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Tokyo Vacation and Travel Guide
Tokyo (東京 都) is the de facto capital of Japan, located in the center-east of the island of Honshu, specifically in the Kanto region. Altogether it forms one of the 47 prefectures of Japan, although its official denomination is metropolis or capital (都 -to). The city is the center of politics, economy, education, communication and popular culture of the country. It also has the largest concentration of corporate headquarters, financial institutions, universities and colleges, museums, theaters, and commercial and entertainment establishments throughout Japan.
With a population that exceeds 13 million inhabitants, it is subdivided into 23 neighborhoods (区 -ku); 26 cities (市 -shi); a district (郡 -gun) subdivided into three villages (町 -chō or -machi) and a village (村 -son or -mura); and four sub-prefectures (支 庁 -shichō) subdivided into two villages and seven villages, representing several small islands south of Honshu that extend beyond 1800 km from Shinjuku, capital of the metropolis and seat of the governorship.
The center of Tokyo, with its 23 neighborhoods, occupies a third of the metropolis, with a population close to 13 million inhabitants; This area is what is internationally known as the city of Tokyo. In its metropolitan area live more than 37 million inhabitants, which makes it the largest urban agglomeration in the world.
Tokyo enjoys a temperate climate, 8 with a relative humidity of 63%. Approximately 45% of the year is rainy days, 40% of cloudy days, 10% of clear days, and the rest of snowy days. The average temperature in winter is 5 ° C with occasional snowfall, and in summer it is 27 ° C. The average annual temperature is 14.7 ° C. The annual precipitation is usually in the form of rain and reaches 152 centimeters per year.
Tourism in Tokyo
Being one of the main centers of history and culture in Japan, the prefecture of Tokyo receives more than half of the international tourists that arrive to the country, about 2.6 million travelers visit Tokyo, this flow of visitors turns it into the sixth city in the world with the most international visitors, behind London, Paris, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore. Being the main entrance to the country, Tokyo is a region of critical development for the promotion of international tourism. The visitors that arrive to the city, come mainly from Asian countries, North America and Europe.
Tourist attractions in the prefecture are numerous, and are administered or supervised by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
Main Tourist Attractions of Tokyo
In Tokyo there are four national parks:
Chichibu-Tama National Park, located in Nishitama, also extends over part of Yamanashi and Saitama prefectures.
Meiji no Mori Takao National Park, located around Mount Takao, south of Hachioji.
Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, which includes the Izu Islands.
Ogasawara National Park, which includes the islands of the same name, candidates to be World Heritage Sites.
Museums in Tokyo
Tokyo has dozens of museums of art, history, science and technology. Some of the most prominent are mentioned.
The most important museum in Japan is the National Museum of Tokyo, which is located in the northeast part of Ueno Park. This museum is administered by the government of the country, through the Agency of Cultural Affairs. The set of buildings that make up the museum, contains the largest collection of Japanese art in the world (90 thousand pieces). The museographic scope covers the history of Japan, from prehistoric times to the modern era.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, founded in 1926, is divided into a gallery that exposes the works of contemporary national artists; and one for works by foreign artists. It also highlights the National Museum of Modern Art, which brings together a large number of works by contemporary artists. The Shitamachi Museum, located in the southeast corner of Ueno Park, is dedicated to preserving the Toko culture of the Edo era. The Mingeikan is a museum founded by Yanagi Muneyoshi in 1931, dedicated to folk crafts throughout the country. The Goto Museum shows the private collection of Buddhist art, owned by Goto Keita, president of Tokyu Corporation. In this museum there are scrolls from the 12th century, which tell the legend of Genji in paintings by Fujiwara Takayoshi. In the Museum of the Japanese Sword, or Token Hakubutsunkan, ruled by the Association for the Conservation of the Art of the Japanese Sword, there are more than six thousand pieces, thirty of which are cataloged as a national treasure. The Metropolitan Museum of Photography in Tokyo, in the neighborhood of Meguro and near the Ebisu station, has permanent exhibitions of national and foreign photographers.
