku, purchase some of those newfangled electronics you were examining in the Sony Building, or wander around the Ameyoko Plaza Food and Clothes Market for some bargains. You can pretty much buy anything you can think of in this shopping-obsessed city - so feel free to splurge!

Excursions

If you can't get enough of busy Japanese cities, head south on the train to Yokohama, which boasts a huge Chinatown and some awe-inspiring modern architecture. For the ultimate sightseeing day trip, you could alternatively take the bus to Mount Fuji, some 60 miles south-west of Tokyo and choose a walking trail to the top for an unforgettable view.

Family

Tokyo has its very own Disneyland, so expect young ones to clamour for a trip there. If you're looking to inject some Japanese culture and science into the kids' lives, the city has several museums ideal for such a purpose, including the Drum Museum, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation and the Museum of Maritime Science.

Getting Around

Tokyo's train network is the quickest way to zip around the city, although its layout may take some getting used to. Walking and cycling are recommended for nipping around the centre, while the efficient bus service is ideal for those who want to see Tokyo at a relatively leisurely pace, compared with the blurry views inevitable on the high-speed trains.