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Tokyo

Für Tokio braucht man einen Plan. Und bequeme Schuhe. Die Stadt ist schlichtweg zu trubelig, zu stickig, zu gigantisch, um einfach drauflos zu schlendern. Wir bereiten unsere Tagesroute in den komfortablen Betten des Boutique Hotel Niwa Tokyo vor.

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Japan: Die große Reise

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Saturday, 30.04.2016
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    Brief overview Tokyo

    Tokyo

    The world’s largest metropolitan area is also one of its most unrelenting. Tokyo is a place that never stops, its sheer scale meaning you’ll never run out of things to keep you entertained. On the surface, Japan’s capital is a thoroughly modern metropolis: impressive skyscrapers, neon-lit boulevards and superb shopping.

    But you don’t need to walk far off the beaten track to find a taste of old-word Japan. Rambling parks, pretty temples and ancient culture are all up for grabs. However long you spend here, you’ll struggle to find the time to get to know every nook and cranny of this wonderful town.

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    24 hours in Tokyo

    ListMap
    Für Tokio braucht man einen Plan. Und bequeme Schuhe. Die Stadt ist schlichtweg zu trubelig, zu stickig, zu gigantisch, um einfach drauflos zu schlendern. Wir bereiten unsere Tagesroute in den komfortablen Betten des Boutique Hotel Niwa Tokyo vor.

    09:00 a.m. – Wake up at Hotel Niwa Tokyo

    1-1-16 Misakicho, Chiyoda
    Tokyo
    Japan
    Tel. +81-3-3293-2228
    Show on map

    Tokyo calls for a plan. And comfy shoes. The city is simply too crowded, too stuffy and too gigantic to make setting out to explore at random an option. We prepare our day’s route in the comfortable beds of Hotel Niwa Tokyo. The rooms of this boutique hotel are not very big – of course not, we are in Tokyo, after all, where the use of every last square meter is carefully thought through. The decor takes its cue from traditional Japanese aesthetics: plenty of wood, light colors, everything very streamlined and purist, and windows with the typical Japanese wood-frame paper blinds.

    The Niwa Tokyo is a gem with a small garden and roof terrace tucked away in a quiet street in the not so touristy and not so expensive north of the city, and just a three-minute walk from the central train line Chūō. We discover that a good connection is worth a great deal in the world’s largest metropolitan region.

    11:00 a.m. – See and be seen in Shibuya

    5-10-1, Jingumae, Shibuya
    Tokyo
    Japan
    Show on map

    Even if it can be a little difficult for tall Europeans to find their size in some of the clothes stores here, a visit to the world-famous shopping district is an absolute must. It is the beating heart of Japan’s trendy society with money to spend. It’s a good idea to plan this trip for the first half of the day when you still have enough energy reserves because once you exit Harajuku Station, there will be nothing for it but to let yourself be carried along by the crowds. All of the world’s luxury brands, from Comme des Garçons to Isabel Marant, appear to have at least one shop of their own on Omotesandō Street.

    On a neighboring street, you will find nothing but sneaker stores, and on the next, one manga store after the next, regularly interspersed by imposing modern architecture, like The Gyre, a luxury mall designed by the Dutch company MVRDV, which is really worth seeing. There is one street definitely not to be missed, and that’s “Cat Street,” the pedestrian zone that doubles as a catwalk. This is where fans of extravagant fashions get together. The more eccentric the outfit, the better. We recommend you enjoy a cup of matcha tea on the terrace of The Roastery, an excellent coffee shop, from where you can survey the fashionable comings and goings.

    04:00 p.m. – Contrast program in Yanaka

    2-15-6 Ueno Sakuragi, Taito 110-0002
    Tokyo
    Japan
    Tel. +81-3-5834-2381
    Show on map

    After all the hustle and bustle, we find some peace and tranquility in the old town neighborhood Yanaka. The district survived the severe earthquake of 1923 and Tokyo’s heart really does seem to beat a little more slowly here. The best plan here is to rent a bicycle, from Tokyobike, for example, to explore the neighborhood, which is famous for its small workshops and studios, its ceramics shops and galleries. One highlight here is the Matsunoya store, which was established in 1945 and could even be the role model for the Muji lifestyle chain. The owner, Hiroshi Matsuno, travels throughout the country in search of everyday products, such as baskets, lamps and brooms made by unknown, often traditional artisan workshops. Like Muji, Matsunoya names no brands.

    We let ourselves drift and come upon the Yanaka Beer Hall. In a quaint parlor on the ground floor of a traditional Japanese wooden house, of which there are quite a few here, various ales and lagers, all of them  produced by local breweries, are served. You can also order hot and cold snacks. On the first floor, boutiques measuring just a few square meters sell local fashion labels, and a little out of sight in the back yard, there’s also a bakery and a shop selling Japanese specialties. An idyllic place, ideal for stopping awhile and unwinding a little.

    07:00 p.m. – Dine amid the hubbub of Ueno

    13-9 Uenokoen, Taitō-ku
    105-7090 Tokyo
    Japan
    Tel: 03 3822 1111
    Show on map

    We continue by bicycle or on foot toward Ueno Station, through vast Ueno Park, past a handful of museums, like the highly recommendable Tokyo National Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of Japanese art. We are headed for the lively area around Ameyoko shopping mile.

