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various types of indoor and outdoor

baths which are fed by hot spring water

pumped from a depth of 1400 metres.

Restaurants, massage, games and other

entertainment are available

BULLEt tRAiN: The Tokaido Shinkansen

line is the main bullet train line that

runs along the eastern side of central

Tokyo connecting Japan's three largest

metropolitan areas of Tokyo, Kyoto and

Osaka. When opened in 1964, it was the

world's first high speed railway line; the

trains originally ran at speeds of up to

210 km/h, nowadays they reach speeds

of 270 km/h. There are 3 types of train:

The Nozomi is the fastest train

category serving only major stations

and requiring about 2.5 hours to reach

Osaka from Tokyo. Tokyo Central is only

one stop from Shinagawa Station on a

Nozomi service. Many Nozomi trains

continue beyond Osaka along the Sanyo

Shinkansen to Hiroshima. The Nozomi

is one of only a few JR trains that cannot

be used with the Japan Rail Pass.

The Hikari is the second fastest train

category serving a few more stations

than the Nozomi and requiring about

three hours to reach Osaka from Tokyo.

The Kodama is the slowest train

category along the Tokaido Shinkansen,

stopping at all stations along the way

and requiring about four hours to reach

Osaka from Tokyo. Kodama service trains

during rush hours are fully non-reserved

and these trains are best avoided at

these times - know as "Crush Hour"!

TOKYO is Japan's capital and

is also one of Japan's 47 prefectures,

consisting of 23 central city wards and

multiple cities, towns and villages west of

the city centre. The Izu and Ogasawara

Islands are also part of Tokyo. Just 3

miles south of Central Tokyo lies Haneda

International Airport while 35 miles to

the east lies Narita International Airport.

Tokyo is situated on Tokyo Bay and has

a port but because of bridges across the

bay large cruise ships are unable to reach

the port of Tokyo. So approximately 20

miles south-west of Central Tokyo on

the coast lies Yokohama which has the

purpose built Osanbashi cruise terminal

which opened in 2002.

HISTORY: Prior to 1868, Tokyo was

known as Edo. A small castle town in

the 16th century, Edo became Japan's

political centre in 1603 when Tokugawa

Leyasu established his feudal

government there. A few decades later,

Edo had grown into one of the world's

most populous cities. Edo Castle used to

be the seat of the Tokugawa shogun who

ruled Japan from 1603 until 1867.

In 1868, the shogun was overthrown,

and the country's capital and

Imperial Residence were moved

from Kyoto to Tokyo. In 1888

construction of a new Imperial Palace

was completed. Large parts of Tokyo

were destroyed in the Great Kanto

Earthquake of 1923 and in the air raids

of 1945. The palace was also destroyed

during World War Two, and rebuilt in the

same style, afterwards.

Today, Tokyo offers a seemingly

unlimited choice of shopping,

entertainment, culture and dining to

its visitors. The city's history can be

appreciated in districts such as Asakusa,

and in many excellent museums, historic

temples and gardens. Contrary to

common perception, Tokyo also offers

a number of attractive green spaces in

the city centre and within relatively short

train rides at its outskirts.

CENtRAL tOKYO: The epicentre

of Tokyo is the city ward of Chiyoda

Ku which has the Imperial Palace and

gardens located at its centre just a short

walk from Tokyo station to the east;

which also serves the main financial

district. The palace itself is situated on

the former site of Edo Castle in a large

park area surrounded by moats and

massive stone walls. It is the residence of

Japan's Imperial Family and the Emperor.

Most of the key tourist areas are situated

to the east and south of the Imperial

Palace:

Ginza: is Tokyo's most famous

upmarket shopping, dining and

entertainment district, featuring

numerous department stores, boutiques,

art galleries, restaurants, night clubs and

cafes. One square metre of land here

is worth over ten million yen (approx'

£54,000 - 184Yen = £), making it one of

the most expensive real estates in Japan

- if not the world. It is where you can find

the infamous $10 cups of coffee and

where virtually every leading brand name

in fashion and cosmetics has a presence.

tokyo tower: at 333 metres is the

world's tallest self-supporting steel

tower and one of the most recognisable

landmarks in Tokyo. It is rather like a

red version of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

at 320metres and compares to the CN

Tower in Toronto at 553 metres and

the London Shard at 308 metres. It

was completed in 1958 as a symbol for

Japan's rebirth as a major economic

power, and serves as a television and

radio broadcast antenna and tourist

attraction. Visitors can go up to the

main observatory at 150 metres and the

special observatory at 250 meters to get

a bird's eye view of Tokyo. Under good

weather conditions, Mount Fuji can be

seen in the distance. A wax museum and

several more attractions can be found

on the ground floors of the tower. It is

recommended to combine a visit to

Tokyo Tower with a visit to Zojoji Temple,

one of Tokyo's major temples, just next

to the tower.

