Panoramic view of Tokyo seen from Park Hyatt hotel


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 center — 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.

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Just a hop, skip and a jump (read: a short bullet train ride) from Tokyo, on a good day Hakone offers views of Mount Fuji in all her glory — and it’s your best bet for a good time even if she doesn’t oblige.


Welcome to Nikko, where the stage is set for the final showdown between art and nature. Will magnificent pagodas measure up against towering Japanese cedars? Is the beauty of Tokugawa’s mausoleum a match for the majesty of Kegon Falls? We’ll let you keep score.


Kanazawa is what we like to call the Goldilocks city: “just right” in every possible way.