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What do you get when you throw together some sushi, shogun warriors, Hello Kitty, karaoke and goth-geisha girls? A bunch of clichés about Tokyo – but you’ll barely have scratched the surface of this ultra-modern city at the forefront of 21st-century living.
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Shinjuku is a major commercial and entertainment hub. Head to Takashimaya Times Square for shopping. The Metropolitan Government Office's free observation decks have amazing city vistas overlooking Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. At night, Kabukicho is Tokyo's wildest red light district.Accommodations in Shinjuku Ward
Asakusa is one of the key Shitamachi (low-city) districts associated with "old Tokyo." The grand Kaminarimon Gate marks the entrance to Nakamise shopping street (for kitsch souvenirs) leading to Sensoji Temple, the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo. Take a guided rickshaw tour to see popular sights in the area.Accommodations in Asakusa
Chiyoda-ku is both bureaucratic and historic. Check out the sprawling Imperial Palace or National Diet Building. The Shin Marunouchi Building and the Akihabara Denki-gai are modern shopping and dining areas. Walk past the East Garden to Kitanomaru Park and the National Museum of Modern Art.Accommodations in Chiyoda
Ueno is a haven for culture lovers. The Tokyo National Museum features the world's largest collection of Japanese treasures and the National Museum of Western Art houses some of the finest works of art by European artists like Renoir and Van Gogh. Try a bit of bargain shopping on Ameya-Yokocho ("Ameyoko") street.Accommodations in Ueno
Ikebukuro is filled with young and trendy types. Head to the skyscraper Sunshine 60's observation deck, or Otome Road to see female otaku and "cosplay" (girls in role-play costumes). Test-drive late-model cars at Amlux Toyota Auto Salon. Ikebukuro is also home to the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space and several universities.Accommodations in Ikebukuro
With its enormous crossing, Shibuya is complete sensory overload – a major commercial and entertainment hub. The area is loaded with mid-range to high-end shops, restaurants and clubs. Buy an anime costume and join the young people wearing outlandish fashion at Shibuya 109 and Center-gai, or head to Hikarie's shops and restaurants.Accommodations in Shibuya Ward
Shinagawa Station is a transportation hub surrounded by shops and restaurants. Sea dogs should visit the Epson Shinagawa Aqua Stadium or the Museum of Maritime Sciences (Fune-no-Kagaku-kan), or head back to land to see the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art and the Kita-Shinagawa Hondori shopping district.Accommodations in Shinagawa Area
There's a bit of everything in Akasaka. Outside its function as an important commercial and business district, there are many upscale hotels and restaurants. The high-end clubs exude a classier atmosphere than those in neighboring Roppongi. For Japanese culture, visit Hie Shrine on the way to Akasaka Palace.Accommodations in Akasaka
Ginza has been the home of Japan's wealthy elite for centuries. A shopping spree at Mitsukoshi and Wako might cost the GDP of a small country, just like an evening dining at one of the 50 Michelin-star restaurants in the area. For culture, unravel the art of Japanese Kabuki at the famous Kabuki-za Theatre.Accommodations in Ginza
Roppongi never sleeps – it's filled with nightclubs, bars, and high-end restaurants. Roppongi Art Triangle consists of the National Art Center, the Mori Art Museum, and the Suntory Museum of Art. The modern shopping and dining complexes in Roppongi Hills and Midtown Tokyo have a sophisticated feel.Accommodations in Roppongi
Harajuku is mostly known for being the fashion center of "kawaii" culture, but it's also home to the historic Meiji Shrine in memory of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, which was completed in 1920. Shop on Takeshita and Omotesando Streets or just wander and discover some of the restaurants tucked away from the crowds.Accommodations in Harajuku
Glitzy Odaiba features recreations of world monuments. In this eccentric entertainment and shopping precinct, you can salute the Statue of Liberty, test-drive cars at Toyota Mega Web, or experience your samurai fantasies at Oedo Onsen Monogatari, an Edo Period hot springs theme park.Accommodations in Odaiba
Ebisu is a fashionable neighborhood packed with upscale boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Head to Garden Place, a shopping area with restaurants and shops spread across multiple buildings and skyscrapers. Enjoy the Tokyo Metropolitan Photography Museum or the nightlife.Accommodations in Ebisu
Rie has lived in Tokyo for a total of 15 years and loves the city inside and out.
Don Quijote (or "Donki") is a 24-hour discount store that sells everything under the sun. It’s disorganized chaos, where products are piled up in minimal space. However, it’s a reliable source of discounted snacks, cosmetics, electronics and even pet supplies.Accommodations nearby
Monica has lived in Tokyo for 3.5 years and loves the city’s serene temples and parks.
