The architects design network for Asia - Australia Bangladesh Cambodia China Hong Kong India Indonesia Japan Korea Laos Malaysia Myanmar New Zealand Philippines Sri Lanka Singapore Taiwan Thailand Tibet Vietnam
asia.gif (1869 bytes)

I construction I design I engineer I products I

head00.gif (4090 bytes)

ch1.gif (448 bytes)ch2.gif (1494 bytes) 



TOKYO: Its noise, lights and crush of people may well leave the first-time visitor reeling. However, glittering, upscale Ginza and teeming, commercial Shinjuku are only two of the 23 wards, or ku, making up this immense, sprawling city. In this metropolis there are also tranquil places�tiny neighborhood shrines shrouded in foliage, quiet cobbled lanes and parks. They evoke the harmony, scale and sense of stillness that the Japanese have prized for centuries.

Where to Stay

Although they tend to be expensive by international standards, Tokyo hotels are among the best in the world. They may be classified as either international (Western style) or efficiency (business). You�re likely to come into contact with only the first during your stay in Tokyo. The efficiency hotels, called �business hotels� by the Japanese, cater almost exclusively to Japanese businesspeople. These generally have very small rooms, limited services and little or no English-speaking staff. (A factor to consider before deciding to stay in a business hotel is the degree of prestige sought by you and your company. Your Japanese counterparts may expect you to stay in one of the top-class international hotels, not in a business hotel where their salespeople stay. It may seem pretentious to stay somewhere expensive simply for this reason, but in Japan, as in the rest of Asia, �face� can be important.)

Traditional Japanese inns (ryokans) are not as a rule found in Tokyo. Almost exclusively patronized by middle- and upper-class Japanese, they�re found more typically in the countryside, small cities and towns. Little English is spoken, but that�s starting to change. The rates can be astronomical for the more luxurious ones (ranging from �20,000-�40,000 per person), which include a private Japanese-style room (where you sleep on futons on tatami mats). You receive breakfast (usually Japanese style: fish, rice, miso soup, eggs, pickles) and sometimes an elaborate Japanese dinner. To experience a ryokan, we suggest Tawaraya�an outstanding example�in Kyoto (two-and-a-half hours away by bullet train).

All the better hotels have a concierge desk where the staffpeople speak English. They are paid to know everything a tourist may potentially want to know. Look to the concierge for information on where to find anything�from a doctor to a disco.

Following is a sampling of Western-style accommodations recommended by our correspondents; it is not intended to be a comprehensive list. Always check for special rates that may be in effect.


With the way traffic can be around Tokyo, it�s not a bad idea to book a room near the airport for your last night in town, saving you a great deal of rush and worry on the morning of your departure. The two hotels listed are located 5-10 minutes from the airport and have shuttle-bus service.

Near Narita Airport

ANA Hotel Narita�Comfortable, spacious facility with sleek lobby, restaurants, lounge, fitness rooms. (We should mention that it�s the public areas that are spacious; the rooms themselves will seem small by Western standards.) Meeting facilities for 270. Extremely popular. Single room �14,000 and up. 68 Horinouchi, Narita, phone 0476-33-1311, fax 0476-33-0244.

Hotel Nikko Narita�Ten minutes from the airport. Top-floor restaurant and pool. Meeting facilities for 200. Single room �12,000 plus tax and service charge, but special discount rates for those flying on Japan Airlines. 500 Tokko, Narita, phone 0476-32-0032, fax 0476-32-3993.

Near Haneda Airport and Yokohama

Both of these hotels are 45 minutes to an hour from Haneda by airport bus.

Royal Park Hotel Nikko�A relatively new hotel atop Japan�s tallest building, the Landmark Tower. This unique hostelry occupies the 52nd through 67th floors of the Tower. With magnificent views of Tokyo Bay and Mt. Fuji, swimming pool and fitness center, the Royal Park is a good choice. Single room (called �double� for one double bed) �25,000 and up. Conference facilities accommodate 1,000. 1-1-1 Minato Mirai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama, phone 045-221-1111, fax 045-224-5153.

Yokohama Grand Inter-Continental Hotel�Located in the historic port of Yokohama, next to the Yokohama Convention Center, this hotel offers an indoor pool and health club, Jacuzzi, fitness room, sauna and massage. Meeting space for 250. Single room �26,500 and up. 1-1-1 Minato Mirai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama, phone 045-223-2222, fax 045-221-0650.


There are several hundred hotels to choose from in Tokyo. Nearly all international (Western-style) hotels offer 24-hour room service, fully equipped business centers and other amenities you�d expect in any topflight hotel. And there are two other features you�re going to like about staying in Tokyo: The staff is never, but never, surly. They will always bend over backward to help you at any time of the day or night. And nobody expects a tip.

Hotel Okura�One of the very best hotels in Tokyo�luxurious, with the subtle charm and nuance of Japanese tradition. Centrally located across from the U.S. Embassy and near the business districts. Well-equipped business center. In-room fax and modem outlets, and a splendid Japanese garden. Will accommodate up to 1,300 people for meetings. Single room �32,000 and up. 2-10-4 Toranomon, Minato-ku, phone 3582-0111, fax 3582-3034.

Hilltop Hotel�A nice hotel with Old World charm near the center of the city (Ochanomizu Station) in the university district. The Hilltop has long been a choice of artists and writers. Meeting facilities for 100. Single room �7,000 and up. 1-1 Kanda Surugadai 1-chome, Chiyoda-ku, phone 3293-2311, fax 3233-4567.

Palace Hotel�It sits tucked along the moat of the Imperial Palace. With wonderful views of the Imperial Palace, an imperial garden and impeccable service. Will accommodate 650 for conferences. Single room �23,000 and up. 1-1-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, phone 3211-5211, fax 3211-6987.

Hotel Seiyo Ginza�One of the most uniquely styled, intimate luxury hotels in Asia, exclusive and expensive. Each room has its own individual design, color scheme and layout. It�s an oasis of tranquillity amidst the world-famous Ginza, in the heart of Tokyo�s fashion district. Meeting facilities for 120, limousine service. Single room �48,000 and up. 1-11-2 Ginza, Chuo-ku, phone 3535-1111, fax 3535-1110.