Among the most outstanding science and technology museums there are two on the artificial island of Odaiba: the Museum of Maritime Sciences, and the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.
The matsuri (祭 り, sometimes simply 祭) are popular Japanese festivals, generally of Shinto origin and sponsored by some temple or sanctuary; although sometimes they can have a secular or even Christian origin. Matsuri is made throughout the prefecture of Tokyo, and some are especially attractive to the population of the rest of the country. The most notorious ones are:
1. Dezomeshiki (New Year's parade, January 6), parade of the fire department.
2. Hinamatsuri (March 3), national doll festival.
3. Kanda Matsuri (held the weekend before May 15, every odd year), where portable sanctuaries are transported to the Kanda Myojin shrine.
4. Hana Matsuri (April 8). It is a national festival that commemorates the birth of Buddha.
5. Sanja Matsuri (third weekend of May), sponsored by the Asakusa Jinja sanctuary.
6. Sanno Matsuri (June 16), sponsored by the Hie Shrine in Akasaka.
7. Hanabi Taikai (last Saturday of July), fireworks on the Sumida River.
8. Tori-no-ichi or rake fair (mid-November), in the Otori sanctuary, in Asakusa.
The National Theater has representations of bunraku, a theatrical show with wooden puppets of 1.2 meters, supported by shamisen music. The Takarazuka theater is a company specialized in making adaptations of western works, with the peculiarity that the entire company is formed exclusively by women.
Additionally, western theater plays are performed throughout the year.
The Tokyo Opera City (東京 オ ペ ラ シ テ ィ Tōkyō Opera Shiti?) Is the newest venue dedicated to music and theater in Tokyo. It is located inside a skyscraper located in Shinjuku. It was completed in 1997. With its 54 floors and 234 meters high, it is the sixth tallest building in Tokyo. In the first three, there is an art gallery, shops and restaurants. The fourth floor houses the NTT Communications Center.
The biggest musical expression of the city takes place annually, when the Tokyo Summer Festival takes place during June and July. At the festival, classical, folk, rock and jazz music is performed. Throughout the year, there are live shows in various forums, including the Tokyo International Forum, the Suntory Hall, the NHK Hall, and the Tokyo Opera House.
Dance has a special place in the cultural activities of Tokyo; traditional dance and western dance performances are frequent throughout the year. The Azuma Odori dance, music and theater event stands out. At the end of May each year, it takes place at the Shinbashi Enbujo theater. A type of modern dance that mixes elements of various artistic expressions is the Buto dance, created in the 1960s, and performed by almost naked dancers covered in makeup. Although practiced in several regions of the country, Tokyo concentrates the largest number of Buto companies.
Tokyo houses many libraries, some of which are among the most notorious in Japan. The most important library in the country is the National Library of the Diet (国立 国会 図 書館 'Kokuritsu Kokkai Toshokan'?), Located in the Chiyoda neighborhood. Among its more than two million books, 50,000 magazine titles and more than 1,500 newspapers, the largest collection of texts in the country is gathered. In addition, it has the largest collection of texts in foreign languages in Japan. Next in importance is the Tokyo Metropolitan Library (東京 都 立 図 書館 'Tokyo tōritsu toshokan'?), Which is composed of three libraries:
1. The Central Library: Located in the park Arisugawa (Minato-ku), Minami-Azabu. It is the main library of the city government, which makes it the best reference to find information about Tokyo.
2. Hibiya Library: Another important library of the city government, also in Chiyoda. Unlike the previous ones, in Hibiya the loan of books is allowed.
3. Library of Tama.
The Metropolitan Library of Tokyo offers its services to approximately 12 million visitors. In addition to the public libraries mentioned above, Tokyo has the libraries of the main university centers in Tokyo:
• Library of the Metropolitan University of Tokyo, founded in 1950, has more than 700,000 volumes (1997).
• Library of the University of Tokyo, founded in 1877, has more than 8,000,000 volumes (2006), the largest book collection in Japan.
• Library of the University of Tokyo for Foreign Studies, founded in 1899, has 400,000 volumes (1997).
