Tokyo is a numbers game. Did you know there are more restaurants per capita in Tokyo than anywhere else in the world? Life expectancy exceeds many of the world’s developed nations with women averaging 86 and men 79 years of age. And then there’s Skytree, the world’s tallest freestanding broadcasting tower.
Don’t visit Tokyo without a plan — including a reliable guide book, decent walking shoes, and a map of the nearly 20 metro lines. This sprawling metropolis is anything but “discoverable.” Its 23 wards are spread across a metro area of 5,310 square miles. Most visitors only see five or six around central Tokyo. Since Tokyo is often a layover on international flights to and from Guam, make the most of your time to experience the sights, sounds, and flavors of this cosmopolitan Asian city.
Start your day in the colorful Akihabara area, accessible on the JR Yamanote line. Young women dressed in cosplay outfits peddle fliers for every kind of electronic device known to man, from computers to cameras to gaming devices. Don’t be afraid to ask for discounts.
Head to the gilded and futuristic Ginza ward where real estate can sell for upwards of $23,000 per square foot. On par with New York’s Fifth Avenue with prices to match, the name Ginza comes from the silver mint that the shogun built in the area in 1612. The side streets of Ginza have discount shops where you can find kimonos, lovely paper products and traditional fans. There’s the moderately priced American brands like H&M as well. Geek out at the six floors of electronic marvels in the Sony Building.
Lounge at the swanky Twenty Eight in the Conrad Hotel, one of the area’s most stylish bars with great views. Order the green tea cocktail.
Cap off a busy day at the world famous Skytree tower, which was recognized by Guinness as the tallest tower in the world. Rising 1,148 feet, the Tembo deck is covered in 16 meter-high glass for a 360-degree view, up to 43 miles away in the distance.