Is Tokyo a city

Tokyo: Tips for Japan's exceptional city

Tokyo is a place of contrasts. Always on the move, pulsating, bright and colorful. It is the unique fusion of Japanese tradition, technical progress and modern lifestyle that makes a trip to Japan's capital an unforgettable experience

Tokyo at a glance

General information

Tokyo is the capital of Japan and with its almost 10 million inhabitants the most populous metropolis in the country. The city was officially founded in the middle of the 15th century with the construction of Edo Castle. It is located in the Kanto Plain on the island of Honshu, the largest of the four main islands of Japan. As a center for industry, trade, education and culture, Tokyo is now the dazzling high-tech metropolis in Japan. It is also the seat of the Japanese government. The time difference to Germany is seven hours.

Entry and vaccinations

Entry to Japan is no problem for German tourists with a valid passport. A temporary residence permit for 90 days is issued at the airport. If you want to stay up to 180 days, you need an extension. To do this, he has to go to the residents' registration office in Tokyo. The documents are already available at the airport. Important: As a foreigner, you should always have your passport to hand. Otherwise, there is a risk of a fine at police checks. In addition to the recommended standard vaccinations such as tetanus, measles or diphtheria, there are currently no compulsory vaccinations for vacation trips to Japan.

Climate and the best travel time

By the subtropical, warm climate Tokyo is worth visiting all year round. Every season has its charm. The most popular travel time for Tokyo is between spring and autumn. It starts with the legendary cherry blossom in March or April. While the temperatures in spring and autumn are moderate between 20 degrees during the day and around ten degrees at night, in the summer months of July and August it is hot and humid with up to 30 degrees. The humidity can be over 70 percent. In summer, rain falls in Tokyo on an average of ten days a month. Connoisseurs also visit Tokyo in winter. Then it is dry, relatively mild (around 10 degrees daytime temperature) and the city is not so overcrowded.

getting there

Various airlines control the two international ones from most German airports Narita (NRT) and Haneda (HND) airports in Tokyo. Direct flights from Frankfurt or Düsseldorf to Tiokio take between eleven and twelve hours. The prices for the flight tickets are very different depending on the travel time. Narita International Airport is 60 kilometers outside of Tokyo. But this is also from here Transfer to the city by bus or train just as unproblematic as from the more centrally located Haneda Airport. The cheapest way to get there is by bus, the fastest way to get to the city is by express trains.

Tokyo is the shining exceptional city in Japan

As soon as you arrive at Narita Airport, it quickly becomes clear: Tokyo - as the city is spelled in Japanese - is one with its almost ten million inhabitants absolute exceptional city. Despite the many people making their way like ants in the shiny hallways in the terminal, the atmosphere is surprisingly calm and relaxed. Everything is clean and perfectly organized. After all, Narita International Airport is considered to be that most punctual major airport in the world and lives up to the technology-loving capital of Japan. Welcome to Tokyo!

Ueno - busy district lets you forget about jet lag

The ride on the futuristic Keisei Skyliner high-speed train from the airport to the center of Tokyo gives an idea of ​​what's going on in the hyper-modern mega-city expected. The city is just overwhelming. When you arrive at the Kasei Ueno train station in the Taito district, Tokyo, rich in contrasts, immediately casts a spell over you. No wonder: the train station is right there in the famous Ueno district with lively shopping streets, the magical park and lots of sights. Fatigue and jet lag don't stand a chance here. The many new impressions are far too exciting and after checking in at the hotel it starts straight away.

A stroll across is an absolute must the old market street Ameyoko. It is located directly below the Yamanote railway line, is known for its low prices and is an absolute contrast to the modern business districts in Tokyo. It's like an oriental bazaar. Dealers stand in the narrow alley in front of the small, colorful shops and loudly advertise their goods. Various things from silk blouses and branded watches to crazy souvenirs and sweets to fresh fish lie on tables and stands under red awnings. Food stalls spread the smell of seared meat and vegetables in Tokyo. So many people push their way between the two-story houses that you can only see heads. A visit here is particularly worthwhile in the dark. The entire colorful market district of Tokyo looks simply breathtaking with its many lights and neon signs.

Ueno Park - nature experience with museums and the oldest zoo in Japan

If you want to treat yourself to a little green during the day after these many impressions, then Ueno-Park is the right place for you. Here, in Tokyo's largest park, the locals also like to relax. It is only a ten-minute walk from the Ameyoko here. For the beautiful grounds with more than 8000 trees you can confidently plan a whole day. After all, Ueno Park, which opened in 1873, is the first and oldest park in all of Japan. In addition to the enchanting lake with a small island, there are not only many different museums and sights, but also the oldest zoo in Japan with almost 2600 animals - including giant pandas.

A brief overview of the museums:

In March and April, Ueno Park is one of the hippest cherry blossom hotspots in the Tokyo area. More than a thousand cherry trees transform the huge area into one dreamlike pink sea of ​​flowers with an enchanting scent. When you have enough photos of the scenery in your box, just find a free spot, sit down with your own picnic blanket among the locals and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere in the middle of Tokyo to the full.