The Westin Tokyo�Perhaps Tokyo�s most dynamic hotel, located in the center of dramatic Yebisu Garden Place, the headquarters of many multinational firms. Space abounds here, with the largest standard rooms in the city and 25 acres/10 hectares of landscaped gardens, promenades, shops and cultural spaces. Beautiful neoclassical interiors, meeting space for up to 600. �30,000 and up. 1-4-1 Mita, Meguro-ku, phone 5423-7000, fax 5423-7772.

Park Hyatt Tokyo�One of the newest and most luxurious sites. Very private atmosphere, on the 45th to 52nd floors of a tall, futuristic building. Library, indoor pool, fully equipped exercise room. Ten minutes� walk from bustling Shinjuku. �37,000 and up. 3-7-1-2 Nishi-Shinjuku, phone 5322-1234, fax 5322-1288.


Sheraton Grand Tokyo Bay Hotel & Towers�A city resort and tower hotel set on 2.5 acres/1 hectare of landscaped gardens near the gates of Disneyland, with views of Tokyo Bay and Mickey�s world. Indoor/outdoor pool and tennis courts, simulation golf, racquetball and running track make it a workout fanatic�s dream. Can accommodate up to 700 at a conference. Single or double occupancy �33,000 and up. 1-9 Maihama, Urayasu, Chiba, phone 0473-55-5555, fax 0473-55-5566.

Tokyo Bay Hilton�The official hotel of Tokyo Disneyland. On Tokyo Bay, adjacent to Disneyland with indoor/outdoor pool, health club, squash and tennis courts. Huge conference facilities�for up to 2,000. Single room �26,000 and up. 1-8 Maihama, Urayasu, Chiba, phone 0473-55-5000, fax 0473-55-5019.


Hotel New Otani Makuhari�Located next to the Makuhari Convention Center, 30 minutes from Narita and close to Disneyland. Business center, sports club, swimming and tennis. Meeting facilities for 900. Single room �17,000 and up. 2-2 Hibino, Mihama-ku, Chiba, phone 043-297-7777, fax 043-297-7788.

Makuhari Prince Hotel�Also located near the convention center, a single room costs �15,000 but discounts are available during summertime. Can handle events up to 3,000, depending on required seating and facilities. Outdoor pool (summer only). 2-3 Hibno, Mihama-ku, Chiba, phone 043-296-1111, fax 043-275-0977.


Staying well fed in Japan can be an expensive proposition, but it doesn�t have to be: If menu prices shock you, you can always stop at a noodle shop for a tasty and filling meal of udon (white wheat noodle) or soba (buckwheat). Yakitori (skewered chicken) from the outdoor food stands are a must if your visit is during warm weather. They are found underneath the elevated train tracks, a little south of Yurakucho Station, near the Imperial Hotel. While you can get by on cheap eats, we think you�ll want to plan at least a few meals at sit-down restaurants.

One of these should include fresh sushi. There are literally thousands of places to eat sushi in Tokyo. According to locals, the quality of a sushi shop can be gauged by how crowded it is, so stay away from places that are nearly empty. Other traditional dishes are sukiyaki, shabu-shabu (thinly sliced beef dipped in broth) and tempura (deep fried seafood and vegetables).

Tokyo is also famous for its beer gardens�nighttime rooftop restaurants open during the summer months. Guests guzzle down beer and munch on fried snacks as the sun goes down over the city and the skyline lights up. Almost all of the department stores in Tokyo have beer gardens.

Don�t expect to find decaffeinated coffee in Japan, and the real stuff is brewed extra strong. For dessert, green tea ice cream is a delicious treat, and one of the best versions is actually made by Haagen-Dazs.

When you enter a Japanese eatery, you�ll be happy to discover that the language barrier that makes Tokyo so perplexing at times is not a big problem in restaurants�many have plastic displays of menu items for you to point at. Use the moist towelette you�re given to clean your hands (and face) before the meal. And although strange and wondrous things will be presented to you during the course of a Japanese meal, you�ll undoubtedly do just long as you realize that the bowl of hot liquid presented at the conclusion of the meal is a light broth to clear the palate, not a finger bowl. Use chopsticks for Japanese food and Western cutlery for Western food. Don�t jab at your hamburger with chopsticks�you�ll look ridiculous!

Few restaurants are open for breakfast in Tokyo. If you order an �American� or �Western� breakfast, you�ll be looking at a lot of eggs. Be adventurous and try a traditional Japanese breakfast, with sticky rice, fish and miso soup. At minimum, you�ll enjoy the presentation.

Restaurants generally serve lunch from 11 or 11:30 am to 2 or 2:30 pm and dinner from 5 to 9 or 10 pm. Few restaurants remain open during the midafternoon. Last orders must be placed 30 minutes prior to closing.

In our selections below, we�ve looked for value, and our recommendations include many restaurants serving high-quality food that is�by Japanese standards�reasonably priced for what you�re getting. However, eating establishments in Tokyo are constantly opening, closing or being renovated�especially in the current economy. Don�t hestitate to ask the concierge of your hotel for suggestions. Also, it�s best to ask the concierge or front desk staff to make restaurant reservations for you, because English is spoken infrequently in the restaurant business.


Ukai Toriyama�Though not exactly in town, this is a beautiful restaurant in a setting quintessentially Japanese. It�s deep in the green hills about 90 minutes from downtown. Guests are led to very private tatami rooms with magnificent views of carp ponds and a neatly trimmed Japanese garden. Delicious and filling dinners (�4,500-�8,500) of chicken or steak grilled on a hibachi. Open daily 11 am-8 pm. Reservations only. Most major credit cards. Minamiasakawa-cho, Hachioji-shi. (Courtesy bus service from Keio Takao Station. From downtown, take JR Chuo line to Hachioji Station and change to Keio Takao line.) Phone 0426-61-0739.

Wako�A good source for traditional Japanese food (kaiseki ). Many small dishes of superb Japanese delicacies. Open for lunch noon-3 pm, dinner 6-9 pm. Reservations necessary. Lunch �15,000-�25,000; dinner �20,000-�40,000. Closed Sundays and holidays. Cash only. 16-3 Mejiro, Toshima-ku (seven minutes from Mejiro Station on the JR Yamanote Loop line), phone 3982-2251.