• Library of the University of Chuo, founded in 1885, has 1 365 000 volumes (1997).
• Library of the University of Kokugakuin, founded in 1882, has 998 200 volumes (1997).
• University Library of Hitotsubashi, founded in 1887, has 1 320 000 volumes (1997).
• Waseda University Library, founded in 1882, with more than 4,500,000 volumes (2006).
• Mita Media Center of Keio University, originally the Keio University Library, founded in 1912, has 2 300 000 volumes (1997).
There are also approximately 360 small libraries in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
The characteristic cuisine of Tokyo has its roots in the times when the Tokugawa shogunate was established in Edo in 1603. In Japanese, Edo-mae refers to the food made with fish from Tokyo Bay, and is a term that is currently called in a generic way to the Tokyo cuisine.
The Edo-mae took a distinctive feature by combining the cuisine of the different neighborhoods of Shitamachi (low city in Edo). The representative dishes are soba (蕎麦), tempura (て ん ぷ ら or 天 麩 羅, tenpura), udon, roasted eel (kabayaki); and, of course, the sushi. The original sushi version of Tokyo is known as Edo-mae-zushi, and it is said that it was born in Honjo Yokoami, present-day suburb of Sumida in the 18th century. Oden (お で ん) is a stew of cooked fish and eggs, created in Edo around 1850.
In addition to Tokyo Bay, the Tama region is a major supplier of ingredients for Tokyo cuisine, especially freshwater fish, such as trout and carp, as well as vegetables such as wasabi.
Chanko is the food consumed by sumo wrestlers (it is believed that the word derives from chan, kitchen helper, or from chan kuo, Chinese word for a type of pan). Due to the indissoluble bond of the city with this martial art, chanko has become a popular food, so there are abundant restaurants specializing in chanko. In general, there are two types of chanko: yose-nabe, which consists of chicken broth with fish, chicken and vegetables; and the chiri-nabe, which is a stew of fish and vegetables, which is consumed with soy sauce and vinegar.
Like every metropolis, Tokyo is very receptive to the cuisine of other regions and countries. Western cuisine has a predominant place. European and North American cooking teachers have found in Tokyo a fertile field to develop culinary projects that are well received. As examples, the French Joël Robuchon ("chef of the 20th century" according to Gault-Millau) and Alain Ducasse, have undertaken their projects in Tokyo in the first decade of the 21st century.
If you are planning to travel to Tokyo, whether for business or tourism, in addition to the passport and visa, we recommend you to check the following information: International Airports, Airport security rules, Type of luggage allowed and weight limits, Most visited cities, Driving in Tokyo, Electricity, Time Stripes, Business Hours, National Holidays, Weights and Measures, Commercial Practices and Etiquette Rules.
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Tokyo has two international airports:
Narita International Airport (成 田 国際 空港 Narita Kokusai Kūkō?) IATA code: NRT, ICAO code: RJAA, also formerly known as Tokyo-Narita International Airport or New Tokyo International Airport, is one of the two international airports serving to the Greater Tokyo area in Japan. It is located about 37 miles east of downtown Tokyo, in the Chiba prefecture, on the border between the city of Narita and the adjacent city of Shibayama, it is used mainly for international flights; connected to Tokyo by the Narita Express train.
Haneda International Airport (東京 国際 空港 Tōkyō Kokusai Kūkō?) IATA code: HND, ICAO code: RJTT, also known as Tokyo-Haneda International Airport, is one of the two international airports serving the Greater Tokyo area in Japan . It is located 20 kilometers south of Tokyo station. It is located in Ōta, Tokyo, Japan and is 80 kilometers southwest of the Narita International Airport. It is ranked among the most congested passenger airports in the world.
In addition, the Chōfu Airport, located in the city of Chōfu, handles air transport with the three airports of the Izu islands (Oshima, Hachijojima and Miyakejima). Tokyo has the largest private fleet of helicopters, which use the Tokyo Heliport (東京 へ リ ポ ー ト) in Kōtō, as their base for supply and maintenance. The heliport is also used as a base for public services such as police and firefighters.
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