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Tokyo 東京 Travel Tips

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Tokyo (東京) is the capital and largest city in Japan. Officially known as Tokyo Metropolis, it is counted as one of the 47 prefectures of the country. The city - which is in fact a metropolis of many cities - has the largest metropolitan economy in the world, with a total GDP of US$1.479 trillion as of 2008. Tokyo Metropolis is located on the eastern coast of Honshu and includes the Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands. Tokyo Metropolis was formed in 1943 with the merger of the former Tokyo Prefecture with the City of Tokyo. It is the largest metropolitan area in Japan and the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, a large metropolitan area in the Kanto Region.

Tokyo, JapanA view of Tokyo, Japan (5 April, 2007)

Tourist Attractions of Tokyo

Department Stores in Tokyo

Tokyo Subway System

Special Wards of Tokyo Metropolis

Neighbourhoods of Central Tokyo

Cities in Tokyo Metropolis

National Parks of Tokyo

  1. Meiji no Mori Takao Quasi-National Park
  2. Ogasawara National Park
  3. Ueno Park

Outlying Parts of Tokyo

  1. Nishitama District
  2. Izu Islands
  3. Ogasawara Islands

Tokyo Metropolis has a population of over 13 million people (2011 estimate) while the Greater Tokyo Area has a population of 36 million people. The core and most populous part of Tokyo Metropolis is composed of 23 municipalities known as Special Wards. These are like cities within the Tokyo Metropolis. The Tokyo Metropolis is a very safe place for foreign visitors to explore. Although it appears mind boggling at first glance - and its sheer size may appear daunting, if you take a little time to get to know Tokyo bit by bit, you will become more familiar with it, and be better prepared to explore it on your own.

Ginza, TokyoGinza, Tokyo (4 April, 2007)

Climate of Tokyo

Tokyo Metropolis experiences the humid subtropical climate, with hot humid summers and mild winters with cool spells. January and February are the coldest months, with daily mean temperature of around 5.8°C (42.4°F) in January and 6.1°C (43°F) in February. The warmest months are July and August, when daily mean temperature rises to 25.4°C (77.7°F) in July and 27.1°C (80.8°F) in August. September is the wettest month, with precipitation of 208.5 mm (8.2 in).

Tokyo on Google Maps Street View

Visting Tokyo

By Plane
Narita International Airport (NRT) is the main international gateway for Tokyo. It is about 70 kilometers from downtown Tokyo. To get out of the airport, you have a few options:

  1. The most convenient is the limousine bus which goes to all major hotels in Tokyo. The fare is ¥3000 and the journey takes roughly 2 hours.
  2. The cheapest option is to take the Keisei Limited Express train. It goes to Nippori/Ueno station, and costs only ¥1000 for the 80-minute ride.
  3. The fastest option is to take the Narita Express. It reaches Tokyo Station in the heart of the metropolis, in 55 minutes, and costs ¥2940.
  4. Without a doubt the most expensive option is to take a taxi. You can go airport-to-door anywhere in Tokyo, but the privilege will cost you ¥30,000.
For more details, read Arriving in Tokyo.

By Train
The Shinkansen bullet train connects Tokyo Station in Chiyoda to other cities in Japan including Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka.

Tokyo TowerView of Tokyo Tower from its base (4 April, 2007)

Getting around in Tokyo

The easiest way to explore Tokyo is by taking the subway. The lines converge on the Subway Map like a mass of spaghetti, but once you get used to it, it is certainly the easiest way to move about in Tokyo.

If you are going to use the subway frequently, I recommend you get the stored-value cards. There are in fact two types, Suico and PASMO, but they are functionally interchangeable. You pay a ¥500 deposit plus a stored value of up to ¥20,000.

In addition to the stored value cards, you can also buy special subway tickets that allow unlimited rides. However most of these are not worth getting unless you expect to spend much of your time on the train.

For more details about traveling in Japan, read about the Japan Rail Pass. Imperial Palace, TokyoPine trees on the grounds of the Imperial Palace (4 April, 2007)

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