The Imperial Palace stands on the former Edo Castle

Aside from shopping streets and greenery, Tokyo has one thing above all else: history. As an old imperial city, the metropolis has some historical places and sights to offer. This definitely includes the shrine of Emperor Meiji in the Shibuya district. Meiji was the first imperial ruler of Japan after the end of the Shogun military rule in 1868 and is still revered today.

The name TokyoBy the way, s comes from this time. After the end of the Shogun government, the emperor's seat was moved here from Kyoto. Tokyo therefore means "Eastern Capital". The city was previously called "Edo" - named after the castle of the same name, which was originally built here in 1446. Today's Imperial Palace stands as a "new building" on the site of Edo Castle, which was inhabited by the Emperor until 1873. However, it burned down, was rebuilt - but then completely bombed in the Second World War.

In 1949, the new Imperial Palace was built in the same location in the old design and is definitely worth a visit. The ornate tiled roofs of the pagodas, the parks around them and the watercourses are simply enchanting and let you feel the spirit of Tokyo history. But be careful: most of the buildings can only be viewed by appointment. Registration is only required on the Emperor's birthday, February 23rd, and January 2nd. A rowing boat tour in the parks around the Imperial Palace is a dream, especially when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.

Wishes come true at the shrine of Emperor Meiji

How much the people in Tokyo value their history can be seen in the lavishly decorated copper roofs of the pagoda shrine of Emperor Meiji and in the traditions that were lived. Every year on November 1st there is a big festival in honor of the emperor. There is also a special ritual all year round: visitors can write their wishes and prayers on small pieces of paper or prepared wooden boards and hang them up on the prayer wall of the shrine. A very nice and emotional moment, that you share with the locals without asking or appraising looks.

Tokyo Tower: Breathtaking view over Tokyo

There are two ways to get an overview of Tokyo and its sights: buy a city map or drive up one of the two best observation towers. Of course, you can do both as well. The Tokyo Tower, built in 1958, is right in the center of the city - in Shiba Park in the Minato district. If the sight of it reminds you of the Eiffel Tower: you are right. The red and white painted tower is modeled on the Parisian landmark and has only one difference. At 333 meters, it is a full seven meters higher. For around 24 euros admission, you have a great view of the city from two platforms of different heights from Tokyo Tower. Those who are fit choose the alternative to the elevator and conquer the first viewing platform via the 600 steps of the outside staircase.

The 634-meter-high Skytree television tower also offers an excellent view and is the symbol of Tokyo. It has been in the Oshiage district since 2012 and also has two viewing decks: at a height of 350 meters and 459 meters. The trip to the highest viewing platform costs 3,100 yen - the equivalent of around 26 euros. Both towers are a great experiencealso for families. From here you can even see the white mountain top of Mount Fuji on a clear day.

Asakusa with the oldest temple in Tokyo

With an urban area of ​​around 600 square kilometers, Tokyo is indeed a really large metropolis with many attractions. Nevertheless, you can try to discover the striking pagoda tower of the Sensoji Temple with its five roofs from one of the viewpoints. This means that you also have the Asakusa district in view - a nice destination and one of the most popular neighborhoods in Tokyo for tourists. In addition to the impressive Sensoji Temple, it is above all the “Konsum temples” that are worth a visit here. Lots of colorful shops with evening lighting from rice paper lanterns to neon signs, a babble of voices, friendly people and authentic food are what make Asakusa so special.

Shinjuku has the largest train station in Japan and Ginza has a lot of art

Be sure to try a classic chicken dish from one of the many street food stalls. With the hot sauce you have to be careful - but after the first serving, you're guaranteed to want a second one. In any case, Tokyo is known for the charm of its individual districts and each of them is different: Shinjuku with the largest train station in Japan or Odaiba as a shopping and entertainment district on an artificially created island with the famous Gundam statue, an oversized futuristic action robot. The elegant Ginza district, for example, has the oldest department stores in the city and is known for its wide range of art and culture. If you take just a few steps from the modern and busy main streets into the alleys next door, instead of wearing suits, you will surely meet geishas in their traditional costumes and with clattering clogs on the sidewalk.

By the way, the world's largest fish market was in the Tsukiji district for a good 80 years and was called the same. By autumn 2018, more than 900 dealers have been here Sells marine animals worth around twelve million euros every day. The fish market was relocated for reasons of hygiene, among other things. It can now be found in a modern hall on an artificially raised island in the Toyosu district. The charm of the old fish market has been lost in the new building, but you can perfectly watch the fish auction and the traders in the hall from specially equipped platforms. The best time to get up early is at 4:30 a.m. Then the legendary tuna auction takes place there.

The good thing about moving the fish auction: The entire area around the old fish hall is still standing. It is also home to some of the best seafood restaurants in Tokyo. Be sure to try the sushi - it couldn't be fresher. But be careful: if you see the crispest vegetables of all time in the shops in front of the shops - don't grab them! The Japanese love to attract their customers with deceptively real plastic dummies.

