Japan’s historical capital is one full of modern wonders that appeal to every fantasy, taste and age…
Before 1868, Tokyo was known as Edo, a small castle town. Fast-forward a few centuries and Japan’s capital is one of the world’s most populous and thriving metropolis.
What makes it such a fascinating hot spot for tourists is its amalgamation of things to offer. From the quaint history and sanctuary that can be found at the many shrines and parks scattered across the city to the crazy and futuristic mayhem at its robot cafes (this is actually a thing, see below). What ever you want, or desire can be found in Tokyo as this is a city where the old and new mingle in perfect unison.
Before jetting over, follow our EW insta-travel city guide to Tokyo:
From dog worshipping to living dolls, and famous castles – it’s as eclectic as it gets.
Be sure to visit the statue of Hachiko at Shibuya Train Station. So famous is this dog that there’s even a film about him starring Richard Gere. Every day Hachiko would meet his owner outside the station after work. When his owner died, the loyal dog continued their routine, until his own death.
This famous intersection outside Shibuya Station is the best example of organised chaos.
The Emperor of Japan’s main residence set in a gigantic park. A great place to seek peace and quiet from the city. FACT: courtesy of Wiki – “During the height of the 1980s Japanese property bubble, the palace grounds were valued by some to be more than the value of all of the real estate in the state of California.”
Set in an evergreen forest, Meiji Shrine is one of city’s the most stunning. If lucky you might spot a wedding…
Where comic relief is pertinent. Come at the weekend and you will see Elvis, hip hop dancers, manga characters and dogs in fancy dress.
We adore this area, it’s like a living doll house with a vibrant Japanese teen culture, especially on Sundays. A place for the weird and the wonderful – 50s rockabillies mingle among Gothic Lolitas.
This place lives up to the futuristic Tokyo fantasy. Watch girls fight dragons and ninjas battle robots. Book in advance as its extremely popular. shinjuku-robot.com
Eat & Drink
While Tokyo has more Michelin-starred restaurants than anywhere else in the world, we say you have enough of those in the UAE so go out and experience the real culture.
Some of the best city food can be found in an Izakaya. Don’t be put off by the less than glam exterior.
An Izakaya is small restaurant-cum-bar and Tokyo is full of them. Food is delicious and affordable and the staff the kindest you’ll ever find.
Travel Advice: Tipping is frowned upon to tip in Tokyo.
If you love Japanese food try it on the plan flying over. We were very impressed with the offerings on Qatar. #Foodselfie
A short walk from Robot Café. This low-rise lantern-filled lane, offers rows and rows of bars some so tiny you can only fit three people. It gives you a glimpse into pre-war Toyko.
Just off the main drag of Shinjuku, it’s filled with over 200 tiny bars, clubs and eateries. Allow yourself to get swept away by the ambience.
Contemporary, designer and plain out there, the shopping options are endless.
Shibuya is Tokyo’s trendy and fashionable shopping district. Shibuya 109 building (located across from Shibuya crossing) I great for local on-trend designs.
Travel Advice: Don’t be alarmed if you have to go up a dress size or two, here. The Tokyo women are very petite.
Want fancy dress? Head to Harajuku Street.
Harajuku Street is also great fro discovering wonderful sweet treats including Kit Kats of every flavour. Try the green tea verison.
Dover Street Market Ginza, Comme des Garçons T-shirt vending machine.
An exclusive range of Ladurée lipstick exclusive to Tokyo. Head to Mitsukoshi mall in Ginza.
Jingumae Street, Shibuya
Jingumae, Shibuya is your designer hot spot where you’ll find everything from this impressive Ralph Lauren to the must-visit BookMarc store.
Top Tip : Selling everything from gadgets to beauty, food and fashion, Tokyu Hands (12-18 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku) is great fun. You’ll see why.
A local walks his cats along Cat Street, which connects Shibuya and Harajuku. Here you’ll find moderately-priced boutiques, second hand stores, incredible trainer shops, and great restaurants.
From pod hotels, to sakura house and five-star establishment, you can chose your own story in Tokyo.
The Mandarin Oriental not only offers the best city view, location and service, but the in-room kimonos were a huge selling point too. mandarinoriental.com/Tokyo