Japan City Guides: Tokyo 東京
- Japan's modern high-tech capital of over 12 million people
- one of the world's most fascinating cities.
- busy, crowded and expensive but always exciting and enthralling.
- not to be missed, cosmopolitan heart of the nation.
- center of Japanese culture, music, finance and the arts.
- a city of some stunning modernist architecture and looming skyscrapers.
- Hakone, Shizuoka, Nikko and Yokohama and Atami within easy reach.
- political and economic powerhouse of the nation
- great hotels, museums, galleries, gardens, parks, restaurants, cafes, shops, clubs - Tokyo has it all.
Sightseeing: Things to see and do in Tokyo
Entertainment quarters of Roppongi, Shinjuku (Kabukicho) and cool youth scene in Shibuya. Sony Building in Ginza for the latest hi-tech, or Akihabara for hi-tech at cheaper prices, and with a big dollop of Japanese nerd culture. Tokyo Tower and environs for an interesting day and great views of the city. Ueno Park for relaxation, art and shopping. The Tokyo Metropolitan Building (Shinjuku) for high-rise views, Tsukiji fish market for morning sushi. Asakusa and the Yushima & Kanda district for a taste of old Edo. The home of Japanese sumo in Ryogoku in Sumida-ku. Tokyo National Stadium hosts many of Japan's major sporting events. Tokyo Disneyland for the kids. A select guide to What's On in Kyoto & Tokyo.
For a full list of Tokyo temples and shrines, parks and areas of interest
For a full list of Tokyo Museums and Art Galleries
For a full list of Tokyo hotels, hostels and ryokan
Local Time: GMT+9 hours
(+14 hours from U.S. Eastern Standard Time)
(+17 hours from U.S. Pacific Standard Time)
Tokyo International Airports
Tokyo International Airport (Narita) to the city (64 kilometres):
Airport limousine buses: from both terminals stop at most of Tokyo's major hotels and Tokyo City Air Terminal (TCAT). Fares range from 2,700 Yen to 3,900 yen.
Tokyo International Airport (commonly known as "Haneda Airport") (HND) is not only Tokyo's and Japan's main domestic airport hub, but a major international airport too. Haneda is located much closer to downtown Tokyo than Narita.
Tourist Information Center
Tourist Information Center Tokyo Office, 10F Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan Bldg. in front of JR Yurakucho station. Open 9am-5pm weekdays; 9am-noon on Saturday; closed Sunday + national holidays. (Tel: 033 201 3331). Kokusai Kanko Service Center, open Mon-Fri, 9.15am-5.15pm. (Tel: 033 252 1331).
Embassies in Tokyo: A complete listing of foreign embassies and consulates in Tokyo.
Bondi Books - Used English bookstore in Jimbocho.
Tokyo - A City of Villages
Tokyo has been the administrative center of Japan since the 1600s. Until the 1860s the Emperor exercised only symbolic rule from his palace in Kyoto, while those at the apex of the warrior class ran the country from their castle in Tokyo. In other words, Kyoto was the repository of tradition, Tokyo the seat of power, an arrangement that persists to this day. Although Tokyo remains the administrative and political center of Japan not to mention having also become its cultural center stray only meters off the yellow brick roads' lined with skyscrapers and peopled with perfectly-turned-out creatures off the catwalks, and you will find that the metropolis also has its very down-home side.
Enormous Tokyo has rightly been called a city of villages. In total, the conurbation is overwhelming and disorienting: a sea of streets, buildings, overhead highways and telephone wires. On closer inspection, though, Tokyo is a web of interconnected "villages," dominated by little old women who clean and gossip, water plants and keep a close eye on all who pass. These villages have become train stops or whole wards and cities, but still retain a local flavor defined by the shotengai, or high street, that is the center of activity. A good introduction to the high-tech center of the universe and its 12 million-plus inhabitants is a ride on the Japan Rail Yamanote loop line. An hour or so of Tokyo from the train will give you a feel for Tokyo: both its grandeur and its clutter of mostly 2-3 storey architecture. Just avoid rush hour!
For a full list of Tokyo museums, parks and areas of interest click here
For a full list of Tokyo hotels, hostels and ryokan
Navigate the metropolis with this interactive map of Tokyo
Day Trips From Tokyo
Narita International Airport and Tokyo International Airport (commonly called "Haneda Airport") are Tokyo's main international airports. Haneda Airport is located in Tokyo itself, so is more convenient for the traveler to Tokyo than the more distant Narita Airport.
Airport Shuttle Buses - services to certain city center hotels from about 2,800 yen.
Trains from Narita
-JR Narita Express (NEX) 53 minutes.
-JR Airport Liner 80 minutes.
-Keisei Skyliner and Tokkyu trains 60 to 75 minutes to Ueno station in Tokyo.
The Keikyu Line runs between Narita and Haneda Airports and takes around 1 hour 45 minutes.
Taxis from Narita - are expensive around 20,000 yen (1-2 hours).
Trains from Haneda
-monorail from Haneda to Hamamatsucho Station on the Yamanote Line (approx. 20 minutes).
Buses from Haneda
-limousine buses from Haneda to Tokyo City Air Terminal (TCAT) at Suitengumae Station on the Hanzomon Line, Tokyo Station, Ikebukuro, Shinjuku and other destinations.
Taxis from Haneda - are reasonable around 6,000 yen.
All mainline JR trains radiate from Tokyo Station connecting the capital via the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen lines to Shizuoka, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Hiroshima and Fukuoka to the south and west and the Tohoku Shinkansen line to Sendai and Morioka in the north. The Joetsu Shinkansen line runs to Niigata on the Japan Sea coast.
For trains to Yokohama see our Yokohama section.
Shinkansen Fares From Tokyo
Buses in Tokyo
Long distance and night buses to many cities throughout Japan leave from Tokyo Station, Shinjuku Station (Busta Shinjuku), Ikebukuro & Shinagawa.
Ferries From Tokyo
There are ferries from Tokyo to Kushiro and Tomakomai in Hokkaido, Tokushima in Shikoku and also to Kitakyushu in Kyushu and Nara in Okinawa.
Getting Around in Tokyo
- The circular JR Yamanote Line connects with most major Tokyo stations.
- If you are staying in Tokyo for any length of time consider buying a subway pass or a Grutt Pass that offers free entry or a discount to museums, galleries, and other attractions in Tokyo.
- trains and buses stop operating in the city between midnight and 6am.