Historic and modern, central Tokyo is home to the upscale restaurants, department stores and boutiques of the Ginza district, but also slices of traditional Japan such as the Hama-rikyu Gardens and the vast grounds of the Tokyo Imperial Palace. Up the road from Ginza, Nihonbashi epitomises that blend of old and new, with generations-old restaurants and shops alongside the venerable Nihonbashi Takashimaya Shopping Centre and Ginza Mitsukoshi department stores and sleek complexes such as COREDO Nihonbashi. Adding an extra dimension, there’s also the lively subculture hub of Akihabara, high-rise business centres of Marunouchi and Otemachi, and historic shrines such as Hie Jinja and Kanda Myojin.
Where to stay
For those looking to push the boat out, Tokyo has an incredible range of luxury accommodation.
Among the iconic hotels available is the Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo, which has 200 spacious and elegantly furnished guest rooms. It offers an incredible view of the city and is right next to Tokyo Station.
Imperial Hotel, Tokyo was created in the late 1880s at the request of the Japanese aristocracy to cater to the increasing number of Western visitors to Japan, and remains as elegant as ever.
The luxurious Capitol Hotel Tokyu, located in Akasaka, boasts three restaurants, including Japanese and Chinese eateries, as well as an elegant lounge and bar.
Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo, a luxury five-star hotel with traditional and breathtakingly beautiful Japanese garden, is located in the Bunkyo ward.
New Otani Tokyo, which includes the Executive House Zen, is nestled within a verdant ten-acre, 400-year-old Japanese Garden. It was a filming location for the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice.
The 33-storey high Prince Park Tower Tokyo is a stone’s throw from the iconic Tokyo Tower. One key selling point is its natural hot spring.
“A fairytale retreat that mixes 1930s glamour with contemporary cool”, according to Small Hotels of the World, Hotel Gajoen Tokyo, in Meguro, retains its Golden Age elegance today.
Directly connected to the Tokyo Station, The Tokyo Station Hotel is a grand redbrick building in the Marunouchi business district, dating back to 1915.
Like so much of Tokyo, Western Tokyo doesn’t fit a single definition. Take Shinjuku, where on one side of the station are gleaming skyscrapers, yet on another are bars and restaurants in the atmospheric alleyways of the Omoide Yokocho and Golden Gai areas, and not to forget the calm expanse of Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. A few stations away, Shibuya is known for its youthful station area and hectic street crossing. A day spent exploring this part of the city could take in the tranquil Meiji Jingu Shrine, the colourful teen fashions found along Harajuku’s Takeshita-dori Street, and the luxury fashion brands, boutiques and cutting-edge architecture on Omotesando Avenue.