Better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times goes an Asian proverb.
Putting a twist on the meaning of the proverb, if you take the words in their literal form, they could not be truer than in case of Tokyo! We all have heard so much about this bustling prefecture, from the ones who have already visited the Land Of The Rising Sun to the ones who are struck by wanderlust and want to visit it. Every person who loves travelling has Tokyo on their wishlist and data like things to do in Tokyo on their internet browsing history!
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The capital as well as the largest city of Japan, Tokyo is a lively and vibrant metropolis. But it has not always been so. Prior to the year 1868, Tokyo was known as Edo. A quaint and beautiful castle town in the 16th century, Edo became Japan's political centre in the year 1603. This was due to Tokugawa Ieyasu who established his feudal government there. It officially became the capital after Emperor Meiji moved his seat to the city from the old capital of Kyoto. And since then started the transformation of this small town into a larger than life metropolis.
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Being the cultural centre of Japan, Tokyos traditions and customs are reflected in its time-honoured arts. Be it Ikebana (flower arranging) or Kabuki (dramas performed in elaborate costumes) or Origami (art of paper folding) or Kamishibai (storytelling with animation, sound and music) and ofcourse, its Tea Ceremonies, the citys culture is visible everywhere. Having originated from the ethnic Jomon culture, Japanese culture is a mixture of influences from Chinese, Korean, Greek, Indian, European and American traditions. All these cultures have amalgamated so well that now Japan has its own unique culture.
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Things to do in Tokyo and places to visit while in town are aplenty. Starting with Sens-ji. It is Tokyos largest ancient Buddhist temple. A major tourist attraction, the Sensoji temple is dedicated to the Bodhisattva Kannon or the Goddess of Mercy. If you are in town on the 2nd of January or on December 23rd, head over to the Imperial Palace & East Garden. It is the main residence of the Emperor of Japan. Very few people have seen the interiors of this palace! It is open to the public only for New Years Greeting (2nd January) and for the Emperors Birthday (23rd December). To fulfil all your shopping fantasies, add Nakamise to your Tokyo travel itinerary. A lively place, Nakamise is one of the oldest shopping centres in Japan. With shops selling souvenirs such as yukata, folding fans, keychains and other items, this is one place you will love visiting. Take back beautiful gifts for your loved ones back home.
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Moving on to the next top attraction- the Tokyo Tower. At 332.5 metres (1,091 feet), the Tokyo Tower is the second tallest artificial structure in Japan. At 150 metres, there is an observatory where visitors get stunning views of Tokyo skyline. There is also a special observatory at 250 meters. Don't forget to pay the Tokyo National Museum a visit. And if you want to have a kinky time, head over to Kabukicho! It is an entertainment and red-light district situated in the heart of the city. Over here, you will find yourself surrounded by love hotels, hostess bars, host bars, sex toy shops and a lot of restaurants and nightclubs.
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If you love sushi, Tokyo will delight you with an array of it. However, the city cuisine is so much more than just sushi. For a foodie, dishes such as okonomiyaki (Japanese savoury pancake), katsu (deep-fried pork cutlet), yakitori (grilled chicken), tempura (deep fried fish or vegetables) and yakisoba (grilled noodles) are to die for! End your meal with scrumptious desserts such as wagashi, imagawayaki, coffee jelly, mochi ice cream and taiyaki.
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The biggest festival of Tokyo is the Sanja Matsuri. It is held in celebration of the three founders of Sensoji Temple. Over two million people visit Asakusa over the three days of the festival, making it one of the three biggest festivals in Tokyo, the other two being Kanda Matsuri and Sanno Matsuri. An event you must visit while in Tokyo is the AnimeJapan. Anime is a huge fad in Tokyo. One of the largest animation related events in the world, AnimeJapan (formerly known as Tokyo International Anime Fair) is an annual tradeshow. It is the premier convention of the Japanese animation industry.
Quick Guide to Tokyo
Building Trip Plan
Must Have Experiences
What To See & Do
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Tokyo, a place where beautiful and ancient shrines merge well with flashy neon lights just as the way age old tradition and customs blend perfectly with modernization.