    Dozens of street-food stalls attract a young crowd here, who perch on stools at folding tables, their voices billowing through the streets, where neon signs flash, and the culinary delights on offer range from sushi to yakitori skewers and tempura. All you have to do now is pick a meal – and find a place.

    10:00 p.m. – Following in Bill and Scarlett’s footsteps

    The Prince Park Tower Tokyo
    4-8-1 Shibakoen, Minato
    Tokyo
    Japan
    Tel. +81-3-5400-1154
    Show on map

    We did our homework and watched Sofia Coppola’s 2003 masterpiece Lost in Translation  again before flying out. And that’s why this is what we need now: We drop in on one of the many sky bars in the city. But it doesn’t have to be the elegant, but often overcrowded New York Bar in the Park Hyatt Hotel, where actors Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson once sat.

    The Sky Lounge Stellar Garden on the 33rd floor of the Prince Hotel is equally  well worth recommending. Over a sake, we try to get the measure of this crazy metropolis – and fail cheerfully.

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    Top 10 sights in Tokyo

    ListMap
    Tokio, Japan, Lufthansa, Travel Guide

    SkyTree

    1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida-ku
    131-0045 Tokyo
    Japan
    Tel: 03 5302 3470
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0800-2200

    The second tallest tower in the world opened its doors in 2012 and has fast become one of Tokyo’s hottest attractions. Zip up to the top on a clear day and you’ll get sweeping views of the vast metropolitan area and even Mount Fuji.

    Tsukiji Fish Market

    5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chūō-ku
    104-0045 Tokyo
    Japan
    Tel: 03 3542 1111
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Mon-Sat and every other wednesday 0500-1500 (outer market)

    You’ll need to be at this world-famous fish market by 4am to catch the renowned tuna auction. But even if you stay in bed and roll up at 9am, you’ll still catch traders busy at work. Queues for the superb sushi stalls can get long, so why not try the equally good tempura instead?

    Tokyo National Museum

    13-9 Uenokoen, Taitō-ku
    105-7090 Tokyo
    Japan
    Tel: 03 3822 1111
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue-Sat 0930-1700

    The largest museum in Japan, Tokyo’s National Museum has the biggest collection of Japanese art in the world. There are four different galleries, which play home to a variety of ancient artefacts and stunning Buddhist-influenced pieces.

    Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art

    8-36 Uenokoen, Taitō-ku
    110-0007 Tokyo
    Japan
    Tel: 03 3823 6921
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue-Sun 0930-1730 and every other and every fourth monday of a month; closed 6.-15. july and vom 21.-28. december

    Fans of modern art, both Japanese and western, should definitely make time for this sprawling space. Alongside standard artworks, you’ll find 21st-century takes on Japanese flower arranging and ink brush paintings.

    Imperial Palace East Garden

    1-1 Chiyoda-ku
    100-0001 Tokyo
    Japan
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue-Thu, Sat/Sun 0900-1700, during winter 0900-1600

    The Imperial Palace itself, built on the site of the old Edo Castle, only opens its doors twice a year as it is still home to Japan’s imperial family. Its pretty gardens, however, are open throughout the year and look particularly beautiful during spring cherry blossom season.

    Sensō-ji

    2-3-1 Asakusa, Taitō-ku
    111-0032 Tokyo
    Japan
    Tel: 03 3842 0181
    Show on map

    A key Buddhist site, Sensō-ji enshrines an image of Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. The temple has been rebuilt over the centuries, but this colourful spot is a beautiful, not to mention peaceful, counterpoint to the buzz of central Tokyo.

    Akihabara

    Akihabara, Taitō-ku
    Tokyo
    Japan
    Show on map

    The neon-lit streets of Akihabara district are a byword for Japan’s love of all things technology. Duck into an arcade and play classic titles, trawl the stores looking for second-hand bargains and amazing anime, or just take in the whole chaos of it all.

    Shibuya crossing

    Shibuya-ku
    Tokyo
    Japan
    Show on map

    Probably the most famous road crossing in the world (and certainly the busiest), Shibuya buzzes with people 24 hours a day. If you’re after a good view of locals bustling across, then head into Shibuya train station to see it all in action from a dedicated platform near the Hachiko exit.

    Ghibli Museum

    1-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka-shi
    181-0013 Tokyo
    Japan
    Tel: 0570 055 777
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Wed-Mon 1000-1800

    This magical museum focuses on the work of renowned Japanese animator and filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. Learn how classics such as Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle were made, and marvel at the fantastical models and designs on show.

    Advertising Museum Tokyo

    Caretta Shiodome B1F-B2F, 1-8-2 Higashi-Shinbashi, Minato-ku
    105-7090 Tokyo
    Japan
    Tel: 03 6218 2500
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue-Fri 1100-1830, Sat 1100-1630

    A fascinating insight into the changes in Japanese advertising. From the years before the country opened up to foreign trade in the late 19th century to US-influenced occupation-era posters, this small museum has a wonderful collection.

