Travellers are always looking for clever tips. They not only want to see a city or port, but they want to see the best of what that city or port has to offer. From upscale restaurants and local dives to advice on navigating congested cities or planning cruises, holiday seekers, although they fancy themselves explorers, like it when travel critics hold their hand through the trip.
Of course, this is especially true when it comes to certain places around the globe, and it becomes particularly pertinent when there is a language barrier. The Smart Traveller’s Passport is a book of tips. Before you book a tour to an unfamiliar place like Japan, perhaps you should do a little light reading.
Tokyo: Bright Lights, Big City
Tokyo is sprawling, neon lit and more futuristic than most cities around the globe. It is an inimitable fusion of 21st century technology and ancient traditions, and the 12 million people walking the streets make Tokyo one of the most crowded places in the world. Where else can find both bullet trains and ancient Buddhist temples? It is these types of stark juxtapositions that make Tokyo a one of a kind city.
Traditional sightseeing highlights include the Imperial Place Plaza and Asakusa Kannon Buddhist Temple. However, the best way to see Tokyo is to explore. On one city block, you will find skyscrapers and a barrage of Time Square like media screens, while on the next you will find elegant, formal gardens and Shinto shrines. Tokyo is an immense city. The best way to get around is to utilize its public transport system.
Japan’s Market Culture
Yukari Sakamoto is the writer of a food guidebook called Food Sake Tokyo. It is a handy book to have on you when you are navigating the food stalls of Tokyo’s many markets. There are over 1,000 stalls in Tokyo’s Tsukiji market. In other words, you are going to need a little help navigating this monstrous emporium. Fatty tuna, sea urchin, wasabi, sushi, the vendors in the market hawk all of Japan’s best delicacies. While there are plenty of fine dining restaurants in Tokyo, there is nothing that trumps sampling the culinary treats in the Tsukiji Market.
Lost in Translation
When you plan your trip to Japan, make sure there is no chance that anything will get lost in translation. The best way to enjoy your holiday tour is to schedule a mix of independent and guided excursions. Travelling to a mysterious place like Japan can be daunting, but you will never forget tenacious Tokyo!