Metropolis, Tokyo Journal and J-Select are the most comprehensive, with Tokyo Notice Board, Tokyo Pocket Guide and Tokyo Weekender all worth a look. They are available at large bookshops, as well as bars and restaurants popular with foreigners.
Holds the world’s biggest collection of Japanese art – everything from samurai armour and swords to lacquerware and calligraphy. Admission is 420 yen.
The museum is located inside Ueno Park, about 15 minutes’ walk from Ueno Station; www.tnm.go.jp/
The ideal vantage point to stand and watch Tokyo’s teens come out to play in their thousands, even on school nights. The exit is named after a dog who would turn up at the station every day to wait for her master. When her master died, in the 1920s, Hachiko continued to show up daily until her own death 11 years later. The show of dedication touched Tokyo hearts and led to the statue in her honour. The gesture is possibly Shibuya’s only nod to sentimentality.
Widely considered the place to be seen staying in Tokyo, the Park Hyatt is a favourite haunt of visiting VIPs and assorted celebrities. The hotel is housed in the Shinjuku Park Tower, three pointed towers designed by local architect Kenzo Tange. Room rates start at around 40,000 yen, and the impressive choice of bars and restaurants could leave you parting with at least as much again. But it’s unavoidable if you want the ultimate chic Tokyo experience.
Park Hyatt Tokyo, 3-7-1-2 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku; www.parkhyatttokyo.com/
To stay at the Hotel Okura is to travel back in time. The hotel, a stone’s throw from the British and American embassies, is dark, and wooden and would probably bring on palpitations in contemporary interior designers. What it lacks in street credibility it makes up for in attentive service and a sense of detachment from the hustle and bustle of the nearby Kamiyacho government and business district. Prices start at 33,000 yen.
Hotel Okura, 2-10-4 Toranomon, Minato-ku; home.okura.com/tokyo/index.html/
Less than an hour outside Tokyo, the Mount is popular with weekend hikers, so go during the week to escape the crowds. Visit Yakuoin temple near the summit or simply wander through the densely wooded foothills. The peak, 600 metres above sea level, offers views of Tokyo, Yokohama and, of course, Mt Fuji.
Take the Keio Line from Shinjuku Station; www.japan-guide.com/e/e3029.html/
Tokyo is, after all, the home of edomae sushi, the succulent cuts of fish perched on tiny blocks of vinegared rice that will be familiar to many Western diners. The uninitiated should start with the staples, such as maguro (tuna), ika (squid), tako (octopus), ebi (prawn), but for a more authentically Japanese meal, try awabi (abalone), uni (sea urchin) and anago (broiled eel). If sushi rolls are your thing, forego the rather pedestrian California rolls and go for mashed tuna and spring onion. The incurably incautious should sample natto maki. Don’t be put off by the pungent smell and the slimy texture, the flavour is unforgettable for all the right reasons.
Houses one of the biggest collections of Japanese and Asian contemporary art, with added attractions made available through the museum’s tie-up with the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The 1,500 yen admission fee includes access to the observation deck on the 52nd floor.
52nd and 53rd floors of the Mori Building in Roppongi;
6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-Ku; Tel: +81-3-5777-8600
Friends and family visiting Japan swear by yukata. These light, cotton kimono are easy to pack, cheap, and double up as dressing gowns if the thought of wearing one to the pub on a sunny Sunday afternoon doesn’t appeal.
This market, the biggest in the world, is a must-see for any visitor to Tokyo. Huge interest in the early-morning tuna auctions has led to restrictions on the number of observers, but the stalls that surround the market are heaving with sea creatures of every imaginable description. The later you go, the slower your progress as the number of shoppers builds up. But, in any case, this is a place to be savoured. And, amazingly, it doesn’t smell of fish.
Metro: Tsukiji (on the Hibiya line)
The journey up to the two observation decks on the 45th floor takes almost a minute and, unusually for Tokyo, costs nothing. There are splendid views of the city and, depending on the weather and time of year, Mt Fuji can be seen in the distance.
Metro: Tocho mae
On the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt hotel in Shinjuku. Made famous by the film Lost in Translation, this rather pricey venue nevertheless offers fantastic views of the city, 235 metres above ground.
Park Hyatt Hotel; 52F Nishi-Shinjuku 3-7-1; Tel: 00 81 3 5323 3458
Each of the two terminals at Narita Airport is served by a separate railway station, but both offer cheap, regular and direct services to the centre of Tokyo. Alternatively, shuttle buses are available to major hotels, Tokyo station and Shinjuku station as well as other nearby towns and cities.
The rooms are clean, and an array of bars and restaurants is just a few minutes’ walk away. The hotel caters mainly for tourists on package tours so it can get noisy at night. Room rates start at 9,400 yen. A 24-hour convenience store is located on the ground floor for those given to late-night attacks of the munchies.
3-2-9 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku; Tel : +81/(0)3 3343-3111; www.wh-rsv.com/english/
Hailed as one of the best sushi restaurants in a city known for its excellent raw fish. This is real melt-in-the-mouth stuff, but it comes at a price – in the region of 30,000 yen per person for a wide selection of food, washed down with cold sake or beer. The only problem with eating here is that the sushi available at much lower prices elsewhere will taste decidedly ordinary.
4-2-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku; Tel: (03) 3535 3600
A visit to Yurakucho yakitori alley is a must. Located a few minutes’ walk from Yurakucho Station on the Yamanote loop line, the alley is really a collection of tiny restaurants specialising in grilled chicken on sticks and ice cold beer. Just about every part is on offer, including the skin and cartilage. Fear not – they are delicious. Expect to pay a few thousand yen for a very good feed.
Walk out of the Hibiya exit at Yurakucho, turn left and follow the tracks, and the smoke
One of several cheap izakaya chains serving such Japanese staples as grilled fish, rice, miso soup, pickled plums, natto – and all at daft prices. You should spend no more than 1,000 yen for lunch and 3,000 yen for dinner, including drinks. Look out for the familiar red jumping fish logo and the chain’s English motto: Every day the same low prices.
There are dozens across Tokyo, but here’s a local favourite: Kawanabe Building B1, Shinbashi 3-7-9, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0004; www.teraken.co.jp/ (Japanese only)
If you can get over the mild embarrassment involved, it’s probably the best way to see the neighbourhood’s old streets. Visit Senso-ji temple and stroll down the Nakamisedori shopping street, a good place to pick up trinkets, including those yukata, snacks and, it must be said, a fair amount of tourist tat.
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com