Escape into the world of Studio Ghibli (creators of the famous anime films "Spirited Away," "Howls Moving Castle," and more). This quirky museum was designed by Hayao Miyazaki and includes a theater, garden, children’s area and cafe. Use the ticket machine at Lawson for advance tickets!Accommodations nearby
Mari commutes to Tokyo from Yokohama and loves Tokyo’s great boutique shopping and historic places.
If you're thinking about taking a day trip to Yokohama, try Junkaikaku Restaurant in Chinatown. It's small and inconspicuous but the shumai (dumplings) are to die for. After stuffing yourself, take a walk to the Red Brick Warehouse and the Yokohama World Porters for some shopping or a movie!Accommodations nearby
Maiko has lived in Tokyo for 6 years and loves its mix of tradition, technology, and underground cultures.
Kingyo is a cabaret-restaurant where talented (and beautiful) drag queens have been performing for more than two decades! The dancers are highly skilled and are absolutely amazing. The cover charge – plus a mandatory drink and dish – come to around JPY 5000.Accommodations nearby
Koichi enjoys Tokyo’s awesome restaurants, endless entertainment and traditional culture.
Robot restaurant is an underground cabaret restaurant and café which has performances by beautiful ladies in skimpy dresses, a triceratops and flashing and dancing robots. Sound crazy? It’s a ridiculous and outrageous sensory overload that must be seen to be believed!Accommodations nearby
Ikumi has lived in Tokyo her whole life and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else!
Ninja Akasaka is a restaurant close to Akasaka-Mitsuke Subway Station. Asian fusion dishes are served in a simulated environment of whistling winds, chirping crickets and waterfalls. Ninja magicians visit each table to perform magic tricks as well.Accommodations nearby
Ayano has lived in Tokyo for 3 years and loves the city’s cleanliness and cosmopolitan vibe.
There are many Japanese-style public bathhouses (called "super sento") in Tokyo. I recommend the Urayasu Mangekyo. It includes a big coed outdoor bath, where you wear a swimsuit. It makes for an enjoyable day trip and there’s a free shuttle bus from JR Shinurayasu Station.Accommodations nearby
After 20 years, Akane still enjoys Tokyo because it is safe, organized and clean.
At the tachigui ("stand-and-eat") soba restaurants, there's a waist-high counter where customers can stand and eat. They're really cheap and quite convenient, especially if you have to eat in a hurry before hopping on a train. There's usually a vending machine to purchase your meal ticket.Accommodations nearby
Atsushi was born and raised in Shibamata and has lived in Tokyo for 35 years.
Shibamata is east of central Tokyo. It is one of the rare places with a traditional atmosphere, reminiscent of the Showa days. Taishakuten Sando has traditional shops with Japanese snacks like dango and senbei. Visit Shibamata if you're interested in seeing what the old days in Tokyo were like!Accommodations nearby
Mao’s 4 years in Tokyo have been spent enjoying cafes and restaurants in pursuit of culinary bliss.
When in Tokyo, karaoke is a must. These karaoke rooms are private so don't worry if you're not a diva! Just sing and dance to Lady Gaga or listen to your friends sing some heartbreaking love songs. These karaoke rooms usually have good food and drinks too!Accommodations nearby
Booking.com asked travelers...How can you get the most authentic cultural experience in Tokyo?
Give yourself enough time to see everything. Trains, metro, etc go virtually everywhere so get a Pasmo card and take to the rails. Keep your eyes open and attempt to take it all in. Tokyo is an overwhelming environment populated with the most polite and charming people I've ever met. Eat all the things. Go out to the suburbs and be confused by everyday things. Use one of those pit-toilets. Try to translate your experience into some kind of art form. Photos don't mean much anymore. Write a story, draw a picture, create something expressive. It really helps me feel a cultural connection to a place.See all 42 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Was it cheap, fast, or easy to use? What made it so simple to get around in Tokyo?
Tokyo is so easy to navigate. All the stations have English signage and English announcements, the underground metro line and the overground JR lines are interconnected, and all easily colour coded. The PASMO/SUICA IC cards make paying very simple and cheap, without having to worry which ticket to get and where to. There is almost never a delay, and if there is, it is for a few minutes at most, and you will always be on your way in no time. Be careful of the morning rush on the busier lines (like the JR Yamanote and metro Ginza lines) as it is VERY busy and tightly squashed in the trains.See all 37 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...How can you enjoy the sights in Tokyo while avoiding the crowds?