    Good to know

    Country information

    Country overview

    Japan is swathed in natural beauty, from the snow festivals and lavender farms of the northern isle of Hokkaido to the sun-drenched beaches and turquoise waters of the subtropical islands of Okinawa. Whether climbing volcanic Mount Fuji, wandering the pine forests of Mount Koya, taking in

    the springtime beauty of the sakura cherry blossoms or the spectacular maple leaves in the autumn, a journey to Japan is a wealth of unforgettable natural landscapes. In recent years, the powdery snow of Japan’s ski fields has also been attracting international visitors.

    Geography

    The archipelago of Japan is separated from the Asian mainland by 160km (100 miles) of sea and split into four main islands: Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku. About 70% of the country is covered by hills and mountains, a number of which are active or dormant volcanoes, including Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest peak, reaching 3,776m (12,388ft). Japan sits on major seismic fault lines and is susceptible to frequent earthquakes.

    A series of mountain ranges runs from northern Hokkaido to southern Kyushu. The Japanese Alps (the most prominent range) run in a north-south direction through central Honshu.

    Lowlands and plains are small and scattered, mostly lying along the coast, and composed of alluvial lowlands and diluvial uplands. The coastline is very long in relation to the land area, and has very varied features, for example, the deeply indented bays with good natural harbours tend to be adjacent to mountainous terrain. Many of Japan’s major cities are located on the coastline, and have extremely high population density.

    General knowledge

    Key facts

    Population: 127,06 Million

    Population Density (per sq km): 337

    Capital: Tokyo.

    Language

    Japanese is the official language. Some English is spoken in Tokyo and other large cities but is less usual in rural areas. There are many regional dialects and there are distinct differences in the intonation and pronunciation between eastern and western Japan.

    Currency

    Japanese Yen (JPY; symbol ¥). Notes are in denominations of ¥10,000, 5,000, 2,000 and 1,000. Coins are in denominations of ¥500, 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1.

    Electricity

    100 volts AC, 60Hz in the west (Osaka); 100 volts AC, 50Hz in eastern Japan and Tokyo. Plugs are flat two-pin plugs.

    General business opening hours

    Mon-Fri 0900-1700. Some offices are open Sat 0900-1200.

    Public holidays

    Below are listed Public Holidays for the January 2016 – December 2017 period.

    Note: Holidays falling on Sunday are observed the following Monday. When there is a single day between two national holidays, it is also taken as a holiday.

    2016

    New Year’s Day: 1. January 2016
    Coming of Age Day: 11. January 2016
    National Foundation Day: 11. February 2016
    Vernal Equinox: 21. March 2016
    Showa Day: 29. April 2016
    Constitution Memorial Day: 3. May 2016
    Greenery Day: 4. May 2016
    Children’s Day: 5. May 2016
    Marine Day: 18. July 2016
    Respect for the Aged Day: 19. September 2016
    Autumnal Equinox: 22. September 2016
    Health and Sports Day: 10. October 2016
    Culture Day: 3. November 2016
    Labour Thanksgiving Day: 23. November 2016
    Emperor’s Birthday: 23. December 2016

    2017

    New Year’s Day: 1. January 2017
    Coming of Age Day: 9. January 2017
    National Foundation Day: 11. February 2017
    Vernal Equinox: 21. March 2017
    Showa Day: 29. April 2017
    Constitution Memorial Day: 3. May 2017
    Greenery Day: 4. May 2017
    Children’s Day: 5. May 2017
    Marine Day: 17. July 2017
    Respect for the Aged Day: 18. September 2017
    Autumnal Equinox: 22. September 2017
    Health and Sports Day: 9. October 2017
    Culture Day: 3. November 2017
    Labour Thanksgiving Day: 23. November 2017
    Emperor’s Birthday: 23. December 2017

    Discover

    What's The Craziest Place You've Ever Been? A Tokyo Robot Bar, says Captain Capa

    Have you ever been to a place that felt like a completely different world? German Electro Pop band Captain Capa found a whole new level of being inspired in Tokyo.

    The #inspiredby series takes you on a trip around the world. Experience the world from the perspective of artists, musicians, athletes and our very own crew, whether at work or play! See what impact and meaning traveling has for each of these individuals and let their stories inspire you.

    http://youtube.com/lufthansa/inspiredby

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    Japan – Caught between worlds

    Die große Reise: Japan, Tag 1Tag 1 Tokyo: beim weltberühmten Bonsai Meister Kunio Kobayashi, bei dem man auch tagesweise Kurse in Bonsai nehmen kann, im Mittelpunkt sein ältester Bonsai Baum mit 800 Jahren, mit dem er schon viele Preise gewinnen konnteTag 2: von Tokyo nach Matsumoto/Präfektur Nagano: Blick auf den Fuji von Norden ausTag 3: von Matsumoto nach Wajima auf der Noto Halbinsel:traditionelles japanisches Hotel (Ryokan) in Asama-Onsen: Kiku no Yu-zwei Generationen Hotellbesitzerinnen im Eingangsbereich mit Chrysamthemen BlumenTag 4: von Wajima/Notohalbinsel über Kanazawa nach Osaka:Fischereihafen von WajimaTag 5: Osaka-im Osaka Aquarium:Blick in das größte Becken mit Walhai, Rochen, Mantas, Haien etc.
    The great journey: From Tokyo to Osaka

    Japan has a polarizing effect. On a five-day trip from Toyko to Osaka we are treated to a fascinating mix of people and customs: a women’s diving cooperative, a peaceful bonsai school in the middle of flashy Tokyo, an enterprising master firework maker and two Dutch girls who love to dress up.

