Tokyo is a place of dreams: Of iconic modern city scenes and some of the most polite people you will ever encounter. A city it is very much easy to fall in love with…

Tokyo Night Scene

There are some great views to be offered from the top of the Tokyo Skytree or the 50-year old Tokyo Tower but there are also many other buildings which offer viewing galleries that are even higher and better views than these towers.

Tokyo from Tokyo Tower

The Imperial Palace dominates the central part of Tokyo with a large part of the grounds open to the general public (though the royal family have their own area which is off limits to ordinary mortals).

Imperial Palace Wall

Just a walk down the streets can be an incredible explosion of sensory input…

Tokyo Street Scene (Mitaka)

Getting There

Likely you will be arriving at Narita International Airport which is quite some distance east of Tokyo though transport into the city is generally very good with both buses (of varying qualities) and trains operating on a regular basis (a taxi is really way too expensive for most people). The travel into Tokyo (arriving at Tokyo train station) is generally about 1 1/2 hours (though may be greater if there is traffic and you are taking a bus).

Getting Around

In a city this size there are many options available for getting around.


There are two main systems that serve the Tokyo area: the JR rail/subway network and the Subway. These two are NOT to be confused when planning a journey or things can get very complicated very quickly. The two networks are basically independent of one another with tickets from one not working in the other and having to physically leave facilities to transfer from one network to another. If you have a JR pass you can only use it on the JR lines in Tokyo. The JR “Yamanote Line” is the circular route that takes you around the city centre very quickly – Likely any visit to Tokyo will have one or more trips spent on this line.

I found that when visiting the city I was able to get around quite well only using the JR lines.


Buses are plentiful but should be avoided if you do not speak the language.


Many of taxis (with the funky automatic opening/closing doors) are around but are VERY expensive. Much easier to use public transportation unless you can't help it. Also, most drivers only speak Japanese.

Things to See

Asakusa-Kannon (Senso-Ji) Temple

If you are in Ueno park (the large park just north of the city centre) then you will likely end up in the Asakusa-Kannon or “Senso-Ji” temple.

Asakusa-Kannon (Senso-ji) Temple

This Buddhist temple is notable for it's large number of tourists particularly plugging up the main approach to the temple which is lined by shops selling various souvenirs as well as several very tasty snacks…

Shopping Mall outside Senso-ji

Fish Market, Tsukiji

The fish market in Tokyo is the biggest wholesale fish market in the world and it is VERY easy to get lost here. It is here that many tourists flock to see the famous Tuna auction held every morning at 5:30 am then head off to try some of the wares at some of the many small local sushi restaurants.

Frozen Tuna Auction

Fresh Tuna Auction

It is worth it, however, to look around at the rest of the market but do remember a few things:

  1. Be sure of where you are going before you visit (a map is VERY handy but if can't find one there is one in the subway station as well as outside on the walls of the market itself)
  2. Be VERY careful when visiting the market as it is a real, operating market with lots of people and heavy machinery running around – Keep out of their way
  3. Wear serious footwear – It is VERY slippery and mucky walking around the market
  4. Do not visit if you are a bit squeamish…

The tuna auction is amazing as they are huge fish and listening to the almost singing of the auctioneers is amazing. Fish are sold before you even realise they have started! The money here is VERY big and quality is the biggest concern.

Queuing for Sushi


The ancient art of Kabuki or Japanese Opera is alive and well in Tokyo. Often there are several performances a day with the Kabukiza in Ginza being one of the most famous. Tickets should be purchased in advance (Kabukiza offer an English language ordering service, for example) before the performance date. Do not be surprised to have to queue for tickets if you go to the theatre…

Opera House

Most performances also offer a “ear phone” electronic device that you can listen to during the performance that offers an interpretation of what is happening on the stage (not necessarily a complete translation). This is highly recommended and, believe it or not, does not interfere with the appreciation of the performance…

Areas of the City



Ginza is a very up-market area of town with some very expensive shops and a lot of very good places to eat. Located just around the corner from Tokyo (main) train station it is very easy to get to and contains some of the most iconic sights of Tokyo.


Street Crossing in Ginza


Akihabara Department Store

Akihabara once used to be the Mecca for anyone wanting the latest in electronics. While this may not now be the case in this age of being able to buy anything at any time the area is still an amazing place to visit – even if just to browse!

Capsule Machines (Found Everywhere)

Further Information