- Travel and Places»
- Visiting Asia
It's almost impossible to be bored in Tokyo and first-time visitors should be prepared for a massive assault on the senses - just walking the streets of this hyperactive city can be an energizing experience. With money to spend, you can pick up the coolest fashions, eat in fabulous restaurants and dance in the hippest clubs. But you'll also be surprised how affordable many things are.Cheap and cheerful izakayas (bars that serve food) and noodle shacks far outnumber the big-ticket French restaurants and high-class ryotei, where geisha serve minimalist Japanese cuisine, while day tickets for a sumo tournament or a Kabuki play can be bought for the price of a few drinks. Many of the city's highlights are even free: a stroll through the evocative Shitamachi area around Asakusa and the major Buddhist temple Senso-ji; a visit to the tranquil wooded grounds of Meiji-jingu, the city's most venerable Shinto shrine, and the nearby teenage shopping mecca of Harajuku; the frenetic fish market at Tsukiji; the crackling, neon-saturated atmosphere of the mini-city Shinjuku - you don't need to part with lots of cash to explore this city.
High-speed limited-express and Shinkansen trains put several important sights within day-trip range of Tokyo, including the ancient temple and shrine towns of Kamakura to the south and Nikko to the north. Mount Fuji, 100km southwest of the capital, can be climbed between June and September, while the adjoining national park area of Hakone offers relaxed hiking amid beautiful lakeland scenery, and the chance to take a dip in an onsen - a Japanese mineral bath.
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