    Day 1 – 
Tokyo: Shaping Nature

    Half an hour is all it takes in Tokyo to get from the world’s largest intersection to a green oasis of tranquility. At Shibuya Crossing doors open automatically and we climb into a taxi driven by a woman sporting white gloves and a chauffeur’s cap. Soon we are standing in an inner courtyard amid hundreds of bonsais, overwhelmed by the serenity of the scene. A stream splashes softly into a pond, where koi circle dreamily. Sensei Kunio Kobayashi, 65, pours us green tea. He has been working with bonsai since 1976 and is a grand bonsai master today, teaching the art of shaping bonsai and welcoming visitors from Japan, Italy and Australia almost every day. Some of his students stand absolutely still, firmly gripping their secateurs as they contemplate the fine twigs. Kobayashi has chalked a bonsai consisting of three elements onto a board: a stand, a plant pot and a tree.

    Ideally, a bonsai should express – in miniature – the harmony between humans and nature. Kobayashi sighs. “Shaping a good student is more difficult than shaping a good bonsai.” The master shows us his most beautiful trees, one of which is 800 years old and worth a fortune. “Love is the key,” explains Kobayashi, “One has to devote many hours every day to a bonsai.” He tells his students to watch their tree instead of watching television. Kobayashi walks over to a small altar where a dried-up tree is lying on the floor – the bonsai graveyard. “Bonsai can sense when we neglect them,” he says, closing his eyes. The distant din of the city of millions drifts in over the walls. Silently, Kobayashi asks the dead bonsai for forgiveness.

    Day 2 –
 Tokyo to Matsumoto: Masters of pyrotechnics

    Mount Fuji is shrouded in cloud and only its snowy peak is visible. A recorded loudspeaker message brings us a woman’s monotonous warning to “Drive carefully, there have been many accidents recently, drive slowly.” We are sitting outside at a rest stop, spooning noodle soup with mountain vegetables, having left Tokyo via the ring expressway, which is frequently the scene of illegal nighttime races. The countryside is growing hillier, the air fresher, the leaves gleam red-brown in the sunshine. “Kōyō” is what the Japanese call the season when the foliage turns. They celebrate it with a variety of festivals just like they do the season of spring blossoms. Hiroto Kamijoo, 53, makes his living from such festivals. Kneeling in front of a pile of gunpowder balls with his son Rioji, he strikes a match. A loud bang resounds and through a dense swathe of smoke, we see five different colors as five layers of powder burn.

    Mr. Kamijoo looks pleased with himself. “I loved watching fireworks in the sky as a boy,” he says, “and there comes a time when you want to do it yourself.” He has been igniting tiny bombs with gusto for over 30 years and was one of the 12 master firework makers entrusted with firing the rockets at the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Nagano in 1998. At his warehouse, protected by double steel doors, stout walls and a round-the-clock security guard, six employees pour powder into balls; the wider their diameter, the longer they burn. The closest building is half a kilometer away. He and his team make up to 20 000 bombs year. Does he enjoy what he does? “What, you noticed?,” Kamijoo replies with a broad grin.

    Day 3
 – Matsumoto: Raw fish and thermal springs

    In the morning, we are met by Mikoko Nakajo, landlady of a ryokan at the foot of the Japanese Alps. Her 120-year-old guesthouse draws water via a wooden pipeline from thermal springs located kilometers away in the mountains. “My only fear is that an earthquake could destroy the line,” says Nakajo. Twigs hang from high ceilings, calligraphy adorns the walls and her guests sleep on futons. Automatic, heated lavatory seats and flatscreen televisions are the only nods to the 21st century here. Outside, steam rises from the onsen, hot pools of healing mineral water. Her husband monitors their quality every month. She herself does not particularly like them, says Ms. Nakajo, smiling politely: “Too hot and too many people.” Foreign visitors often extend their stay into a relaxing break; Japanese visitors usually only come for a night.

    “We Japanese find it more difficult to let go; very few of us take a vacation,” explains Nakajo. She herself enjoys traveling, especially to Baden-Württemberg in Germany, where her children went to university. She loves German buildings, grandfather clocks and church bells. In fact, the only thing she had a problem with was the food: “The huge portions, awful, dumplings this size!,” she exclaims, shaping her hands to encompass an imaginary soccer ball. She and her husand would travel across the border to France to eat. She is interrupted by a gong striking 6pm. Guests in kimonos and slippers come to kneel at the low tables. This ryokan is famous for its food: fish with roe inside, raw octopus in seaweed, yuba rolls made of tofu skin, sea anemones, marinated mushrooms. Ms. Nakajo beams.