Hoshigaoka-Saryo�Try this venue for kaiseki, a set meal that shows off Japanese cuisine at its best. It combines taste, decoration and presentation in a memorable meal. Open daily for lunch 11:30 am-2 pm, for dinner 5:30-8:30 pm. Reservations recommended. Lunch �1,500-�5,000, dinner around �8,000. Most major credit cards accepted. 1-26-2 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku 163-05 (near Shinjuku Station, JR Yamanote Loop line), phone 3344-4011.

New Tokyo Takao�This is where you go to try shabu-shabu, a fondue of thinly sliced beef or pork cooked in a boiling stock with bean curd and mushrooms and eaten in a vinegar sauce. Open daily 11:30 am-9 pm. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner are the same menu: �3,000-�16,000. Most major credit cards accepted. 2-2-3 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku (near Yurakucho Station on the JR Yamanote Loop line), phone 3575-4800.

Tableaux�A mouthwatering international menu with a European influence. Sensational decor. Open every day for dinners only, 5:30-11 pm. Reservations. �6,000-�8,000. Most major credit cards. Sunroser Daikanyama Building, B1, 11-6 Sarugaku-cho, Shibuya-ku, phone 5489-2201.


Roy�s Aoyama Bar and Grill�This restaurant classifies itself as Pan-Pacific. Serves up �borderless hybrid cuisine,� not from any particular country but with a distinctly European base. Cozy interior with lots of dark wood paneling, reminiscent of tropical eateries of old. Well stocked bar with many original cocktails. Lunch 11:30 am-2:30 pm, dinner 5:45-10 pm. Lunch around �1,500; dinner �7,000. Most major credit cards accepted. Riviera Minami Aoyama Building, 1F, 3-3-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku (near Gaienmai Station, Ginza subway line), phone 5474-8181.

Rojack�Asian cuisine using organic ingredients. Menu changes daily but the curries are highly recommended. Interior is a colonial style from a century ago. Lunch noon-3 pm, dinner 6-11 pm. Reservations recommended. Lunch around �1,200; dinner �5,000. Most major credit cards accepted. 6-3-14 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku (near Omote-sando Station, Chiyoda, Ginza and Hanzomon subway lines), phone 3409-6764.

New York Grill�Considered one of the most exciting new restaurants in Tokyo. It is located on the top (52nd) floor of the Park Hyatt Hotel in Shinjuku, and the view from every window is spectacular, especially at night. As the name suggests, the restaurant offers a selection of food that you�d find in a top New York restaurant�from grilled steaks to lobster dishes�but the menu changes constantly. Tall ceilings and a modern, art-deco interior make for a dramatic setting for lunch, dinner or drinks. Expensive but worth it. Lunch 11 am-2:30 pm, dinner 5-10:30 pm. Reservations are highly recommended. Lunch around �4,500; dinner �10,000-�15,000. Most major credit cards accepted. The Park Hyatt is about a 10-minute walk from JR Shinjuku Station, phone 5323-3458.


Matsuya�Try this place for soba (thin, long homemade buckwheat noodles in a mild stock). A giant bowl of noodles in a thick soup for lunch or dinner will cost about �1,000. Cash only. No reservations. Open 11 am-8 pm every day except Sunday. 1-13 Kandasudacho, Chiyoda-ku, phone 3251-1556.

Tsunahachi�A chain of reasonably priced, excellent restaurants that serve tempura (deep-fried vegetables and seafood). Daily 11 am-10 pm. Set lunch and dinner, �1,500-�4,000. Most major credit cards accepted. Ask your hotel�s front desk or concierge for the nearest location.

Heirokuzushi�Sushi on the run (actually, sushi on a conveyor belt!). You sit at a counter encircling the chefs and pick sushi plates from those going around. Each plate costs �120-�240. Heirokuzushi is one of the oldest and biggest chains of kaiten (round and round) restaurants. Ask at your hotel for the one nearest you, or stroll on Omote-sando and stop by the very popular one at 5-8-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku (five minutes from Omote-sando Station on the Ginza or Hanzomon subway line). It�s open daily 11 am-8:50 pm. Phone 3498-3968.

Asakusa, Owariya-Shiten�Since 1860, this place has been famous for its soba noodle soup with the huge shrimp tempuras on top. Watch everybody gasp when the food is brought in! 11:30 am-8 pm, closed Wednesdays. �1,100. Cash only. 1-1-3 Asakusa, Taito-ku (one minute from Asakusa Station on the Ginza line), phone 3841-8780.

Nambantei�All kinds of yakitori (chicken) are grilled right before your eyes. Traditional Japanese decor. Open every day for dinner only, 5-10:30 pm. �3,000-�5,000. Most major credit cards. 4-5-6 Roppongi, Minato-ku, phone 3402-0606.

YasukoOden is a stew of fish cakes, vegetables, fried tofu and seafood, simmered in flavorful stock in a big, flat copper pan. Just point and choose a few delicacies and eat them with a dab of fiery mustard, washed down with warm sake. Each piece ranges from �300-�1,000. Open daily 4-11 pm. No credit cards. 5-4-6 Ginza, Chuo-ku, phone 3571-0621.

Tonki�Great tonkatsu (big, juicy pork cutlet). This place is so popular you may have to wait in line a few minutes�but it�s worth it. 4-10:45 pm, closed Tuesdays. �2,000-�3,000. No credit cards. 1-1-2 Shimo Meguro, Meguro-ku, phone 3491-9928.

Izakaya New Tokyo Well�An appropriate place for yakitori�every part of the chicken cooked over a charcoal brazier. Open 11:30 am-3 pm and 4:30-11 pm, closed Sundays and holidays. No reservations. �2,000-�10,000. Most major credit cards accepted. NKI Building, B1, 2-23 Gobancho, Chiyoda-ku, phone 3265-8595.

Ninniku-Ya�A favorite of Tokyoites for its exotic, garlic-spiced food and huge servings. 5-11 pm daily except Sundays and holidays. No reservations. About �4,000. Cash only. 1-26-12 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, phone 3446-5887.

Hassan�This restaurant serves high-quality shabu-shabu (paper-thin slices of beef, vegetables and noodles dipped in soup and eaten with condiments), as well as sushi. Both shabu-shabu and sushi are all-you-can-eat. Hours change frequently, but roughly they�re 11:30-3 pm, 5-11 pm. �5,300. No credit cards. 6-1-20 Roppongi, Minato-ku, phone 3403-8333.