Metropolitan prices in Tokyo are very cheap

Tokyo is big, luckily the metro network is too. There are several rail transport operators with different tariffs. But the Japanese are polite and patient people. It is best to ask at the information desk in the metro station or a passer-by for the best ticket for your purpose. In this way, you can still get on very well in conversation with locals and with English. Incidentally, the fares are very cheap. A good option is to buy the Pasmo-Card or the Suica-Card. It can be recharged and can be used on all subway lines and train lines in and around Tokyo.

Digital Art Museum in Odaiba beguiles the senses

Of course, Tokyo has more to offer than department stores, food and art. The dazzling metropolis is always a reflection of its own future and is constantly creating new, fascinating things. This definitely includes the Digital Art Museum in the Odaiba district. It was only opened in the summer of 2018 and takes visitors on an incredible journey through optical illusions of light and technology. A total of 470 projectors and 520 computers ensure that you are suddenly standing in a waterfall without getting wet. Deceptively real lotus blossoms grow out of a cup of steaming tea and rise into the air as individual petals as soon as you drink from the cup. The entrance fee of the equivalent of 28 euros is considerable - but so is this unique and amazing museum.

Shibuya is a breathtaking experience

One of its main attractions, however, is the city itself. The mixture of tradition and modernity, of new beginnings and Asian serenity create a very special mood and atmosphere. Especially if you are in Tokyo with the family, you should not miss an experience and it is also free: The walk across the famous Shibuya intersection between glass-clad high-rise buildings and brightly colored billboards. At rush hour, up to 2500 people can cross the zebra crossing during a single green phase - this gives the expression “bathing in the crowd” a completely new dimension.

But do not worry: there will be no jostling, bumping or abuse. On the contrary: people move in all directions on their zebra crossing like two schools of fish in a countercurrent calmly across the street and stop just as jagged when the pedestrian lights turn red again. The Japanese people's love of order and discipline can hardly be better experienced live.

Hashiko statue honors loyal dog in Shibuya

One reason for this rush of people is the large Shibuya train station. A touching sight of Tokyo awaits here, which children in particular will find great: the bronze statue of Hashiko, probably the most loyal dog in the world. In the 1920s, dogs used to pick up their master here from the train station. He did that for ten more years when its owner had long since died and faithfully waited in front of the train station. The city of Tokyo had the memorial erected for the loyal dog in 1934. Hollywood filmed the real story years later with Richard Gere in the lead role.

Leave some energy left over for all of the daytime activities. Because what you definitely shouldn't miss in Tokyo is the nightlife. The Shibuya district is known for this and is a good address. In everything you do there, there are two things to keep in mind: Anyone who drinks alcohol must be 20 years old and the last metro leaves at midnight. So there are two options in Shibuya. Either go to bed early or party through the night and take the first metro back to the hotel at five in the morning. Important: At best, don't take the metro between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. or 6 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. during the day. Then it's rush hour and the crowds on the trains are not for everyone.

Karaoke is a must

Shibuya has everything from bars to clubs with a DJ and dance floor. The musical selection is correspondingly large: from techno to electro-pop and black music to reggae. What shouldn't be missing in the Tokyo repertoire is your own appearance: in the karaoke bar. There is plenty of opportunity to do that in Shibuya, too, and it doesn't matter which bar you choose.You will definitely have fun with the bar visitors the applause is certain - no matter how crooked you may be. So dare to do it. It is an unforgettable experience.

You can also opt for a unique overnight stay in Shibuya instead of taking the metro to your actual base hotel early in the morning: in the capsule hotel. The name says it all, because You really sleep in a capsule here and not in a room. You could call it a kind of big locker for people, and that's completely normal in Tokyo. The comfortable "honeycomb" with bed costs between 60 and 70 euros - for example in the Capsule Hotel Shibuya not far from the train station. Usually there are around 40 cabins in one large room. Free WiFi and even breakfast are included at Capsule Hotel Shibuya. You don't have to eat that in your overnight honeycomb, but sit with the other capsule sleepers in the common room with a view of Tokyo.

Honshu is home to Tokyo

To prove at home that you really have been to Tokyo, many parts of the city have the ultimate photo opportunity. Snap a selfie with one of the waitresses in a maid café. These are restaurants in which young women with pigtails in schoolgirl uniforms serve at the table. They even adapt the singing of their voices to the supposed school age. At first it does seem a bit strange, but that is Japan and the dazzling Tokyo on the island of Honshu. Always a little different from the others, sometimes weird, but guarantees one thing: astonishing, impressive and fascinating.

Vacation Japanese

Good day hello - konnichi wa
Good evening - konban wa
Good night - oyasumi nasai
Goodbye - sayonara
Yes - shark
No - iie
Thank you / thank you very much - arigato / domo arigato gozaimasu
You're welcome - onegai shimasu
Toilet - toire
restaurant - resutoran
Menu - menyu
Bottom up! - kanpai!
Delicious - oishii
hotel - hoteru
taxi - takushi
I would like to have… -… where kudasai
What does it cost…? -… ikura desuka?
The Bill please! - Okanjo wo onegai shimasu!