    Day 4 – Matsumoto to Wajima: The old woman and the sea

    After breakfasting on fish, we go down to Wajima harbor. A few fishing boats are still coming in, but most of the fleet has already been tied up along the pier and unloaded. The air is filled with the smells of salt and diesel oil, gulls squabble over shrimp scraps, and it’s drizzling. Harue Aochi surveys the sea.

    She is an expert at reading the currents; she knows the waves and the wind. Aochi is 62 years old and works literally in the sea all year round. She is one of around 200 amas, the women divers of the Noto Peninsula in the Japanese Sea. There are nearly 1000 divers like her in the country. After the Second World War, very few men returned to Noto and many were no longer able to work. Forced to provide for their families, their wives went fishing or diving for mussels and snails.

    Aochi sails out every morning with eight other amas and a captain to one of the islands off the coast. The weather determines where they head. Aochi has been gathering abalone and turban snails from the sea bed for 40 years. Delicacies like that fetch up to 10 000 yen (over 100 dollars) a kilo at the fish market. On a good day, the divers haul between 20 and 30 kilos on board.

    The women are organized as a cooperative and share their profits equally, regardless of how many mussels and snails each one of them collects. If someone is sick, she still gets her share. “The young women dive further down and bring up more than the older ones,” explains Aochi, “but someday they, too, will be old and profit from the young.” An ama’s skills are handed down from generation to generation. Aochi’s mother taught her her craft under water and showed her the good spots; Aochi in her turn trained her cousin, who dives with the cooperative, too.

    The women can hold their breath for two minutes and dive down 18 meters without oxygen bottles. They always dive in pairs, taking it in turns to stay at the surface and keep watch while their partner is down below, filling the baskets. They use sign language to communicate with each other, and only women do this kind of work. “Men are too impatient,” says Aochi with a smile, “they feel the cold quickly because they have no body fat.” Her husband is standing beside her, two heads shorter and quite a bit slimmer.

    Day 5
 – Wajima to Osaka: Two Lolitas far from home

    We head southwest along the coast, past pagoda villages, rice terraces and rocky beaches. Now and then, we come upon a racing cyclist, but otherwise the streets tend to be deserted. Many Japanese express a longing to return to nature and the simple life in the country, far from the crowds and the fast pace and noise of the city. Not Leyla Cavusoglu from the Netherlands. Cavusoglu, 28, left Europe to live in a Japanese city. “The secondhand stores in Osaka are fantastic,” she says, peeping out from under her false eyelashes. She is looking for new Lolita fashions, a variation on “cosplay,” the costume trend exported from Japan along with the manga boom in the 1990s. “In cosplay, you play a different role, but as Lolita, you keep your own character,” explains Leyla, today in a black-and-red costume. Her friend Danchelle Heijnen, 21, is all dolled up in baby blue and pink, right down to the bow in her hair, in an outfit worth around 1000 euros.

    The pair of Lolitas are inside a Hello Kitty store. Outside, jostling masses fill the shopping malls near the Glico Man, one of several garish neon signs and a landmark of Dotonbori, a district famous for its nightlife. Young people pose for photos, suited business types sit in sushi bars, and girls match high boots with short skirts, wearing their iPhones like jewelry around their necks.
    A cacophony of sounds pounds from the Gamecenter, where boys dance to light patterns that keep on changing at breakneck speed. Friday night is a dazzling, neon time of the week. The two Lolitas are off to a party. As they disappear into the crowds, Leyla turns back, her purse describing a semicircle, and calls out, “I just love Japan!”

    Enjoy

    Nightlife in Tokyo

    ListMap

    Tokyo’s club and bar scene is hugely varied and caters to all tastes.

    From western-style clubs to cosy izakaya bars, visitors will find plenty of great spots to kick back, sip on a glass of sake and see a whole different side to Japan’s capital.

    Warayakiya

    1F, Roppongi Go Dee Building, 6-8-8 Roppongi, Minato-ku
    106-0032 Tokyo
    Japan
    Show on map

    This highly rated izakaya is a great spot for grabbing a few local beers.

    Gonpachi

    1F, 2F, 1-13-11, Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku
    106-0031 Tokyo
    Japan
    Show on map

    One of Tokyo’s most famous izakaya has the feel of a German beer hall. Snacks and booze abound.

    ageHa

    2-2-10 Shinkiba, Koto-ku
    136-0082 Tokyo
    Japan
    Show on map

    Tokyo’s biggest club can hold up to 5,000 people. A free shuttle takes revellers there from Shibuya.

    Womb

    2-16 Maruyamacho, Shibuya-ku
    150-0044 Tokyo
    Japan
    Show on map

    A short walk from Shibuya, this mega club is the place to see world-famous DJs do their thing.

    Club Quattro

    32-13 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku
    150-0042 Tokyo
    Japan
    Show on map

    Expect both local and international acts in this mid-sized, rock-music venue right in the heart of trendy Shibuya.