L�Incontro Trattoria�Serves traditional Italian dishes. Lunch 11:30 am-3 pm, dinner 5:30-9 pm. Closed Sundays and holidays. Reservations recommended. Lunch �900-�3,500. Dinner �3,800-�5,000. Most major credit cards accepted. Kami Pulp Kaikan Building, B1, 3-9-11 Ginza, Chuo-ku (near the Ginza Station on the orange Ginza subway line), phone 3248-4881.

Hotel De Mikuni�An exquisite French restaurant in a homelike setting. Reservations suggested. Lunch �6,500-�11,000, dinner �15,000. Tuesday-Sunday noon-1:30 pm, Tuesday-Saturday 6-9 pm. Most major credit cards accepted. 1-18 Wakaba, Shinjuku-ku, phone 3351-3810.

The Aegean�Authentic Greek dining�the place to get moussaka in Tokyo. Open every evening for dinner only, 5:30-11:30 pm. No reservations needed. About �5,000. Most major credit cards accepted. Oriental Building, B1, 3-18-3 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku (near Shibuya Station on the orange Ginza subway line), phone 3407-1783.

Luncheon Aoyama�An American-style bistro with an international cuisine. Reservations suggested. Lunch �1,200-�2,500, dinner around �6,000. Daily 11:30 am-2:30 pm, 5:30-10 pm (Sunday till 9 pm). Most major credit cards accepted. 1-2-5 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, phone 5466-1398.


Many Chinese and Korean restaurants are scattered throughout the city.

New Peking�Satisfies a craving for traditional Chinese. Reservations recommended. Daily 11 am-9 pm. Lunch �2,000-�6,000, dinner around �8,000. Most major credit cards accepted. Hilltop Hotel (Yamanoue), 1 Kanda Surugadai 1-chome, Chiyoda-ku, phone 3293-2311.

Moti�Good Indian restaurant, reasonably priced. Daily 11:30 am-10 pm. Lunch �1,000-�2,000, dinner �3,000-�5,000. Most major credit cards accepted. 3-8-8 Akasaka, Minato-ku, phone 3584-3760.

Bougainvillea�A cozy, little Vietnamese restaurant. The food is great, so the place is always crowded. Lunch (Saturday and Sunday only) 11:30 am-3 pm, dinner 5-10:30 pm. Lunch around �1,500, dinner �3,500. Most major credit cards accepted. Romani Building, 2F, 2-25-9 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku (a few minutes� walk from Shibuya Station), phone 3496-5537.

Saimon�Gooey-good Chinese food. Open Monday-Friday 11 am-2:30 pm, 5-10:30 pm; Saturday noon-10 pm; Sundays noon-9:30 pm. No reservations. Lunch is a smorgasbord for about �1,000, dinner about �3,000. Most major credit cards accepted. Mitsuya Yotsuya Building, 2F, 2-14 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku (near Yotsuya Sanchome Station on the red Marunouchi subway line), phone 3355-6906.


Healthy-Kan�For vegetarian and health-food fare, jog over to Healthy-Kan. No reservations needed. 11:30 am-2:30 pm and 4:30-9 pm, closed Sundays and holidays. Lunch and dinner both �1,200-�1,600. Cash only. Asahirokubancho Mansion, 2F, 4 Rokubancho, Chiyoda-ku 102, phone 3263-4023.

Coffee Shops�There are thousands of coffee shops in Tokyo. On nearly every street corner and in every large building, they offer about the only place to sit down and rest awhile. A cup of American (weaker) or regular (stronger) coffee normally runs �350-�800; sometimes refills are free. Coffee shops usually offer a set breakfast (normally thick buttered toast) and a bargain set lunch for about �800-�1,000. In a coffee shop chain such as Pronto, you can get good coffee (cheap at �160-�180) and a decent pastry (�200-�250), though you may wind up standing if all the stools are taken.


Prices are relatively high, so there aren�t that many foreign tourists. Most people who go to Tokyo do so to do business, not to see the sights. As a result, attractions cater to the local citizenry: Most signs and information booklets are in Japanese (though that is changing), food and snacks tend to be Japanese in taste, and there are few if any English-speaking staff. Call the Japan Travel Phone at 0120-44-4800 toll free (or 3201-3331) for up-to-date information in English.


You can walk around the perimeter of the historic Imperial Palace, but the residence of the Emperor of Japan is out of sight behind a moat, high walls and trees. The grounds are open on two days only: the Emperor�s birthday (23 December) and 2 January. Closest subway stations are Nijubashimae (Chiyoda Line) and Sakuradamon (Yurakucho Line).

The best strolling in Tokyo can be found in the serenity of the Meiji Shrine, a famous Shinto shrine dedicated to the Emperor who ruled Japan during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The shrine is surrounded by a lovely park that also has an Iris Garden that blooms magnificently from late June to early July. A small museum displaying treasures belonging to the late emperor is also located on the grounds. A mob of several million people visits the shrine during the first days of the new year. Festivals are held there in May and November. In Harajuku, next to JR Harajuku Station and Meijijingumae subway station (Chiyoda Line).

If you�ve got the shopping bug or just want to see it for yourself, head to the Ginza, Tokyo�s version of 5th Avenue, in the heart of the city. It�s most active between noon and 6 pm Sunday. Get off at the Ginza subway station, served by several lines. Any day of the week you can get a good view of the city center from atop the Tokyo Tower (modeled after the Eiffel Tower, only taller and made of less steel). Get off at Kamiyacho subway station (Hibiya Line).

High-rises abound in the Shinjuku. For another good view of the city, head over to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office Building. From the 45th floor, you can take in the city from two spacious observation rooms. Photos with specific landmarks labeled are posted below the windows, pointing out exactly what you�re seeing in the cityscape. On most days, Mt. Fuji is obscured by haze. No admission charge, but the coffee shops with their tasty snacks will part you from your yen.

For those interested in the spiritual side of life, visit Asakusa Kannon Temple. Dedicated to the Buddhist deity of mercy and compassion, the temple is one of the most popular sights in Tokyo. The smoke from its incense cauldron is said to be beneficial to health when rubbed on the body. A three-day Sanja Festival is held at the temple in the spring. Be sure to take your camera along. Get off at Asakusa Station on the Ginza or Asakusa subway lines.

