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Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Best of Tokyo

To a new visitor, Tokyo can be so fast and energetic that it may just pass you by. So, to help make sure you make the most of your trip, here's a list of just a few of Tokyo’s best bits:

(Going anywhere without travel insurance can be very risky so make sure you insure your holiday to Japan first.)

Tokyo Imperial Palace

Once the location of Edo Castle, stronghold of the Tokugawa shogunate, the Imperial Palace is considered by many to be the heart and soul of Tokyo. The Palace became the official seat of the Japanese Imperial Family in 1868, with construction of a new palace complex finishing in 1988. Although the palace buildings and inner gardens aren’t generally open to the public, guided tours are held on 2nd January (New Year’s Greeting) and 23rd December (the Emperor's Birthday).

The Palace's East Gardens are open to the public throughout the year, with the exception of Mondays and Fridays. As well as providing a fascinating insight into Japan's imperial history, the Palace grounds are also home to some spectacular architecture and beautiful scenery.

Tokyo

Mount Fuji

Dominating the Tokyo skyline is Japan's highest mountain, Mount Fuji. Standing at over 12,000 feet tall, Mount Fuji, known affectionately by the locals as Fuji-san, is an active stratovolcano that last erupted just over three hundred years ago. No visit to Tokyo is complete without a visit to one of Japan’s most iconic features.

Whether you're a beginner or an expert, there are opportunities to climb Mount Fuji within the official climbing season from 1st July to the end of August. The Kawaguchiko Trail is one of Mount Fuji's easiest and is even ideal for children and older travellers.

Mount Fuji

Akihabara

If there's one thing Japan is known around the world for, it's technology. Akihabara, sometimes also known as Akihabara Electric Town, is a perfect example of Japan's love-affair with all things technology. The district, situated right in the heart of Tokyo, is home to a large number of electronics shops, selling everything from the latest TVs and mobile phones to second-hand goods.

Recently, Akihabara has also become a centre for the burgeoning Japanese manga and animation culture. The area now features a number of places inspired by the manga craze, including cosplay (costume play) cafes, where the waitresses dress up like popular anime characters.

Tokyo

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