    Enjoy

    Restaurants in Tokyo

    ListMap

    Tokyo is officially the world’s gourmet capital, with more Michelin stars than any other city on the planet.

    Fortunately, it’s not all pricey dining though, with plenty of excellent places for affordable tempura, ramen and sushi dotted across town.

    Sukiyabashi Jiro Honten

    B1F, Tsukamoto Sogyo Building
    4-2-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku
    104-0061 Tokyo
    Japan
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    Three Michelin stars, 10 seats and arguably the best sushi in the world.

    Usukifugu Yamadaya

    4-11-14 Nishiazabu, Minato-ku
    106-0031 Tokyo
    Japan
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    Renowned for serving the delicacy of blowfish, this is one of Tokyo’s most unique eateries.

    Sushibun

    5 Chome-2-1 Tsukiji
    Chūō, Tokyo
    Japan ‎
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    A Tsukiji Market institution, this sushi place only has 12 seats, but serves the freshest fish you’re ever likely to eat.

    Tsunahachi Rin

    3-38-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku
    160-0022 Tokyo
    Japan
    Show on map

    Price: Budget

    Superb tempura bowls that won’t break the bank, this Shinjuku joint is a winner.

    Ippudo

    1-3-13 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku
    150-0012 Tokyo
    Japan
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    Price: Budget

    You can’t come to Tokyo and miss out on its famous ramen. Ippudo is one of the best places in the city.

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    Calendar of events

    Cherry Blossom Viewing

    1 – 30 April 2016

    Venue: Parks across the city, but Ueno Park and Chidorigafuchi Park in particular

    It’s not only a tourist dream, it’s the real thing. Families gather under the newly arrived blossoms to drink sake and share a picnic – and there’s nothing to stop visitors from joining in. One of the most popular places to see the Cherry Blossom in Tokyo and enjoy a drink with friends under the trees is Ueno Park.

    Asakusa Sanja Matsuri (Sanja Festival)

    13 – 15 May 2016
    Website

    Venue: Asakusa Shrine

    At one of Tokyo’s biggest shrines, May sees one of Tokyo’s biggest festivals. Thousands fill the streets to watch the mikoshi (portable shrines) wobble along the streets on the shoulders of men, women and children. If the wobble looks like an intentional jolt, don’t be surprised. Jolting is supposed to increase the power of the deities.

    Kanda Matsuri (Kanda Festival)

    14 – 15 May 2016

    Venue: Kanda Myojin Shrine, Tokyo

    For a lavish display of portable shrines and floats, visit Tokyo during the three-day festival that honours the deities of the Kanda Myojin Shrine. Worshippers parade ornate golden mikoshi (portable shrines) through the streets in one of the three largest festivals in Japan. Revel in the Edokko spirit, famed for knowing how to have a good time.

    Sanno Matsuri (Sanno Festival)

    7 – 17 June 2016
    Website

    Venue: Hie-jinja Shrine

    This is another big festival involving parades of portable shrines through the streets of Tokyo. This one sets itself apart by having a phoenix on display plus a number of legendary goblins called Tengu. This creature with a red face and a long nose has supernatural powers (but apparently nothing to do with Pinocchio). Look out for flower displays and plenty of Japanese tea.

    Sumida Hanabi (Sumida Fireworks Festival)

    30 July 2016
    Website

    Venue: Two sites along the Sumida River – see website for details

    Tokyo’s biggest and most spectacular fireworks display erupts over the Sumida River, to commemorate those who died in the Great Famine of the Edo Period. Over the course of an hour, countless rockets are launched from the banks of the river into the Tokyo sky in one of the most spectacular displays anywhere in Japan. Stalls and kiosks selling mulled sake and Japanese specialities add to the bustling, party atmosphere.

    Oeshiki Festival

    11 – 13 October 2016
    Website

    Venue: Honmonji Temple, Tokyo

    Up to 350,000 people gather to watch a procession of 3,000 participants carrying lanterns and huge paper decorations to Honmonji. The Oeshiki Festival is observed throughout Japan in memory of the great 13th-century Buddhist priest Nichiren (1222-1282). The festival at Honmonji is the most prestigious of these because Nichiren is buried at this temple.

    Tokyo International Film Festival

    25 October – 3 November 2016
    Website

    Venue: TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills and Cinemart Roppongi

    Japan’s annual film extravaganza is held at various venues throughout the metropolis. Expect an international display that leaves you with plenty to think about.

    Tokyo Motor Show

    29 October – 8 November 2016
    Website

    Venue: Tokyo Big Sight

    The huge Tokyo Motor Show promises to examine “next-generation automobiles and the social systems with which they interact”. Expect to hear a lot about solar power and “low carbon” while surrounded by plenty of automobiles.

    Hagoita-Ichi (Battledore Fair)

    17 – 19 December 2016
    Website

    Venue: Sensoji Temple, Tokyo

    The Hagoita-Ichi (Battledore Fair) is an annual fair held at the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. Street stalls sell all shapes and sizes of hagoita – decorative wooden bats used as lucky charms. In the past they were used to play a form of badminton. Traditionally they are decorated with colourful portraits of kabuki actors, but today they may equally portray pop stars or characters from mangas (comics).

