All Roads Lead to Tokyo | A Guide to Visiting Japan's Capital
From the bright colors of Harajuku to the delicate performance of the tea ceremony, Tokyo's rich blend of contemporary culture and time-honored tradition make it the perfect destination for one-of-a-kind experiences.
Tokyo may be one of the most populous cities in the world but with a widely understood etiquette for getting around, crowds here are probably more orderly than at your local grocery store. Blend in by walking on the left-hand side of the street, and don't cross until the light changes.
Start your day as the sun rises at one of the world's oldest fish markets. Nearly two tons of fresh seafood passes through Tsukiji Market each day. Queue up early to catch a glimpse of the famous tuna auctions starting at 5 a.m. (public space is limited) or stop at one of the market's stalls for some breakfast sushi. Later, you can walk off the tuna around Tokyo's oldest temple. Sensoji Temple, also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple, was built in honor of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. According to legend, two fishermen retrieved a statue of the goddess out of the nearby Sumida River in AD 628. Despite returning it to the river, the statue always seemed to find its way back to them. The temple's original construction was completed in AD 645 although much of it had to be rebuilt after World War II.
For those on the more adventurous side pay a visit to a sento, or Japanese public bath. Made popular during an era when bathrooms weren't common in private homes, the sento is less of a place for cleaning and more for relaxation and reflection. The number one rule to keep in mind when visiting a sento: Go naked. The hot waters often have minerals added to them for healing purposes which is difficult when you’re wearing anything other than your birthday suit. Don’t worry, there are separate baths for men and women.
Today, no visit to Tokyo would be complete without a stroll around the famed neighborhood of Harajuku. Known the world over for its vibrant street art and eclectic subculture there’s something for every style, from vintage to high-end and name brand stores. After picking out a completely new wardrobe, refuel with a crepe from one of the stands near Takeshita Street.
Needless to say, Tokyo is a city brimming with opportunity to do, see, and eat things you’ve never experienced before. So no matter what your tastes, for your next adventure around the world why not take a bite out of Tokyo.
Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.com.
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