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Ultra-modern, surreal, and almost too vast to be considered 'just a city' Tokyo, otherwise known as the Eastern Capital in its English translation, is the perfect definition of an urban wilderness. The Japanese capital features one of the most innovative public transport systems in the world, the most populous urban area in the world, a diverse, thriving nightlife scene, and more Michelin star restaurants than any other city.
The Tokyo National Museum
If you won't have the time to see all of Tokyo's world-class exhibition galleries, you certainly can't go wrong by visiting the Tokyo National Museum, which was founded in 1872 and is the country's oldest museum. Here, you can observe well over 100,000 artefacts relating to Japanese and Asian art in five superb exhibition buildings, which also include a special collection of ancient Greco-Buddhist art. Highly rated hotels nearby include the Sutton Place Hotel Ueno, the Super Hotel JR Ueno Iriyaguchi, and the Ueno Hotel.
Asakusa is the location of the Asakusa Shrine, which was founded in the mid-17th century to commemorate the men who established the ancient Buddhist temple, Sensō-ji, the oldest in Tokyo. The area, which has plenty of budget-friendly Tokyo hotels such as the stylish Asakusa Hotel Hatago and the Hotel MyStays. Asakusa, is also revered for its annual Carnival and Shinto festivals, and overlooks the banks of the Sumida River, where you can witness spectacular fireworks during the Sumida River Fireworks celebration in the summer.
The Shinjuku Gyoen
This picturesque National Garden was once a private estate and was opened to the public shortly after the Second World War. Today, it is the city's most popular park, and is known for its superb spring cherry blossom displays, scenic lawns, and French and English Gardens, and also has an impressive tropical greenhouse.
The National Museum of Western Art
Japan's leading public art gallery, the National Museum of Western Art marked its 50th anniversary in 2009 and includes many famous paintings from distinguished artists such as Rodin, Van Gogh, Picasso, Ernst, Moreau and Monet. Like the Tokyo National Museum, the venue is part of the vast Ueno Park, another important public space established in the late 19th century.
Other sights of interest
See the majestic Tokyo Imperial Palace, head to the observation deck of the extraordinary 634m high Tokyo Skytree tower, or take the family to the world-renowned Tokyo Disneyland™ theme park. For some souvenir shopping, visit the youthful Harajuku district, where you can find many charming independent shops, fashion retailers, and elegant cafés.
Dining – just a few suggestions
As you can probably imagine, there is an extraordinary wealth of dining opportunities in this city, and there are simply far too many excellent restaurants to list. For terrific Japanese cuisine, consider Kikko, Kyubey Main Restaurant or Ishikawa, or try Takazawa for some delightful French and Japanese dishes. Other excellent restaurants include sushi-themed Sushiryori Inose, the Tapas Molecular Bar, and Ananda Thai.
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