However the tallest building in Japan is

the 634 metre Tokyo Skytree, a twenty

minute walk across the Sumida River

from Asakusa which is in the northeast

corner of the city. The Tokyo Skytree is a

new television broadcasting tower and

landmark of Tokyo. A large shopping

complex with aquarium is located at its

base. The highlight of the Tokyo Skytree

is its two observation decks which

offer spectacular views out over Tokyo.

The two enclosed decks are located

at heights of 350 and 450 meters

respectively, making them the highest

observation decks in Japan and some of

the highest in the world.

shinagawa station: a little further south

- is one of the city's busiest stations.

Its convenience as a transportation

hub has attracted many hotels, offices,

restaurants and shops to the area.

Shinagawa was the first stop on the main

road linking Tokyo with Kyoto. It is also

a centre for "European" style businesses

and tourism, so you will see more English

than Japanese on signs, and more Italian

and American restaurants than Japanese

ones. The station connects many lines,

including the Tokaido Shinkansen (Bullet

Train). Shinagawa Station has two exits,

around which much development has

taken place: the Takanawa Exit on the

west side, and the Konan Exit on the

east side.

The Takanawa side has many hotels,

and many branches of the Prince

hotel chain including the Grand Prince

New Takanawa Hotel with its tranquil

gardens. There are a number of

shopping malls, including the Shinagawa

Prince Hotel complex that includes

cinemas, bowling and the Epson Aqua

Stadium aquarium with a dolphin pool

and frequent shows.

Asakusa: is the centre of Tokyo's

Shitamachi (low city) district and

the best place to get a feel of Old

Tokyo with its low rise buildings and

traditional atmosphere. Asakusa's main

attraction is Sensoji, a very popular

Buddhist temple, built in the 7th century.

The temple is approached through

the Kiminari Gate via the Nakamise,

a shopping street that has been

providing temple visitors with a variety

of traditional, local snacks and tourist

souvenirs for centuries. The area can

easily be explored on foot; alternatively,

you can consider a guided tour on

a rickshaw (a 30 minute tour for two

persons costs around 8000 yen).

Odaiba: can be best compared to

Canary Wharf in London - but bigger.

This is a popular shopping and

entertainment district on a man-made

island in Tokyo Bay in the south east

corner of the central Tokyo. It is just a

short hop on the Rinkai underground

Line from Shinagawa. It originated as

a set of small man made fort islands

and towards the end of the 1990's

developed into one of Tokyo's most

popular tourist attractions with a wide

selection of shopping, dining and

leisure options. It is home to some of

Tokyo's boldest architectural creations,

such as the Fuji TV Building, Telecom

Centre and Tokyo Big Sight.

the Fuji tV Building is the headquarters

of Fuji Television with access to the

futuristic looking building's observatory

deck housed in the sphere shaped part

of the building. Decks is a shopping

mall featuring various stores, restaurants

and multiple indoor theme parks,

including the Tokyo Joypolis a Legoland

Discovery Centre and a trick art museum.

Aquacity is a shopping mall featuring

various stores, boutiques, restaurants,

cafes and a 13 screen cinema complex.

The fifth floor houses a ramen food

theme park where you can try different

ramen from all over Japan. There are

great views of the Rainbow Bridge from

the wooden deck in front of Aquacity.

Oedo Onsen is a hot spring theme

park which reproduces the atmosphere

of the Edo Period. Here you can enjoy

FIVE TOP TIPS FOR

ENJOYING TOKYO

1

Stay in a an area with westernised

signs.

2

Stay in an area away from the

main centre where food and drink

are much cheaper.

3

Travel by Shinkansen (Bullet train)

or the metro wherever possible to

get around and avoid the traffic.

4

Give yourself a bit of breathing

space and find a lovely Japanese

garden to relax in with some

Japanese tea.

5

Get a Map and make a list of the

main sights you want to visit - as

you will not get to see everything in

2 or 3 days.

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