Introducing the city

£1.00 | ¥142

GBP | JPY

Gasoline £0.87 | ¥124

One-way ticket £1.26 | ¥180

Beer £2.81 | ¥400

Main Course £7.02 | ¥1,000

About Tokyo

Lit by neon lights, dotted with sublime eating options and famed for its all-day, all-night energy, Tokyo is an international, kaleidoscopic capital.

Sci-fi buildings rise from the bustling roads below, traditional wooden shuttered markets fill with locals and swanky businessman glide around in taxis; Tokyo is a city of many sides. It has one of the most cosmopolitan dining scenes in the world (as well as more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city) as well as some of the quirkiest, most eclectic nightlife options. Famous buildings include Tokyo Tower and the Metropolitan Government Office (both with splendid views), the Meiji Jingu Shrine and Senso-ji Temple. There's also an abundance of beautiful green spaces (a must if you visit during cherry blossom season) - Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden or waterside Chidorigafuchi are two of the best.

For delicious food try Tsukiji Market or a yakitori stall for a bowl of grilled chicken and noodles. After, wander along shanty-style alleys to find a tiny bar or drinking spot. For a more contemporary explore, people-watch at one of the mega-malls, home to quirky shops and pop-arty dressers.

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Weather

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When Should You Visit?

With something always going on, Tokyo is a great year-round destination. If you're looking to catch the cherry blossom season, plan a trip in March.

Tokyo lies in a humid subtropical area. It has hot and humid summers; winters are generally mild although some colder spells may occur. The hottest month is August with an average temperature of 26 degrees Celsius and the coolest month is January with an average temperature of five degrees Celsius. Winters may see some snowfall and the occasional typhoon may also happen, although usually in the summer months. The wettest month is September.

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Travioor top tips

FREE VIEWS
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BUDGET LUNCH

Insider Info

  • Despite its wonderful views Tokyo Tower is a tad overpriced. Instead opt for Tokyo's Metropolitan Government building which has a little-known free viewing platform.
  • If you have a smartphone download the offical (and free) Tokyo Subway navigation app. It works offline and you can select English as your language preference.
  • If you're on a budget, try a convenience store known as a konbini. There's a surprisingly good range of options, including sushi, bento boxes, prepared rolls and more.

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Food and drink

Main Course £7.02 | ¥1,000

3-Course Meal £35.12 | ¥5,000

Cappuccino £2.68 | ¥381

Beer £2.81 | ¥400

The Scene

If there was one word to describe traditional Japanese food it would be sushi. As the capital, Tokyo has a mind-blowing selection of sushi options and you won't struggle to fine decent options for all budgets. There are hundreds of varieties to try but two of the best are uni (creamy, sea urchin roe) and ama-ebi (sweet shrimp). Many sushi options come rolled in rice or topped with raw fish (sashimi) sliced into thin pieces and sprinkled with soy sauce. Other popular dishes include sukiyaki (thinly chopped beef, tofu, vegetables and vermicelli), tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlet covered in breadcrumbs) and soba noodles (made from buckwheat flour).

Tokyo's nightlife is legendary with everything from small pubs serving local beers to huge multi-roomed clubs. The biggest party areas are around Roppongi and slightly quieter Ebisu, although you can find something on pretty much everywhere in the city. If you're looking for an authentic tipple then opt for sake, a traditional rice wine that packs a punch.

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History

Tokyo's Story

Tokyo dates back around 500 years when it began life as a small fishing village called Edo. In 1603 it became the base for the Tokugawa shogunat, a feudal military government. During this time, the Japanese emperor ruled from Kyoto but, as the Tokugawas unofficially held all the power, the Japanese capital was Edo in everything but name. In 1868 the Tokugawas lost power and the imperial royal family moved from Kyoto to Edo. It was then that it was renamed Tokyo (which originates from the words for 'east' and 'capital'). Since then, it has grown in prosperity and is now Japan's epi-centre for business, trade, economics and government.

Language

日は (konnichiwa) | Hello
どうも (dōmo) | Thank you

Japanese

Japanese is the official language spoken throughout Japan, including in Tokyo. Although tourists signs will be in several languages and some people understand English, not everyone will. The following phrases might be helpful if you are trying to communicate:

  • Please: ください (kudasai)
  • Excuse me: すみません! (sumimasen)
  • Do you speak English: 英語はできますか (Eigo wa dekimasu ka?)

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Need to know

+ 3 81 DIALLING CODE
110 | 119 EMERGENCY SERVICES

Get The Low-Down

  • Get a prepaid Suica or PASMO travel card which can be topped up and used on nearly every subway, train and bus line. 
  • Taxi drivers don't always speak English so take a map with your destination marked or remember to pack the guide book. 
  • Tokyo has two main airports Narita (usually for international flights) and Haneda (usually for domestic flights).

 

VISA INFORMATION

Find out about the visa requirements for Japan here.

 

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Travioor Recommends

1. KABUKI-ZA THEATRE

For a fascinating and alternative experience book tickets for the traditional Kabuki-za Theatre for a show. English headsets are available.

2. BIKE IT

Plan a trip to the Imperial Palace Gardens on a Sunday when there are 150 bikes available (first come, first served) to ride around the palace's cycling course.

3. MARKET TICKETS

If you want to experience the true inner workings of Tsukiji food market then set the alarm for 5am when 120 viewing tickets become available.

4. Night Onsen

Enjoy a traditional Japanese Onsen (thermal bath) whenever you choose at Spa LaQua in the north of the city. With massage baths and more, it's open all night.

5. WASHI MAKING

You can watch artists make origami at Origami Kaikan but if you're keeping the purse strings tight then free washi (paper) making demonstrations are also offered.


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