The Gokokuji Temple is a less well-known, traditional Bhuddist temple, dating back to the 1600s. It�s located in north-central Tokyo. If you happen to be in the city on New Year�s Eve, and you don�t mind standing in line in the cold, you�ll get to be one of the lucky few who literally ring in the new year. The temple is next to the Gokokuji subway station (Yurakucho Line).


Tokyo has many fine museums, most of them open 10 am-5 pm daily except Mondays or the day after a national holiday. The entrance fee to most museums runs between �600 and �1,200. Check listings in The Japan Times or call ahead. These are just some of the varied museums in this city.

Edo-Tokyo Museum is the newest and one of the best historical museums, depicting life in Tokyo from the 17th century through the end of World War II. Highly recommended. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10 am-6 pm (Thursday and Friday until 8 pm). Closed 28 December-4 January. �600 adults, �300 schoolchildren. 1-4-1 Yokoami, Sumida-ku (three minutes from Ryogoku Station on JR Sobu line), phone 3626-9974.

Fukagawa Edo Museum looks at life during the Edo period (19th century). Also highly recommended. Open 9:30 am-5 pm daily except for occasional and irregular maintenance days (several days a month); be sure to call first. �300 adults, �50 children under age 14. 1-3-28 Shirakawa, Koto-ku (15 minutes from Monzen-Nakacho Station on the light blue Tozai subway line), phone 3630-8625.

The Tokyo National Museum is the nation�s largest display of Japanese history and culture, with more than 100,000 treasured artifacts and artworks. Exhibits include Chinese and Indian art as well. Open Tuesday-Sunday 9:30 am-4:30 pm (April-September, open until 7:30 pm). �420 adults, �130 children. 13-9 Ueno Koen, Taito-ku, in Ueno Park (near Ueno Station on the JR Yamanote Loop line), phone 3822-1111.

Minka-En Open-Air Folk House Museum is a beautifully restored collection of 24 historical buildings relocated from all over Japan. It�s a nice day trip to the green hills just outside Tokyo and a bargain at �300. Open Tuesday-Sunday 9:30 am-4 pm. Take express train on Odakyu Odawara line from Shinjuku Station to Mukogaoka Yuen Station (20 minutes), then walk 15 minutes to Minka-En. 7-1-1 Masagata, Tama-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa, phone 044-922-2181.

Drum Museum Taikokan presents a hands-on exhibit of drums from around the world. Very small but interesting personal collection, housed upstairs in a traditional festival costume-and-instrument store in an old district of Asakusa. Open Wednesday-Sunday 10 am-5 pm. �300 adults, �150 children under age 12. 2-1-1 Nishi Asakusa, Taito-ku (Tawaramachi Station on the orange Ginza subway line), phone 3842-5622.

Visit the Japanese Sword Museum for a display of modern and ancient swords. Tuesday-Sunday 9 am-4 pm. �525 adults, �315 schoolchildren. 4-25-10 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku (Sangubashi-Odakyu Station, near Yoyogi Park on the private Odakyu Rail line), phone 3379-1386.

The National Museum of Modern Art, newly reopened, offers a collection of Japanese art created since the Meiji era (AD 1868-1912). Tuesday-Sunday 10 am-5 pm. �420 adults, �130 schoolchildren. The nearby Crafts Gallery displays Japanese handicrafts. 3 Kitanomaru Koen, Chiyoda-ku (two minutes from Takebashi Station on the light blue Tozai subway line), phone 3214-2561.

The Paper Museum displays the process and equipment used in hand-making Japanese paper. Tuesday-Sunday 10 am-5 pm. No one is admitted into the museum after 4:30 pm. Closed on national holidays. �300 adults, �150 children. Located near JR Oji Station (Keihin-Tohoku Line), phone 3916-2320.

The Doll Museum (Yokohama Ningyo no le) houses a large collection of Japanese dolls and dolls from 130 other countries�about 1,780 of them.Tuesday-Sunday 10 am-5 pm. �300 adults, �150 children under age 12. 18 Yamashitacho, Naka-ku (Ishikawacho Station on the blue JR Keihin-Tohoku line), phone 045-671-9361.


Tokyo, like other Japanese cities, has a shortage of public parks. However, one of the most beautiful parks in the world sits in the heart of the city: the Imperial Palace Grounds (open to the public on 2 January and 23 December only, and not to be missed if you�re in town). You can view its outskirts and some gardens most of the time.

Not too far from the east exit of Shinjuku Station are the Shinjuku Gardens. The sprawling tree-and-grass-covered park covers several acres and is a very pleasant place to spend an afternoon. There are several ponds, a tea house, a moon-viewing pavilion and a botanical garden. The closest subway station is Shinjuku-gyoenmae (Marunochi Line).

The other main public parks in Tokyo are these: Ueno Park, surrounding the Tokyo National Museum and Ueno (Tokyo) Zoo, encompassing temples, shrines and an aquarium and known as a prime cherry-blossom-viewing spot; the Japanese gardens of the Hama Rikyu Detached Palace Garden, along the Sumida River; Yoyogi Park, surrounding the Meiji Shrine; Rikugien Garden (bonsai pines and miniature landscapes); and the National Park for Nature Study (Kokuritsu Shizen Kyoikuen), south of the city center, for those who crave some untrimmed greenery.


For suggestions, see the Walking Tour Course in Tokyo booklet from the Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO). In the city, these will be available at the Tourist Information Center, Tokyo International Forum, 3-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku (near Yurakucho Station, JR Yamanote Loop line), phone 3201-3331, or their other office at Narita Airport (first floor, Terminal 2). From overseas you can secure information through any JNTO office.


There are numerous tours in and around Tokyo organized for foreign visitors, lasting anywhere from a half-day city tour to a several-day excursion into the countryside (highly recommended). Popular out-of-town destinations are Mount Fuji, the Hakone resort area and Nikko. Most tours operate every day. Prices range from about �5,000 for a tour around the city up to �15,000 for a tour to Nikko or similar destination. To arrange a tour, check with your hotel or contact the Japan Travel Bureau (JTB), with offices in many hotels (it has some 35 offices throughout the city). The JTB International Division is located at 5-5-2 Kiba, Koto-ku, phone 5620-9500.