    O-Shogatsu (New Year)

    1 January 2017

    Venue: Shrines across the city, but the Meiji Shrine in particular

    After the convenient bonenkai parties, designed to forget the old year and start the new one with a clean slate, New Year in Japan signals the start of a major holiday. Unlike the West, it’s important to see the first sunrise rather than the switching of the clock from 23:59 to 00:00. People display pine and bamboo ornaments and it’s traditional to visit a shrine.

    All information subject to change. Please check the dates on the relevant event organizer’s website.

    Enjoy

    Hotels in Tokyo

    ListMap

    Affordability is not something you associate with Tokyo, with truly budget rooms in short supply.

    Business stays and truly top-end hotels, however, are abundant and can be found in key locations across the city.

    Park Hyatt Tokyo

    3-7-1-2 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku
    163-1055 Tokyo
    Japan
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    Category: Expensive

    So much more than the set of Lost in Translation, this is Tokyo’s plushest, most luxurious hotel.

    The Peninsula Tokyo

    1-8-1 Uramachi, Chiyoda-ku
    100-0006 Tokyo
    Japan
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    Category: Expensive

    Spacious, well-appointed rooms just a short hop from the Imperial Palace.

    Good to know

    Best time to visit

    Today: Saturday, 30.04.2016 00:00 UTC

    partly cloudy

    temperature


    18°C


    wind direction

    wind speed

    6.875 mph

    humidity

    unknown%

    7 days forecast

    Sunday

    01.05.2016

    24°C / 14°C

    Monday

    02.05.2016

    21°C / 15°C

    Tuesday

    03.05.2016

    23°C / 17°C

    Wednesday

    04.05.2016

    22°C / 16°C

    Thursday

    05.05.2016

    24°C / 15°C

    Friday

    06.05.2016

    25°C / 18°C

    Saturday

    07.05.2016

    24°C / 17°C

    Climate & best time to visit Japan

    Except for the Hokkaido area and the subtropical Okinawa region, the weather in Japan is mostly temperate, with four distinct seasons. Winters are cool and sunny in the south, cold and sunny around Tokyo (which occasionally has snow), and very cold around Hokkaido, which is covered in snow for up to four months a year. The Japan Sea coastline also often receives heavy snowfall during winter.

    Summer, between June and September, ranges from warm to very hot with high levels of humidity in many areas. Typhoons, or tropical cyclones, with strong winds and torrential rains often hit Japan during August and September, but can occur through May to October. Strong typhoons often affect transport systems, causing rail and air services to be stopped, and there is a danger of landslides in rural areas.

    Spring and autumn are generally mild throughout the country, and offer spectacular views of pretty sakura cherry blossoms and colourful autumnal leaves, respectively. Rain falls all over Japan throughout the year but June and early July is the main rainy season. Umbrellas are a daily essential during this season. Hokkaido, however, is generally much drier than the Tokyo area. For weather updates, including information of when and where cherry blossoms are expected to bloom and typhoon trajectories, check the Japan Meteorological Association website (www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html).

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

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    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

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    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

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    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

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    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

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    absolute maxabsolute minØ absolute minØ absolute minrelative humidityØ depositdays with deposit > 1mmsunshine duration
    Jan22 °C-9 °C9 °C1 °C50 %45 mm45.6 h
    Feb24 °C-7 °C9 °C1 °C52 %60 mm65.3 h
    Mar25 °C-5 °C12 °C4 °C56 %100 mm95.3 h
    Apr27 °C-3 °C18 °C10 °C63 %125 mm105.4 h
    May31 °C2 °C22 °C14 °C66 %138 mm105.9 h
    Jun35 °C8 °C25 °C18 °C73 %185 mm124.1 h
    Jul37 °C13 °C28 °C22 °C76 %126 mm104.4 h
    Aug38 °C15 °C30 °C24 °C73 %148 mm85.7 h
    Sep38 °C10 °C26 °C20 °C73 %180 mm113.7 h
    Oct32 °C0 °C21 °C14 °C67 %164 mm94.2 h
    Nov27 °C-3 °C16 °C8 °C61 %89 mm64.6 h
    Dec23 °C-6 °C12 °C3 °C54 %46 mm45.3 h
    year38 °C-9 °C19 °C12 °C64 %1405 mm995.0 h
    Good to know

    Phone calls & Internet

    Telephone/Mobile Telephone

    Dialing Code: +81

    Telephone

    Four companies provide international communications services: KDDI (001), Cable & Wireless IDC (0061) Japan Telecom (0041) and NTT (0033). To call the UK, for example, you would use 001-44. Credit cards can also be used directly in some phone boxes. Public telephone boxes are becoming more difficult to find and are most likely to be located near train stations. They are green and grey, and accept coins and magnetic prepaid cards, available from convenience stories and vending machines.

    Mobile Telephone

    The Japanese mobile network uses PDC (Personal Digital Cellular System) technology, which is not compatible with GSM or other mobile services. Visitors can hire handsets at the airport from companies such as DoCoMo (www.nttdocomo.com), and Softbank (www.softbank-rental.jp). In the UK, phones can be rented in advance of travel from Adam Phones (www.adamphones.com). Coverage is generally good.

