We know how overwhelming a new city can be, especially when its greater metropolitan area is the most populous in the world. Get your bearings at one of our Tokyo hotels, then get a lay of the land from 350m up. The Tokyo Skytree is the tallest tower in the world, topping out at 634 metres, and it gives visitors a 360-degree view of the never-ending city. Go up at night and get a load of city lights that rival Las Vegas.
Forget that old saying “When in Rome”. You’re in Tokyo, so do as the Japanese do and visit the Ryogoku Kokugikan for a sumo wrestling match. There’s a strange beauty to 135kg men wearing nothing but thick, colourful thongs slamming into each other as 13,000 fans scream at the top of their lungs. Hey, don’t judge ’til you see it.
If you want to be in the middle of the bustling nightlife action, stay in accommodation around Roppongi and you’ll be within walking distance of Michelin-starred restaurants with some of the best food in Tokyo, not to mention the night clubs. Party time!
Almost all international flights to Tokyo touch down at Narita International Airport (NRT), 60km east of the city centre, or at Tokyo International Airport (HND), 14km south of Tokyo Station and the business district.
For getting to, around and through the major districts of the city, the Tokyo Metro network is a convenient and budget-friendly option. The railways from either airport can take you to your accommodation in Tokyo. If you want to get around on your own time, look into one of our car hire options—you’ll just want to figure out the best times to drive to avoid traffic.
Tokyo has hot stuff happening all year round, but autumn is particularly ablaze. September through November, the trees turn burnt orange and cherry red, inspiring heaps of happy snaps. If you can’t quite make it “fall” together, winters in Tokyo are gorgeous. The Yuzawa region’s snowfields are perfect for day trips, and January is actually one of the sunniest months.
New Year’s celebrations here are in a class of their own, and we don’t mean like a VIP booth at the club. In Japan, it’s a family occasion; waking up early to catch the year’s first sunrise is one of the most important traditions.
Once you’ve seen the sun come up, chariot your way over to the Imperial Palace (or just take the subway) for the imperial family’s New Year’s greeting—that is, if you can handle titles like “Her Imperial Highness” without getting jealous.
If you book Tokyo accommodation in February, the rituals and dancing of the Setsubun will have you wondering where this festival has “bean” all your life. The ceremonial bean-tossing is distinctive, to say the least, and the dance of the Seven Deities of Good Fortune will leave an impression, too.
When you’ve got one of the most legendary mountains in the world a short ride away, it’s not hard to decide how to get outside. You can get some impressive pics of Mount Fuji from the Bunkyo Civic Center observation deck, but you know that’s not adventurous enough. This is, though: Visit Mount Fuji, Lake Ashi and Hakone National Park via bullet train! C’mon, you know you want to post social media updates while you’re hurtling along at 300km an hour.
Once you’re there, sail across Lake Ashi like an ancient emperor, then channel your inner Last Samurai with a climb up the mountain. Samurai sword and kimono not included, but if you bring them, your selfies will be that much more epic.
Not feeling much like Tom Cruise today? You don’t have to go far to get some fresh air. You’ve gotta see Tokyo’s version of Central Park, Shinjuku Gyoen, but to get a feel for the city underground, hit up Yoyogi Park near Harajuku. The crazy energy of that famous district permeates the park, from dogs with pink hair to teenagers dressed like Elvis—and showing off similar dance moves.
What if you’ve only got one day in Tokyo? Well, then, you’re crazy. But if you really can’t book more time, you better start early. Action at the famous Tsukiji Fish Market starts at 5 a.m. Giant tuna, live eels, sea urchin, shirako (just google it)…for better or worse, this market has it all.
Next, head to Meiji Shrine, the largest Shinto shrine in Tokyo. It’s named for Emperor Meiji, who came to power as a 15-year-old and ushered Japan into the modern age. What have you done lately? While you’re there, check out Takeshita-dori in Harajuku district, aka the world’s largest concentration of Hello Kitty goods and teenagers in neon wigs. The only word you need to know: Kawaiiiii! (Cuuuute!)
Now that you’ve got your fill of temples, visit a shrine to a different sort of religion: consumerism! The futuristic island of Odaiba is an attraction in itself, from the space-station-like Fuji TV building to the replica Statue of Liberty. Who needs New York?
Finally, we could never forget Roppongi. It’s the nightlife district, and not just for travellers. It’s the city’s most diverse area, with endless shopping, nightlife and…more shopping. You could probably spend your whole day here, if that’s what you’re into, but you definitely at least want to grab a drink.
You want a Tokyo holiday that’s shareteru, not shiketeru (trust us). It’s time to get out there and experience somewhere far from home. Use Wotif to find the best deals on places to stay in Tokyo—then make an appointment to get fitted for that kimono.
Hotels in Tokyo start at NZ$57 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.