Tokyo dazzles with its traditional culture and love of all things new.
The city itself enchants visitors more than any single sight. It’s a vast, organic thing that stretches as far as the eye can see. The city is constantly changing, and with such a diverse collection of neighbourhoods, no two visits are ever the same. Some neighbourhoods feel like a vision from the future, with ever taller, sleeker structures springing up each year; others harken back to the past, with low-slung wooden buildings and glowing lanterns radiating surprising warmth; and elsewhere, drab concrete blocks conceal art galleries and cocktail bars, and every lane hints at possible discoveries.
In Tokyo, you can immerse yourself in the full range of Japanese arts and culture. Centuries-old forms of performing arts continue to be performed on stages, and sumo tournaments draw large crowds; every spring, Tokyoites head outside to enjoy the cherry blossoms, a tradition as old as the city itself. There are museums that cover every era of Japanese art history, as well as those that focus on the present, challenging the traditional distinctions between art with a capital A, pop culture, and technology. There is, however, a playful side to all of this: after all, Tokyo is a city whose public artworks include a scale model of an anime robot.
Tokyo’s cuisine scene tops the list of accolades for the city. However, we’re not only referring to the well-known eateries and the well-known chefs; Tokyo also excels at general consistency. You are far from a decent, if not excellent, restaurant wherever you are. It’s a scene that careens casually between the highs and lows: it’s not uncommon for a high-end sushi restaurant and an oil-spattered noodle shop to coexist on the same street and to be equally beloved. Join the many different tastes and sensations Tokyo has to offer, as it is a city where people enjoy eating out.
Tokyo can initially seem overwhelming; the metro map, a maze of converging lines, is frequently compared to a dish of noodles. However, you’ll be astonished at how simple it is to navigate once you’re outside. Trains are regular (though occasionally uncomfortable crowded), almost always on time, and stations are well-signposted in English, so you can take that subway anywhere you need to go. That is not to suggest that you won’t occasionally become annoyingly lost, but most locals are ready to assist you in getting back on course.