Thursday, November 23, 2006

Tokyo, Asia`s Most Exciting City

Shinjuku, a shopping and entertainment district of Tokyo
Photo by Norikazu Yamaguchi

Population: 15 million

Tokyo is one of the largest cities on the planet. It vibrates with energy and vitality. One`s pulse quickens with the pace and noise of this gargantuan city. It isn`t a place to relax in. It is a shoppers paradise, a place to party or savour the food of any country of the world.

This city that never sleeps, is massive and will make most cities seem small in comparison. Yet it is a city that is surprisingly easy to get around once you know how the train lines run. Indeed it is a city that works, and city planners the world over really should study her.

There is little of historical sightseeing interest in this huge megalopolis, but there are areas that are worth exploring: Harajuku for the European flavour and youthful exuberance of the area,Asakusa for the historical feel, & Roppongi for the nightlife; Akihabara, Ginza, Shinjuku and Shibuya for shopping, and Odaiba for the modernity and beauty of the area. If you are interested in museums you should go to Ueno.

Travel writer Ian L. McQueen suggests: "For a quick introduction to the city, a long-recommendedand still valid suggestion is to ride the Yamanote loop (Yamanote Train Line-ed) for one circuit of the city, a trip of about an hour. This will show how so much of the city is made up of low (one or two-storey) houses interspersed with taller apartment and commercial buildings. Since the line passes through most of the major sub-city areas, it also gives a view of the tremendous amount of development that has taken place in these clusters."

You can pick up free maps of Tokyo at the TIC--Tokyo International Centre. TIC: Tokyo International Centre

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