Tokyo Disneyland is the top theme park in Asia and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. Tourists from other parts of the Far East come to Japan for the sole purpose of visiting Disneyland. The park offers many of the same attractions that you�d find in Disney parks in the U.S. or Europe. English is spoken by park staff, but many of the audio narrations are only in Japanese. Open every day 9 am-10 pm April-August and 10 am-6 pm September-March. (September-November it�s closed on Tuesdays, and December-February it�s closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays except holidays.) There are extended hours on holidays. Call to find out the schedule for the week. To get to Disneyland, take the light blue Tozai subway line to Urayasu Station and then the shuttle bus to the gates, or you can take the shuttle bus from Tokyo Station (about 35 minutes). Admission is �3,670 adults, �3,260 children ages 13-18, �2,550 children ages 4-12. Price for a �passport� that offers unlimited admission to rides is �5,200. Discounts are sometimes available. Phone 0473-54-0001.

Wild Blue Yokohama is an indoor beach complete with simulated waves and water slides. Very crowded on weekends. Open year round. Admission is �3,900 adults, �3,100 youth ages 13-18, �2,600 children ages 6-12. At 2-28-2 Heian-cho, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama (near Tsurumi Station on the blue JR Keihin-Tohoku line), phone 045-511-2323.


Tokyo Sea Life Park (Kasai Rinkai Suizokukan) is a giant aquarium that simulates life in the depths of the ocean and includes shark tanks. It�s a spectacular rooftop glass aquarium. Open Tuesday-Sunday 9:30 am-4 pm. Admission is �700, free for younger children. For seniors over 65, it�s free. Next door to Disneyland at 6-2-3 Rinkai-cho, Edogawa-ku, Tokyo (five minutes from Kasai-rinkai-koen Station on the JR Keiyo line), phone 3869-5152.


The tea ceremony may well be the most revered rite for Japanese. There are thousands of tea ceremonies performed daily in Tokyo. You may be able to attend a very abbreviated ceremony performed for foreign guests. Your best bet is to ask at your hotel. They�ll either put on a special one you can attend, or they�ll know where the best one in the area will be performed.

The famous Sunday walk through Yoyogi Park (just outside the serene Meiji Shrine), where tourists could watch young people�known as takenokozoku (literally, �bamboo shoot kids�)�dancing in the streets and otherwise letting off steam, is no more. Tokyo police shut down the pedestrian-only access to the area in mid 1998 to alleviate traffic congestion nearby. As of this writing there are no plans to open up another area of the city for street entertainment.


Shopping in Japan, as in most other places, is an art form, but in Tokyo, you�re going to need a lot more cash to express yourself creatively. Still, you will want to take home such beautiful items as traditional handicrafts and kimonos. Other delightful souvenirs would be calligraphy supplies, karate gear, good-luck charms, green tea, kites and handsomely printed books.

If you are looking for one-stop shopping for happi coats, kimonos, imitation swords, pearls and other items, visit the many shops at the International Arcade. Most are open by 11 am, and some stay open as late as 9 pm. The arcade is located underneath the JR train tracks, right next to the Imperial Hotel in Yurakucho. Prices are reasonable, and most major credit cards are accepted. Many of the merchants speak some English.


The Japanese have a long tradition of handcrafted wares. They take deep pride in quality and the craft that it takes to make these items. The best area in Tokyo to find high-quality traditional Japanese wares is along the Ginza and down its side streets (Ginza Station on the orange Ginza subway line). All the major department stores carry a wide selection of Japanese traditional wares, too.

Ceramics. Japanese ceramics fall into three broad categories: low-fired ceramic ware, ironware and stoneware, and porcelains. A good place to find ceramics in Tokyo is Kogyoku, 3-23-20 Kouenji-Minami, Suginami-ku 166 (Shinkouenji Station on the red Marunouchi subway line), phone 3311-4859. Closed on Wednesdays.

Dolls are an important part of Japanese culture. Nearly every household has one or more. Girls� Day, Doll Festival (Hinamatsuri ) in March, and Children�s Day/Boys� Day (Tango no sekku) in May are favorite times to display the family�s collection of traditional dolls. A good place to find them is Beishu, 5-9-13 Ginza, Chuo-ku 104 (Ginza Station on the orange Ginza subway line), phone 3572-1397, fax 3572-1398. Closed on Sundays.

Handcrafted Paper. The Japanese have a long-held tradition of hand-making paper. You�ll find amazing blends of patterns and colors. Part of this tradition carries over to the art of paper folding (origami ), which it seems every schoolchild can do to perfection. You can find paper wall hangings, mobiles, wind curtains, lamps and other decorative items. A good place to find handcrafted paper in Tokyo is Yushima No Kobayashi Co., 1-7-14 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku 113 (Ochanomizu Station on the red Marunouchi subway line or JR Yamanote Loop line), phone 3811-4025, fax 3815-3348. Store is closed Sundays and holidays.

Lacquerware. Japanese lacquerware (makie) is some of the most beautiful in the world. High-quality items range from cups, bowls and chopsticks to trays, boxes and decorative pieces. Modern accessories (in/out trays, for example) are at least as plentiful as more traditional objects. Check to see whether the piece you�re considering has a wooden base, rather than a more common plastic base. A good place to find lacquerware in Tokyo is Kuroeya, Kurorya Kokubu Building, 2F, 1-2-6 Nihombashi, Chuo-ku (Nihombashi Station on the orange Ginza subway line), phone 3272-0948, fax 3281-2840. Closed Sundays and holidays.

Netsuke are small figures or abstract shapes made of various materials that have one or two holes (they�re used to attach purses and bags to belts). They first appeared in the 1400s and come in many forms and types. Today they�re highly prized collectors� items (and make beautiful pendants). A good place to find netsuke in Tokyo is Yabane Co., 4-28-20-703 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku (Yotsuya Sanchome Station on the red Marunouchi subway line), phone 3352-6286, fax 3356-6581. Gallery room is open 1:30-6 pm, and a reservation is necessary. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Swords. Japanese swords (katana) are not a common sight. Real, sharpened swords are considered dangerous weapons in Japan and come under the same legal controls that firearms do in other countries. Imitations (unsharpened) are available for �12,000-�20,000. Real ones made by master craftsmen cost much more, with prices for quality works beginning at around �750,000. Quality antiques can cost millions.

