The Japanese capital city of Tokyo can be an intense city for the first-time visitor, with its crushing volume of traffic, both human and mechanical. The sheer size of the metropolitan area is daunting and the public transport map looks like a clown’s spaghetti dinner. But once you are acclimatised, Tokyo is one of the world’s most fascinating cities, an endless cornucopia of food, art and history.
Many flights in and out of Japan will arrive at Tokyo Narita International Airport, and getting from there into the city involves at least an hour on a train like the Keisei Skyliner, which travels from Narita to Ueno Station in the central east section of the city. Tokyo is actually a confluence of many towns, and there is a distinct divide between east and west.
The east side of central Tokyo, locally known as Shitamachi, or downtown, is more rugged and traditional, while the western districts of Shinkuku, Harajuku and Shibuya are what most of our first images of Tokyo involve: skyscrapers, neon, and the human sardine rush to the trains.
Tokyo accommodation is expensive. However, in recent years with the weakening yen, the centre of the Japanese world has opened up to the more frugal traveller and more reasonable accommodation like hostels and cheap hotels can be found. Even the locals, having missed their last train at night, will rent a room in an all night karaoke bar to sleep instead of paying for a hotel room.
Tokyo hotels range from the pricey high-end international hotels in Shinjuku and around Tokyo Station, to the more affordable Tokyo business hotels that can be found throughout the city and which are often conveniently located near train stations.
It is possible to find ryokan in Tokyo, while often not as plush as the 'real' Japanese ryokan that can be found in other parts of the country, they still offer a sample of Japanese style accommodation at affordable rates.
Tokyo is full of things to do for a tourist. From the Imperial Palace, the various shrines and temples dotted throughout the city, the world-class museums, and when in Harajuku, just sitting around people watching can be a highlight of a day. Harajuku is still the fashion centre of a very fashion conscious city, and some of the styles that come out of Tokyo can be anything from the bizarre to the absurd for the outsider. No matter where you go or what you do in Tokyo, just be sure you have your camera with you.
Tokyo is also home to the first Disney resort outside the United States. Located in Chiba, the next prefecture to the east, Tokyo Disneyland still packs in hordes of Japanese every year, and special trains can be booked that run from major Tokyo stations to the theme park.
For those interested in staying near Tokyo Disneyland, there are a number of Luxury hotels conveniently located around Tokyo Bay in Chiba including the Hilton Tokyo Bay. Of course, there is always the option to stay in Tokyo Disney Resort at the Disney Ambassador Hotel or Hotel Mira Costa.
Discover the great range of accommodation Tokyo has to offer.