We went to Roppongi Hills' Mori Tower Observation Deck for the last half hour of the night. We thought we almost missed it but luckily we had from 9:30 to 10:00pm to enjoy the sights. The only people at the deck at that time were young couples, there were maybe 5 couples. It was eerie, foggy and a great view of the city. Romantic! Also - for other sightseeing occasions, it is best to have an early start out of your hotel to explore. You get less people and the most sunshine out of the day!See all 52 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What makes the people from Tokyo so friendly? Tell us your story.
People of Tokyo are often shy and insular, and only speak moderate English usually, but are always willing to help if they can, and will go above and beyond to make sure you are on the right track. People in shops and restaurants are polite and patient if you aren't sure of the customs and methods of shopping/eating. And if you are walking outside in the rain without an umbrella, expect to be asked multiple times if you would like someones as they are just walking past you.See all 43 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Is there more to shopping in Tokyo than just brand-name stores?
Yes, there are many others! If you like souvenirs/food stalls/cheap and varied goods, head to Nakamise Street between Sensoji Temple and Kaminarimon Gate, Ameyayokocho Street near Ueno Park, and in Shinjuku and Shibuya for cheap stores with knick-knacks. There are many other artisan shops, where the owners actually make their own goods, too!See all 42 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What aspect of the culture in Tokyo was so different than back home?
I was touched by the respect and the kindness that people shows to each other and by the cleanness of the place.See all 19 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Describe what other people like you would like about shopping in Tokyo.
Buying merchandise which is difficult to get back home!See all 75 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What's the secret to sampling all the diverse food Tokyo has to offer?
Being adventerousSee all 32 answers
Narita is Tokyo’s main international airport. The comfortable JR Narita Express Train to Tokyo Station departs every 15/30 minutes. It takes approx. 90 minutes to reach the center and costs around JPY 4,500 (1st class) or JPY 3,000 (2nd class). As an alternative, you can book a one-way Airport Limousine bus at a desk once you arrive – it takes 90 minutes and costs around JPY 3,000. Taxis are readily available, take about 60 minutes and cost around JPY 25,000, excluding toll charges.
Taxis are an expensive mode of transportation in Japan, so the cost-conscious should avoid using them if trains and buses are available. If you do need one (particularly when public services end after midnight), stop at a taxi stand or hail one on the street. A taxi is available if the light on top is lit, and occupied if it’s off. Traffic congestion is an issue in Tokyo and road tolls are usually added to your fare.
Tokyo Station is the hub for Shinkansen (bullet trains) to other cities. The JR Train runs from 4:30 am – 12:45 am daily, but each line has its own schedule. Get tickets inside stations – prices vary according to your destination. At Narita, buy a reloadable Suica or Pasmo travel pass for JR trains, subway lines, buses and some taxis. If you're traveling on to other Japanese cities, a Japan Rail pass is available for 1, 2, or 3 weeks (online only, buy before you arrive).
Tokyo's 23 wards are connected by an efficient metro system. Ticket machines and station signs are in English and Japanese. Pick up a free subway map to navigate your way around or download one from the metro website. There's strict etiquette for using the metro, and talking on cell phones is not permitted. Women-only sections are available during the morning rush hour.
Tokyo's buses are clean but often delayed because of traffic congestion. Instead of buying tickets, drop your money into the fares box – it’s important to carry 1000-Yen notes or coins with you. Within Tokyo, buses are usually used for short journeys within or just beyond the ward. To reach cities further away, Tokyo Station and Shinjuku are common departure stations.
Inagaki specialises in oden, a popular Japanese winter dish. They offer 3 types of broth in Kansai, Kanto or Nagoya style. Try sampling all of them to find your favorite. The egg and the daikon radish oden is a must eat!
Ten Shan Fay Way is a Taiwanese hot pot that was invented by Genghis Khan of Mongolia. The pot consists of a variety of Chinese herbs, vegetables, fish and meat, making it great for the winter months. Perfect for all occasions.
Sawanoi looks a bit run-down, but it serves one of the best homemade udon noodles with seafood, chicken and vegetables. Their inaka (country-style) udon is a must eat. Good for lunch, dinner or a midnight snack!
If you're dining alone and on a budget, Ginbuta's yakiton (grilled pork on skewers) are cheap and delicious. If you're not a fan of internal organs, try the harami, tontoro and negima. This restaurant is frequented by locals and is good for all occasions.
The private Japanese-style dining rooms of Kitaoji Akasaka Saryo are elegantly decorated with flower arrangements. The dinner menu includes fugu or wagyu beef and seasonal ingredients. The lunchtime bento is affordable and delicious! Great for groups of 2 or more.
