What first comes to mind when you think of Tokyo? It’s most likely countless shiny steel high-rise skyscrapers and the bright neon lights that surround them.
But there’s far more depth to this dazzling city. The Japanese capital is unlike any other city in the world, with a unique mix of ancient and modern co existing alongside one another.
The city is built on the foundations and traditions of the past 400 years, but its residents also fully embrace the future.
Tokyo is where tradition and innovation fuse together – where old meets new. Here, it’s not rare to see traditional and historic temples next to a neon lit square. These two aspects of the city are reflected in the new icon and slogan, ‘Tokyo Tokyo Old meets New’.
The site of the Imperial Palace is steeped in history. It is the former location of Edo Castle, where the rulers of Japan resided from 1603 until 1867. The grounds around the palace, which is surrounded by moats and stone walls, act as a park – an extremely relaxing place to spend an afternoon is this frenetic city. But Tokyo certainly isn’t short of green spaces, and one of the most beautiful parks in the centre is Shinjuku Gyoen.
To delve into the culture further, head to Tokyo’s most famous Shinto site, the Meiji Shrine in Shinbuya. It’s far quieter than beautifully colourful Buddhist temple Senso-ji, which is also worth visiting but does attract crowds. The latter is located across town in Asakusa.
For another taste of Japanese heritage, enjoy a delicious tea ceremony – a long standing tradition which dates back to the 9th century.
After dark head to the narrow streets of Golden Gai to experience a series of the tiniest drinking establishments in the city.
The modern side of this city is hard to hide from, and nor would you want to.
Looking up at the never ending stream of skyscrapers is an easy way to see the innovation and transformation from old to new. Tokyo Tower is perhaps the most famous, alongside Tokyo Skytree, which also houses a restaurant.
The bright neon lights of Akihabara, also known as Electric Town, have made this area a big attraction for visitors. As well as hundreds of electrical shops, the streets here are also a big draw for fans of Japanese pop culture as it is a hub for comics and anime.
Fashion district Harajuku is the liveliest and most contemporary district in the city and a walk along Takeshita Street is a must. Here you’ll find locals dressed in outlandish attire, and some of the city’s unique cat cafes.
Hop on the train on the Yamanote Line and you’ll arrive at Shinjuku Station within minutes. Another example of old merging with new, Shinjuku is home to the Golden Gai rickety bar district but also more modern and extravagant nightlife venues. It’s one of the countless places to be after dark in Tokyo.
If you are visiting Tokyo for business or on a holiday then what better way to start your journey by flying to Tokyo in Business Class or First Class. Even better, when it is time to return when you are tired and weary the benefits of business & first-class travel feel amplified. No cramped conditions, just luxurious comfort for your flight home.