Link­ing eras with ease

Yok­ing past and fu­ture, Tokyo daz­zles with its tra­di­tional cul­ture and pas­sion for ev­ery­thing new. From ar­chi­tec­ture to cui­sine, this is a cap­i­tal full of su­perla­tives

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - LONELY PLANET’S TOKYO -

ser­vice very se­ri­ously. Whether you’re in­hal­ing a thick bowl of miso ra­men noo­dles, sink­ing your teeth into some creamy tuna from the Tsuk­iji Cen­tral Fish Mar­ket or splash­ing out with a multi-course kaiseki meal of sea­sonal del­i­ca­cies, you’ll of­ten be struck by the care that goes into the hum­ble art of eat­ing here.

Nightlife

The Ja­panese worka­holic stereo­type is very true, but stroll through a neon­lined row of Shin­juku yak­i­tori joints on a Fri­day, or any cherry grove in spring, and you’ll see that peo­ple take plea­sure very se­ri­ously here. There is ever-flow­ing sake, deep re­spect for heart­felt karaoke, and con­stant cu­rios­ity about how out­siders view this archipelago at the end of the world. From pic­nics to shot bars, Tokyo’s nightlife is a drinker’s de­light.

Blade Run­ner city

build­ings, over­head wiring and gar­ish neon. Yet it has the moxie to build the tallest tower in the world on a foun­da­tion of re­claimed land and sev­eral buck­ing tec­tonic plates. Add one of the planet’s best masstran­sit sys­tems and you have the per­fect sci-fi cityscape.

Tokyo’s Top 5

1 Shin­juku nightlife The Shin­juku neigh­bour­hood pulls you in and im­presses with its scale and sheer va­ri­ety. Where else in the world can you stand so com­pletely en­veloped by neon, flash­ing lights and the jan­gling sound­track of pachinko (ver­ti­cal pin­ball game) par­lours and then, just a few blocks away, be among creaky wooden wa­ter­ing holes lit by the glow of just a few street lights? In Shin­juku you can sing karaoke to your heart’s con­tent, catch the city’s best jazz mu­si­cians or dance the night away with drag queens. 2 Tokyo Sky Tree Opened this year, the Tokyo Sky Tree (tokyo-skytree.jp/en/) is the world’s tallest tower at 634m. This dig­i­tal broad­cast­ing mono­lith was built with a spe­cial anti-quake struc­ture bor­rowed from Ja­panese pago­das. Two ob­ser­va­tion decks present a stun­ning panorama of the greater Tokyo area. The views are best at sun­set and in the colder months when Mt Fuji’s peak pokes out above the dis­tant moun­tains. 3 Shop­ping Where to be­gin? With the eye­pop­ping, highly cov­etable fash­ions, the cut­ting-edge elec­tron­ics or maybe the tra­di­tional ar­ti­san crafts? Which­ever way you look at it, Tokyo is full of dan­ger­ously tempt­ing shops. There’s lit­er­ally some­thing for ev­ery­one and even if it’s crafted in the wilds of Oita pre­fec­ture, odds are you can get it here in the cap­i­tal. You don’t have to spend a for­tune, though, to come away with an only-in-Tokyo trea­sure. And win­dow-shop­ping alone pro­vides a fas­ci­nat­ing look into Ja­panese pop cul­ture, crafts­man­ship and de­sign. 4Meiji Jingu This Shinto shrine, Tokyo’s largest and most fa­mous, feels a world away from the city. It’s reached via a long, ram­bling for­est path marked by tow­er­ing torii (gates). The grounds are vast, en­velop­ing the clas­sic wooden shrine build­ings and a land­scaped gar­den in a thick coat of forested green. Meiji Jingu (mei­ji­jingu.or.jp) is a place of wor­ship and a memo­rial to the Em­peror Meiji, but it’s also a place for tra­di­tional fes­ti­vals and rit­u­als. If you’re lucky you may even catch a wed­ding pro­ces­sion, with the bride and groom in tra­di­tional dress.

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