Onigiri or omusubi are rice balls wrapped in nori seaweed. These are almost double the price of the ones that they sell at convenience stores, but that's because these are better quality. Get a value set with miso soup, pickles and tofu.
This casual restaurant serves a variety of Singaporean dishes. Singapore Hainan Chi Fan is one of the few places in Tokyo that serves Singapore's most delicious dish, the Hainanese Chicken Rice. Choose from steamed or fried chicken--and then devour it!
Factory is a bakery and cafe located in Kudanshita – and is best enjoyed for their large continental breakfast. For breakfast, they serve fresh bread, eggs, fruit, homemade granola, yoghurt, orange juice and coffee or tea for just JPY 700!
LucianoShow Restaurant knows how to make diners feel on top of the world. From the beautiful dining hall with floor-to-ceiling windows offering breathtaking views of Tokyo, to the live dance show, LucianoShow will make your night a memorable one!
Onyasai is one of the popular shabu-shabu restaurants with youth. With more than 50 branches throughout Tokyo, offering all-you-can-eat courses of meat, vegetables and side dishes at around JPY 3000, this casual restaurant is perfect for small groups and casual dates.
One of the best places in Tokyo to eat Korean pork belly barbecue. Order the sam gyeop sal set and you'll get a variety of small side dishes. The waiter will cook the meat for you, so just sit back and enjoy!
Masamune's tonkatsu (pork cutlet) is one of the best in the neighbourhood. Under the crispy exterior is the thick, juicy piece of pork. Go all out and order the Jyorosu. Great for all occasions for relaxed dining.
Located a few steps away from the bustling streets of Akasaka, this restaurant has been serving tempura since 1921. Fresh seasonal vegetables and fish are fried to perfection on the spot. Great for a casual and relaxing weekend lunch or dinner.
Genkai has served Mizutaki, a chicken hot-pot dish, for over 80 years. Take a sip of the creamy chicken stock and you'll know why this has been popular for nearly a century. Fantastic for all occasions.
Is it the chicken or the egg? It's both in the case of oyakodon (which literally means parent-and-child bowl)! This classic Japanese dish contains chicken and egg simmered in soy. Good for all occasions, but not suitable for big groups.
One of the rare falafel (and rare vegetarian) restaurants in Tokyo! Not feeling like falafel? No worries, try the tofu pita, mushroom pita or the hummus pita--or two, since all items are around JPY 880 each. Great for casual dining.
Located on the 36th floor of ANA Intercontinental Hotel, the Michelin 2-starred Pierre Gagnaire serves contemporary/creative French dishes. If you're on a date, try to get a hold of the bench seats that offer a perfect view of the city.
Brooklyn Parlor Shinjuku is perfect for any occasion, really: hanging out with your friends over a glass of beer, going on a date to savour perfectly cooked burgers and fish, or just spending quiet time surrounded by rows of bookshelves.
Specializing in Hong Kong-style desserts, dim sum and Chinese rice porridge, The Sweet Dynasty is a popular restaurant among the younger Tokyoites. Definitely try the egg tarts, that you can also order to take with you. Great for casual dining.
Originally from Nagoya, this izakaya restaurant is renowned for crispy and spicy chicken wings that are just so mouthwatering. Coupled with cold beer, they keep you wanting more. Great for all occasions, especially a casual meal.
Sushi Saito is a Michelin 3-star rated restaurant that just moved from Akasaka to Roppongi. Rumor has it that this restaurant is Michelin Guide Director Jean-Luc Naret's favourite restaurant. Enjoy some of the freshest fish that Japan has to offer.
This Italian restaurant's dishes are both delicious and reasonably priced. They serve a huge selection of appetizers, traditional Italian pasta-based dishes and delicious risotto in many different flavours (and great desserts!). Good for all occasions.
Located just a 3-minute walk from JR Shinjuku Station, this stylish restaurant offers 25 types of Indian curries and a variety of side dishes at a reasonable price. One of the best places for cheap Indian food in the area.
Founded in 1923, Tsunahachi has been loved by many Tokyo locals for its crispy Tempura, prepared using only the freshest ingredients. Guests’ favourites are ebi (shrimps), anago (sea eels) and kakiage (assorted seafood and vegetables). Reasonable lunch meals and extensive course tempara are available.
The illustrious Hotel Okura's elegant Chinese Restaurant Toh-Ka-Lin offers a wide selection of authentic Cantonese dishes. Even if you're not too familiar with Chinese cuisine, the extensive menu will most likely have something you'll enjoy. Try the delicious Peking duck!
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