It’s impossible to sum up Tokyo in a line, a paragraph, or even a book.
A tide of energy sweeps Tokyoites along, from offices and apartments to high-fashion boutiques, and from contemporary art museums to sprawling fish markets. Tiny road-side stalls and shops sell everything from grilled chicken on sticks to high-tech electronics. Bars and restaurants are stacked up one on top of another, ablaze with neon as soon as dusk begins to fall. It’s the city of a thousand faces, and that makes it infinitely difficult to describe.
Part of it is that unlike most cities, Tokyo doesn’t have a city centre — it has many. Stay in traditional Asakusa and Tokyo is a place of vermilion temples and incense smoke. Stick to Shinjuku and you’ll find yourself in a neon wonderland of bars, restaurants and karaoke rooms. Ginza? High-end fashion boutiques. Akihabara? Cutting-edge electronics & cacophonous arcades. And then there are the districts you’ve never even heard of: the street food and traditional shops of Yanaka Market; the geek’s paradise of Nakano Broadway; the quiet pockets of tranquility in Rikugien Garden, Shinjuku Park, or even the quiet backstreet cafés of Kichioji.
You can see sumo practice in the morning and a J-pop concert at night. You can explore museums and maid cafés. Scale skyscrapers and squeeze into subways. Dine in Michelin-starred restaurants and drink in bars so tiny only two people can squeeze in at once. If Japan is an addiction, Tokyo is your gateway drug — and it has more to give than you can possibly imagine.