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Although Tokyo is among the largest, most frenetic cities in the world, it still maintains efficiency and charm. Amid the endless buzzing neon signs and the overhead cable webs, Tokyo is home to some of the world's most impressive architecture, stylish shops and four-star restaurants. But just a short distance outside the city is a different world. In the surrounding small towns and villages, you'll discover scores of wooden residential homes, ancient temples, shrines and imperial gardens. From the frenzy-filled metropolis to the tranquil bonsai-tree-lined neighborhoods, Tokyo is a study in delightful contrasts.Find Cruises Sailing to This Port
Tokyo has so many incredible things for a visitor to see and do there just isn't time to do it all. But if you want to experience the true heart and soul of Tokyo, a visit to Kokyo, Japan's Imperial Palace, is a must. This magnificent, awe-inspiring edifice is an architectural marvel and home to the Emperor of Japan. Another cultural and architectural landmark not to be missed is the Sensoji Temple. Built in the 7th century, this is Tokyo's oldest and most significant Buddhist temple. This site is very popular with tourists, so plan to visit early. There are a number of traditional shops and restaurants nearby if the lines are long.
Sumo wrestling is Japan's oldest and most wildly popular spectator sport. Everything else is a distant second. After all, how often do you get to see 300-pound athletes pummel each other on a sandy-floored ring less than 15 feet in diameter? These giant-sized combatants shove, slap, throw, lift and grapple in an attempt to eject their opponent from the ring. To witness an authentic Sumo wrestling match live and up close is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The Japanese love to eat out, and it shows with the quantity and variety of places to eat. From "mom and pop" noodle shops to exclusive Kaiseki restaurants - and everything else in between, Tokyo is home to over 800,000 restaurants. Because of undersized apartment conditions and small kitchens, few locals eat at home and tourists reap the benefits. Local favorites include Bento lunch boxes (fast and cheap for on the go touring), curry, noodles (found on almost every street corner) and odens (outdoor restaurants that feature fish cakes and tofu), which are very popular with the locals.
For a shopping experience you'll never forget, check out the streets of Omotesando, Tokyo's leafy shopping boulevard, and the surrounding streets of Harajuku. Arguably the country's best hunting ground for the latest in cool consumer goods, this shopping Mecca includes a cluster of contemporary designer boutiques and dense networks of funky little shops, restaurants and bars. The shops sell every item imaginable and are a fun place to spend an afternoon.
Tokyo's currency is the yen. Many of the shops and restaurants take major credit cards.
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Learn more about this port city with these tourist information guides.