A heaving city of dizzying dimensions and flashing neon lights where gleaming skyscrapers tower over a swirling sea of people but tranquil gardens and serene temples lie just around the corner, Tokyo launches an exhilarating assault on the senses. Technology stores spill over with the latest gadgets and Harajuku girls parade the latest eye-catching fashions, yet the city’s roots are firmly placed in history with ancient shrines and the world’s oldest continuous hereditary monarchy.
Climb the Tokyo Skytree – the world’s tallest tower for enchanting views over the city towards Mount Fuji; see the beautiful Sensoji Temple illuminated at night and slip a few coins in the temples’s fortune telling machine to discover what your future holds; or sing your heart out at one of the surprisingly addictive all-night karaoke bars. The city’s distinctive districts are easy to explore by public transport, which is renowned for being punctual and efficient, and the famous bullet train whisks travellers across the country in record time.
Tokyo is a shopping mecca offering everything from electronic goods and comic books to high-end fashion and traditional kimonos. Stroll along the tree-lined avenue of Omotesando to browse designer boutiques or head to the elegant shopping district of Ginza to visit department stores, boutiques and traditional shops as well as a number of galleries and cafés. The capital is also a gastronomic paradise with a fantastic array of dishes to tempt the taste buds. Traditional dishes include sushi, tempura and okonomiyaki whilst adventurous gourmands will delight at the selection of bizarre foods on offer, from locusts and octopus ice-cream to curry buns and poisonous blowfish (fugu).
From Tokyo, head southwest to snow-capped Mount Fuji. Towering at 12,388 feet, it is Japan’s highest mountain and the views from its 5th station – 2300 metres above sea level – are magnificent. Combine a guided tour of the moutain with a cruise on stunning Lake Ashi and ride the aerial cableway up and down Mount Komagatake for breathtaking views of Hakone National Park.
GMT +9 hours