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Tokyo,a city of rediscovering.

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According to the UN urban report, is the biggest built-up area in the whole world. Home to over 20 million people, this is a city with a history that fascinates every visitor.
Tokyo is located geographically in the center of the Japanese archipelago, the vast metropolis extends across the Kanto Plain from Tokyo Bay,a mix of mini-towns. The central zone comprises of 23 districts, and 27 separate cities with 4 island districts. Strong earthquakes have hit the land through the ages, and so Tokyo has developed in layers with the latest in modern architecture covering the ancient sites.

It may not be as aesthetically pleasing as other cities of the world, but Tokyo's landscape is a demonstration of a city constantly reforming and refinding of itself after constant collapse and rebuilding.

Due to the extraordinarily efficient network of rails and underground lines that crisscross the city, legions of businesspeople, office workers, and students from the suburbs move easy through the city. 2 million people a day pass through Shinjuku Station alone.

Being the center of Japan politics, business, finance, mass media and culture, it has the highest concentration of institutional headquarters in the country.

Advanced technology coexist with ancient temples, flashing Neon lights up kimono-clad women, and shining skyscrapers stand above stunning Shinto sanctuaries.

Traditional festivals are celebrated in summer and the spirit of the old Edo also survives amongst modern-day karaokes and cinemas, shot bars and bathhouses. Kabuki theatre thrives alongside opera, ballet and symphonic performances, and Tokyoites are in love with sumo, baseball and now, thanks partly to the 2002 World Cup, football.

Visiting the city is a pleasure at any time, except perhaps the heavy heat of summer (July and August). While winter in the city is cold, spring (March to May) is the highlight of the year for many, with the arrival of delicate cherry blossoms inspiring picnics in the city’s parks and avenues. Autumn (September to November) sees the summer heat give way to mild days and golden leaves.

Goverment Plans have been made to structure Tokyo as an city more accessesable to foreigners.

English signage is good and getting better, while learning a few basics phrases in Japanese will help you navigate the city.

that's because with no street names, finding exactly where a building is in Tokyo can be difficult. Buying a detailed bilingual map will certainly help, and with so little crime to solve, the police in their boxes (called koban) on almost every corner, are experienced in redirecting the lost gaijin traveller.

From the busy multi-road crossing at Shinjuku (made famous in Lost in Translation), to the peaceful tree filled gardens at the Meiji Sanctuary, the city's key sights are varied. Watch the fashion-obsessed teens every Sunday in Shibuya, step back in time in Asakusa's crowded street stands and enjoy the neon light view from the top of Roppongi's Tower.

The wide streets of Ginza are synonymous with the Japanese's favourite hobby: absolute shopping.

But a visit to Ginza won't necessarily be expensive: splash out on a cup of coffee and make it last, this is the first area for people watching, especially on Sundays when various streets become traffic Islands and pedestrians rule the area.

Walking south brings you to Shiodome, a new commercial centre, and to the famous Tsukiji fish market,the world's biggest.

Surely, a trip to Japan’s most iconic symbol, Mount Fuji, is definitely worth it.

Recent statistics show a rise in tourist numbers, Tokyo is inspiring more western visitors than ever before. Looking towards the future while respecting its past, this unique city and the people that live there, offer visitors an experience they will never forget.

City: Tokyo
Country: Japan
By: Info Hostels
Published on 27-Apr-2009
Section City Live
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