Rich tradition and whimsical technology intertwine in Japan’s capital city. Tokyo boasts a dazzling mix of soaring skyscrapers and historical buildings, quiet gardens and bustling intersections, time-honored fishing markets, and robot-operated restaurants. With an ever-increasing number of visitors flocking to this thriving metropolis, hospitality and visitor convenience become a priority. If you’re on the hunt for your next travel destination, here are eight reasons why Tokyo is worth planning travel to Japan.
1. THE WELCOMING CULTURE
Beckoning cats line the entrance to Gotoku Temple in Tokyo
It is not uncommon to be warmly welcomed and showered with hospitality during a visit to Tokyo. Whether you are visiting a lively restaurant, a quiet boutique, or a buzzing tourist hotspot, you will probably be greeted with a smile and the word "Irasshaimase" which is their way of saying "welcome." With millions of visitors each year and the 2020 Olympic games coming up, Tokyo has embraced its position as a hospitality capital, and their efforts to make visitors feel welcome is apparent. With such a welcoming culture and community, it’s no wonder why travel to Japan is becoming more and more popular.
2. THE GARDENS AND PARKS
A woman sits on a bench near a pagoda in a Japanese garden
Japan is filled with seasonal gardens and parks, whether they are famous, giant tourist destinations or quiet, undiscovered corners of beauty. Vivid blooms and lush greenery fill these spaces in the spring and summer. Fall brings warm hues and winter blankets the city in a white wonderland. As one of the top Tokyo points of interest, Hakone National Park is dense with beauty and welcomes travelers to explore the diverse landscapes that lead to highly revered Mt. Fuji sitting at the northern end.
3. THE KARAOKE AND NIGHTLIFE
Nightlife out on Shibuya Shopping Street, Tokyo
No trip would be complete without partaking in this worldwide pastime when you travel to Japan. A tradition that began in Japan in the 70s, karaoke has evolved from a casual gimmick to the main attraction of many nightlife venues in the city. Karaoke is usually performed in a rented private room with friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. However, some venues feature one main stage where the performer is in front of a large crowd full of rowdy strangers, excited for their chance to enjoy the spotlight.
4. THE EASY TRANSPORTATION
A woman travels on a classic Japanese train
Despite its dense population, Tokyo has a convenient and seamless public transportation system. A card costing ¥500 (or a little more than $5 USD) will grant you access onto any public train. The expansive web of stations and the easy-to-follow color coded system makes for quick and easy pickups and drop offs throughout the city.
5. THE THEMED RESTAURANTS
Fake desert models sit outside of a rabbit themed café to entice customers
In some Japanese restaurants, the sensory experience is just as important as the food. Themed restaurants are common Tokyo attractions and they range in levels of intensity. From hidden ninja villages to colorful worlds of fantasy to realistic jail cells, these restaurants don’t hold back when it comes to decor or performance. Everything from the entrance experience to the menu items complements the theme and although these culinary experiences differ greatly from each other, they all promise to be unforgettable.
6. THE BATHHOUSES
Japanese bathhouse with a colorful painted panel
While in Tokyo, immerse yourself in both luxurious water and tradition by visiting a bathhouse. Japanese bathhouses, or sento, range from modern and lavish to traditional and modest. Originating from a time when having a private bath in the home was uncommon, these bathhouses have become popular attractions for visitors. If a little pampering is what you’re looking for, many spa complexes replicate the original ambiances of the first bathhouses with the addition of modern convenience. Fizzy waters and decorative soaps are plentiful in these bathing wonderlands.
7. THE GORGEOUS VIEWS
View of the Tokyo skyline at sunset in Japan
A metropolis as large as Tokyo promises glittering skylines and expansive city views. From almost any point in the city, gorgeous layers of modern architecture decorate the landscape. While the city views are dazzling, Tokyo is made unique by the juxtaposition of modern buildings and vivid gardens. Among streets lined with striking skyscrapers are natural oases quietly tucked away, waiting to be discovered.
8. THE HISTORY
Showroom at the Edo-Tokyo Museum teaches viewers about the Edo period
From traditional sumo to temples and shrines from the 20th century, this city is drenched in history. What began as a small fishing village in 3,000 B.C. has flourished into one of the most densely populated and technologically advanced cities in the world - and the city is proud of its history. Historical museums like the Ota Memorial Museum of Art, the Shitamachi Museum, and the Edo-Tokyo Museum tell the story of the city’s rich past. And, a visit to Tokyo wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the Meiji Shrine, dedicated to the spirit of Emperor Meiji and his wife, or the Asakusa Kannon Temple, the oldest Buddhist temple in the city.
The best way to travel to Tokyo is on a trip crafted by experts who have experienced the lure of the city firsthand. We have designed a nine-day private journey to the cities of Tokyo, Hakone, and Kyoto that will leave you dazzled - breathtaking views, lavish bubbling hot springs, exclusive culinary experiences, spiritual and historical sites, and vibrant galleries and markets, that all work together to form the top Tokyo attractions. For more information on luxury travel to Tokyo, connect with Seema, one of our Destination Specialists for Asia.