Most sword shops are little known, out-of-the-way places that operate by appointment only and don�t welcome tourists. The shop in Tokyo that caters to foreign visitors and can handle the legal procedures for exporting a sword from the country is Japan Sword, 3-8-1 Toranomon, Minato-ku, phone 3434-4321, fax 3434-4324. It�s within walking distance of Toranomon subway station (Ginza Line), Kamiyacho subway station (Hibiya Line) and the Hotel Okura.

Textiles and Kimonos. Japan is one of the world�s leading makers of textiles. Probably the most luxurious form is the traditional kimono, which consists of panels of silk, sewn together by hand. A kimono is worn without the use of hooks or buttons. A good quality one, with accompanying items, costs between �200,000-�1,000,000 or even more. A good lower-cost option is the colorful, cotton yukata that you find in hotel rooms. Yukatas can be had for �25,000-�40,000. A good place to find textiles, kimonos and yukatas in Tokyo is Shimakame, 6-5-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku 104 (Ginza Station on the orange Ginza subway line), phone 3571-4651, fax 3571-2683. Open 11 am-7 pm (on Sundays, 6 pm).

Cultured Pearls. These originated in Japan, and they remain one of the most sought-after items by foreign visitors. Black pearls are actually a deep green in color. A good place to find pearls in Tokyo is The Asahi Pearl Co., 2-6-1 Hatchobori, Chuo-ku 104 (Takaracho Station on the pink Asakusa subway line), phone 3552-5531, fax 3551-7822. Open 9 am-5 pm, closed weekends and holidays.


Cameras and electronics are expensive in Tokyo. But if you�re on a buying mission regardless, your first step is to go first to a manufacturer�s showroom. Most of them are large areas that display all of the goods the manufacturer makes. Some also have export models for sale. Wander around (there�s usually English-speaking staff on hand) and check out the goods until you find what you want. Then get the brochure, which shows the suggested retail price in yen, and head for Akihabara Electric City (west side of JR Akihabara Station on the gray Hibaya subway line) or for the camera discount stores. Most prices there are fixed at about 30% off showroom prices, and�though bargaining is not a way of life in Japan�you may reduce the price a little if you�re insistent. Much will depend on the product and model. If the shop you�re at doesn�t include English translations in the instructions, you�ll have to trudge back over to the showroom, where you can exchange the Japanese version for an English one (it may have to be mailed to you).

If your country uses 220 volts, make sure your product will be compatible (some have a switch). If you�re from a country that works on 110/120 volts, you�ll have to make up your own mind about voltage�Japanese products are set at 100 volts, 50/60-cycle, but have a wide tolerance range and usually perform fine at 110/120 volts. If you�re concerned, though, buy only a 110/120-volt export model or ask store personnel if they can change the voltage for you.

Cameras and Optical Goods. Contrary to what one would imagine, Tokyo is not a very good place to buy a camera. The export prices in places such as the U.S. are significantly lower than they are in Japan (on the average about 30%). Cameras sold in Japan also tend to be different models from the exported versions. This is done to prevent a �gray market� in reimported cameras. In spite of all this, many people still want to buy cameras in Japan. This is because the newest models are often introduced in Japan a year or two ahead of other countries.

All the major camera makers have service and repair centers that double as showrooms for the latest equipment. Conveniently, they are all within walking distance of Shinjuku Station: Canon, Sumitomo Building, 2-7-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, phone 3348-2121; Minolta, 3-17-5 Shinjuku, phone 3758-2111; Nikon, NS Building, 2-4-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, phone 5321-4466; Olympus, Nomura Shoken Building, 5-17-9 Shinjuku, phone 3209-4821; and Pentax, 2-2-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, phone 3348-2941.

Shinjuku also has the largest number of camera shops in Tokyo. The biggest one is the Yodobashi Camera West Main Store, located a few minutes� walk from the West Exit of Shinjuku Station. Most major credit cards and foreign currencies are accepted. Some staff speak English.

Electronic Goods. Showrooms operated by manufacturers are: Hitachi, NS Building, 5F, 2-4-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, phone 3344-4671; Panasonic, 1-3-12 Higashi-Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, phone 5460-5200; Sharp, 8 Hachiman-cho, Ichigaya, Shinjuku-ku, phone 3260-1161; and Sony, Sony Building, 5-3-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku, phone 3573-2371.

Computers are not a good buy in Japan, despite all the famous Japanese laptops. A computer that would run US$2,000 in North America, for instance, will run the equivalent of US$3,000-$4,000 in Tokyo. Besides, the Tokyo version will come with a keyboard full of kanji characters (Japanese writing) and a burdensome Japanese operating system (J-DOS or J-Apple DOS) to run it. English versions are usually imported from the U.S. We recommend that you don�t buy a computer in Japan. However, if you are desperate, Akihabara Electric City is one of the better places to look for the best prices.


If you have any thoughts of picking up some great antique bargain, forget it�there are relatively few bargains on antiques in Japan. For years, Japanese people have been traveling abroad to buy back Japanese antiques that flooded out of the country after World War II. They find that prices are often better overseas! You may still want to take a look at the selection in Tokyo�s shops. Several antique shops are located in the Azabu area of Minato-ku, near the American Club (Kamiyacho Station on the gray Hibiya subway line). Another concentration is in the Aoyama area in Minato-ku, south of the Meiji Shrine (Omote-sando Station on the purple Hanzomon, orange Ginza, or dark green Chiyoda subway lines).

If your interests lie more in the direction of Japanese curiosities, try Art Plaza Magatani, 5-10-13 Toranomon, Minato-ku, phone 3433-6321, or go to flea markets held at Togo Shrine or Nogi Shrine once or twice a month early on Sunday mornings. Ask your hotel concierge for directions and the dates.


Japanese department stores are a treat�the Japanese are ardent shoppers, and it�s fun to watch them in action. Typically, a store will have two basement levels dedicated to foods of every kind. As a rule you�ll find two or three bakeries; butcher shops for meats and poultry; a score of fishmongers; a foreign foods section; a liquor store with a well-stocked sake section; deli counters; a Chinese foods area; a pastry section that goes on forever; and many, many counters with Japanese delicacies.

