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Welcome to Tokyo, a mesmerising Asian mega-metropolis where high-tech meets antiquity with effortless grace.
The city started life as a small fishing village to become a 17th-century shogun powerhouse. Today it is Japan’s cultural, educational, commercial and governmental hub. Book a flight to Tokyo with Qatar Airways to experience a unique blend of cultural riches.
The first thing you will notice is when you travel to Tokyo is that the metropolis is really a constellation of separate cities, each with its own distinctive character. Get straight into the spirit of old Japan by visiting the Imperial Palace, the temples at Asakusa and the Meiji Shrine. For a panoramic overview of the city, head for the free viewing platform of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building. Some of the best museums are in the Ueno district.
One of the world’s tallest buildings is the Tokyo Skytree. Not only do you get great views of the city from its observation tower, but you can also experience five-star dining in its plush restaurant. The Skytree also has an upmarket shopping mall for some deluxe retail therapy.
Start the day properly, by enjoying a sushi breakfast in the famous Tsukiji Fish Market; then take a leisurely boat ride along the Sumida River from Asakusa. Families can head to Tokyo Disneyland or Sanrio Puroland for lunch and fun, before exploring the futuristic, neon-lit districts of Shibuya and Shinkuju after dark.
Tranquillity is an important concept in Japanese culture, so there are plenty of open spaces and parks for you to enjoy when you travel to Tokyo. Inokashira Park is particularly dazzling in the spring, while the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace are great for a serene stroll. Ride the Yurikamome elevated train across from Shimbashi station to Odaiba and have a go on the enormous Ferris wheel there.
There’s an amazing variety of food on offer in Tokyo. The department stores usually have food halls in their basements that offer free tasters. There is a noodle bar on every corner and you can get take-away lunch boxes from bento shops across the city.
There are plenty of American-style fast-food restaurants, but also drop into Japanese chains for authentic on-the-go local dishes, which are predominantly noodle based.
Tokyo’s shops and malls sell everything imaginable. For antiques, head to Ginza and Omotesando. Find used books in Jinbocho and electronics of all kinds in Akihabara. Harajuku and Shibuya are the best areas for fashion goods and accessories. And the department stores of Tobu and Seibo are the world’s largest.
Try Omotesando’s Oriental Bazaar for souvenirs and Asakusa for kimonos and replica samurai swords. At weekends, there are also lots of flea markets clustered around Tokyo’s many shrines.
Essential facts about Tokyo (NRT)
Enjoy a hassle-free journey with all the information you need to know before your trip