    Internet

    Internet is widely available; there are many internet cafés in Tokyo and in the main cities in Japan. Most hotels have Wi-Fi internet access.

    Enjoy

    Shopping in Tokyo

    Stadtführer, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Shopping, Einkaufen

    Key Areas

    Tokyo is a city that lives to shop. Shibuya and Harajuku are fashion meccas for the young and trendy, while Shinjuku throbs with department stores and some of the city’s best electronic shops. Asakusa is great for knick-knacks and souvenirs, while Ginza is the ultimate destination for luxury goods lovers.

    Markets

    One of Tokyo’s oldest flea markets, Setagaya Boroichi is essential for bargain hunters and those after unique trinkets. Yoyogi Market is a more modern take and a great place to mix and shop with locals. For antiques fans, Yasukuni Jinja Flea Marlet is a stop-off not to be missed.

    Shopping Centres

    Malls can be found in the ultra-modern Roppongi Hills development and at the vast Tokyo Bay shopping centre. Both have an international flavour, with leading global brands up for grabs. The department stores near Shibuya and Shinjuku stations are also excellent.

    Discover

    My Tokyo

    My absolute favorite place in Tokyo is Shinjuku, where you can not only get every variation of sushi, but also super-delicious yakitori (meat skewers). After grabbing a bite to eat, I head for the karaoke bars and j-pop clubs to enjoy some of the neighborhood’s offbeat nightlife.

    Devin Swanson, flight attendant

    Good to know

    Traveller etiquette

    Social Conventions

    Japanese manners and customs are vastly different from those of Western people. A strict code of behaviour and politeness is recognised and followed by almost everyone. However, Japanese people do not expect visitors to be familiar with all their customs but do expect them to behave formally and politely.

    A straightforward refusal traditionally does not form part of Japanese etiquette, and a vague ‘yes’ does not always mean ‘yes’. (The visitor may be comforted to know that confusion caused by non-committal replies occurs between the Japanese themselves.)

    When entering a Japanese home or restaurant, shoes must be removed.

    Bowing is the customary greeting but handshaking is becoming more common for business meetings with Westerners. The honorific suffix san should be used when addressing all men and women; for instance Mr Yamada would be addressed as Yamada-san.

    Table manners are very important, although the Japanese host will be very tolerant towards a visitor. However, it is best if visitors familiarise themselves with basic table etiquette and use chopsticks. Exchange of gifts is also a common business practice and may take the form of souvenir items such as company pens, ties or high-quality spirits.

    Good to know

    Health

    Main emergency number: 119

    Food & Drink

    If travelling to the area near the Fukushima nuclear accident it is advisable to take supplies of food and water. Produce from the area near the Fukushima nuclear accident, which is still being sold in some supermarkets nationwide, should be avoided due to the lack of a centralized testing system in Japan for radioactive contamination in food, and discrepancies between Japanese and international standards for safe levels of radioactive substances in food. Tap water in Tokyo was declared not safe for consumption after the accident, although the government has since stated otherwise. Nevertheless, if travelling with children it is advisable to take precautions. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare website (www.mhlw.go.jp) has updates on contamination levels in tested food. In other parts of Japan, food and drink are generally considered safe.

    Only eat raw fish, seafood and meat from recognised establishments, and be aware that there is a risk of parasitic infection and toxins if these foods have not been prepared properly. E-coli food poisoning outbreaks tend to occur in Japan during the warmer months (June-September), and it is advisable to take precautions when consuming perishable foods at outdoor summer festivals, where refrigeration may be an issue.

    Other Risks

    You should make sure you are up to date with routine vaccinations. Influenza and measles epidemics have occurred in recent years and precautions should be taken. Tuberculosis and hepatitis B occur and vaccination is sometimes advised. Typhus occurs in some river valleys. Japanese encephalitis may occur. Vaccination is recommended for long-term travel (greater than one month) in rural areas. All normal precautions should also be exercised to avoid exposure to sexually-transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

    If spending prolonged periods outdoors during the summer months when heat and humidity can be extreme, make sure to have plenty of fluids on hand to avoid dehydration and wear hats and other protective clothing to avoid heatstroke.

    Contractual physician of Lufthansa

    Dr. Seez, Peter
    Tokyo Medical & Surgical Clinic
    Mori Bldg. 32 / 3-4-30 Shiba-koen
    Minato-ku
    Tokyo 105
    Japan
    Tel. +81-3-34363028

    Please note that Lufthansa accepts no responsibility for the treatment nor will it bear the cost of any treatment.
    Good to know

    Visa & Immigration

    IATA Travel Centre

    The IATA Travel Centre delivers accurate passport, visa and health requirement information at a glance. It is a trusted, centralized source for the latest international travel requirements. The IATA Travel Centre is the most accurate source available because it is based on a comprehensive database used by virtually every airline, and information is gathered from official sources worldwide, such as immigration and police authorities.

    IATA Travel CentreIATA Travel Centre

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