Prepare well to ensure vibrant Tokyo isn’t lost in translation

Tokyo at night
I am spending some time travelling this year and my first stop is Tokyo. I have always wanted to go to Japan but I am not sure what I should see first. Can you suggest the most important things for me to do and also some places to stay?

I am spending some time travelling this year and my first stop is Tokyo. I have always wanted to go to Japan but I am not sure what I should see first. Can you suggest the most important things for me to do and also some places to stay?

Japan’s capital is a vibrant and exciting city and is a brilliant place to begin your time travelling. While Tokyo offers a diverse range of cultural splendours, it can seem slightly overwhelming to the unprepared visitor.

Mori Arts Centre in Roppongi is the ideal place to start your sightseeing. The 52nd floor observatory offers 360-degree views of the city and is a brilliant place to get your bearings and take in this expansive city. The Mori Arts Centre is also home to some of the country’s best modern art exhibitions.

On a sunny day, Ueno Park in the centre of the city is the place to go. The park was originally part of the Kaneiji Temple, one of the city’s largest and wealthiest temples. Famous for the many museums on its grounds; Tokyo National Museum, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum and the National Science Museum are just some of those found within its walls. Ueno Park is also home to a vast number of shrines and temples and is the perfect place to fully immerse yourself in Japanese culture.

The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, which are open to the public, are a beautiful place to while away an afternoon. The wide lawns, ruins of Edo Castle and the guardhouses that are spread throughout the Kokyo Higashi Gyoen give visitors a sense of the rich history of Japan and its heritage. The inner palace is still the official residence of the Japanese Emperor and only opens to the public on January 2nd and the Emperor’s birthday in December.

Traditional Japanese cuisine offers a large variety of dishes and regional specialities. However, Tokyo offers an array of dining experiences taking inspiration from around the world. For traditional cuisine with a modern twist, Kozue on the 40th floor of the Park Hyatt Hotel is one of the city’s finest dining options. The restaurant offers breathtaking views across the city and booking a table by the window is a must!

If you’re a movie buff, the hotel was also the setting for Lost in Translation starring Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray.

If you have a taste for sushi, a visit to Sushi Mizutani will not disappoint. The single counter where Hachiro Mizutani serves up his creations allows you to see a master chef at work. To ensure you get one of the 10 seats available, you really must book in advance. For something more familiar, Argento Aso in the heart of Ginza serves up a slice of Italy in Tokyo.

Tokyo’s nightlife is world-renowned and there is definitely no shortage of bars and clubs in the city. Bar High Five is an understated yet atmospheric low-lit bar which is famous for its cocktails. Drinks are served up with care and precision and with no menu, owner Hidetsugu Ueno and his staff take pride in being able to tell what their customers want to drink. If you are more of a beer lover, Goodbeer Faucets is the place to go.

With over 40 microbrews on tap, there is something for everyone in this spacious in Shibuya.

Where to Stay:

The Capitol Hotel Tokyo

Prices start from €369 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking.

This five-star hotel is close to many of the city’s amenities and attractions including the Tokyo Imperial Palace and Tokyo Tower. The hotel has a full-service spa, indoor pool and health club. Complementary internet access is available throughout the hotel. Guest rooms have views of the city and are fully air conditioned. Services available on request include turndown service and in-room massage.

Hilton Tokyo

Prices start from €202 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking.

Overlooking Shinjuku Central Park, the Hilton is elegantly decorated and offers seven inviting bars and restaurants. The hotel is also directly connected to Tochomae Subway Station. Guests can enjoy the hotel amenities and services including roof top tennis courts, beauty salon and numerous shops within the hotel itself. Rooms include air conditioning and LCD televisions.

Hotel New Otani Tokyo

Prices start from €181 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking.

Located in downtown Tokyo, Hotel New Otani is located close to the Ginza shopping district, Meiji Shrine and Imperial Palace. The hotel spans two connected buildings and encompasses a convenience store, a conference centre and over 100 boutiques and shops. The hotel includes an outdoor and indoor pool and a full-service spa. All rooms have complimentary wireless internet and flat-panel televisions.

Keio Plaza

Prices start from €173 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking.

Keio Plaza is located just five blocks from Shinjuku Station, across the street from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, sauna and fitness centre. A hair salon and beauty services are also part of the hotels amenities. Keio Plaza has a restaurant, bar/lounge and café on site for guest’s enjoyment. High-speed internet is available throughout the hotel. Rooms include air conditioning and minibars.

For more information and travel tips on planning your holiday visit www.hotels.com or call 1800 55 3338 to wake up happy on your holiday!