If you ever make it out of the basement, the ground floor is loaded with shoes, bags, ties and cosmetics. The second and third floors hold women�s fashions with every label you�ve ever heard of and a bunch you haven�t (though most won�t fit you because they�re cut to Japanese patterns). The fourth and fifth floors hold men�s fashions, with a strong emphasis on conservative business clothes. Above that come the sports and whatnots floors, loaded with kimonos, housewares, chinaware and toys, and then the exhibition floor where great showings of everything from Japanese swords to Picassos are displayed nearly every weekend. (Check the department store showings in The Japan Times.) Then there�s usually a bargain floor, followed by a book, records and restaurants floor. Above it all sits a rooftop beer garden, amusement park, shrine and pet shop. Of course, the arrangement differs from store to store, but you get the picture.

Here are a few of the department stores that will most interest tourists: Mitsukoshi in Nihombashi (it�s especially beautiful during the Christmas season), served by several subway lines; Takashimaya in Shinjuku (the older one is more impressive than the newer Takashimaya Times Square, which is also in Shinjuku), Shinjuku San-chome Station, Marunochi Line; and Odakyu and Keio in Shinjuku, located next to JR Shinjuku Station.


Large bookstores in Tokyo are normally open every day between 10 or 11 am and 7 or 8 pm. Here are some sources for English editions: Jena, at 5-6-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku, phone 3571-2980; Kinokuniya, at 3-17-7 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, phone 3354-0131; Kitazawa, at 2-5-3 Kanda Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku, phone 3263-0011; and Maruzen, 2-3-10 Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, phone 3272-7211.

You�ll notice that comic books are hugely popular in Japan�with people of all ages. Some are as thick as telephone books. Separate adult editions are sold for men and women, and some get pretty racy.


Tokyo�s massive wholesale markets make for interesting wandering, especially in the very early hours. They�re open Monday-Friday. These markets are located along the Sumida River, southeast of the city�s Kabukiza Theater, an area also full of interesting temples and shrines. An early morning visit to the Tsukiji Fish Market is fascinating. Take the gray Hibiya subway line to Tsukiji Station in Chuo-ku, explore hundreds of shops in the maze of alleys and pause for fresh sushi on your way back.


Yesterday�s style, color, favorite foreign food and just about everything else are quickly forgotten in trendy Tokyo. Best places to check out the current trends are the adjoining Harajuku and Aoyama areas in Minato-ku, south of the Meiji Shrine (Harajuku Station on the JR Yamanote Loop line or the Omote-sando Station served by the purple Hanzomon line, the orange Ginza or dark green Chiyoda subway lines).


Bonsai are miniature trees carefully prepared for many years, some more than 100 years old. They can be whole landscapes on a tray. Stunningly beautiful, they�re rare and very expensive. You can sometimes get a view of them in department store displays. Check the listings in The Japan Times. If you�re really interested, travel to the bonsai village in Omiya City in Saitama Prefecture, about an hour northwest of Tokyo on the JR line. Note: Bonsai trees purchased in Japan cannot be imported into many countries, including Australia, Canada, the U.K. and the U.S., due to agricultural restrictions.

Tea. Japan produces an exquisite variety of green tea, a wonderful change of pace from other teas and from coffee. Best places to pick up Japanese teas are in the basements of department stores or along any shopping street.

Happi Coats and Tabi Socks. Happi coats are the half-kimono jackets worn on festival days. Tabi socks have a split between the big toe and the rest of the sock in order to wear thong sandals over them. Both items make great gifts or souvenirs. Best place to buy them is the International Arcade (underneath the JR train tracks, next to the Imperial Hotel in Yurakucho). Many vendors also sell them at the shopping arcade at the Asakusa Kannon Temple. You can also try the Asakusa area around Asakusa Station (on the pink Asakusa or orange Ginza subway lines).


If you�re in Tokyo on business and need to entertain local contacts, your best bets are the hotel bars. We suggest that you purchase a bottle in the hotel bar�the price of drinks in Tokyo ranges from �1,000 to �1,500 a shot, but for �20,000-�25,000 or so you can buy a bottle of any good whiskey. The price includes all setups and snacks, and having your name on a bottle shows that you understand local customs. Bottles are normally sold in most clubs for about �12,000 to �25,000, but the price doesn�t usually cover setups, snacks and that peculiar Japanese custom of �seat money,� which runs between �5,000 and �10,000 or more in most clubs. Stick to the hotel bars unless you�re on an unlimited expense account.

Note: Many clubs and bars won�t welcome outsiders unless they�re introduced by their regular customers. Such places don�t operate on cash payments, and they�ll need to know which company account to charge to.

The latest in discos, nightclubs and bars can be found in the magazine Tokyo Classified, available for free at most hotels.


The Blue Note Tokyo is the hot spot for world-class jazz acts the likes of Courtney Pine and George Benson. Open 5:30 pm-1 am, closed Sundays. Cover charge is about �8,000. 5-13-3 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku (Omote-sando Station on the purple Hanzomon subway line), phone 3407-5781.

Birdland. Live acoustic jazz. Open Monday-Thursday from 7 pm, Friday and Saturday from 8 pm, closed Sundays. Cover charge: �3,000. Roppongi Square Building, B2, 3-10-3 Roppongi, Minato-ku 106, phone 3478-3456.

Oh-Garcon. This is a club with an all-male girlie review. Role changes are a traditional part of Japanese theater. (The women�s parts in Noh and Kabuki are performed by men, and the men�s parts in the Takarazuka revue are performed by women.) It might throw you at first, but it�s great fun when you get into the swing of things. Open 6 pm-midnight, closed Sundays. Cover charge: �3,000. Sumitomo Building, 49F, 2-6 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku (Shinjuku Station on JR Yamanote Loop line), phone 3344-6591.

Piga-Piga. African music with musicians imported from Africa. African menu, Kenyan beer, African wine. Open Monday-Thursday 6 pm-1 am, Friday and Saturday till 3 am, closed Sunday. Cover Monday-Thursday �2,000, Friday and Saturday �2,500. STM Yebisu Building, B2, 1-8-1 Yebisu Minami, Shibuya-ku, phone 3715-3431.

El Patio. A magnet for lovers of the tango, samba and bossa nova, with a little folk music thrown in. 6-11:30 pm, closed Sundays, holidays and the third Monday of the month. Cover about �3,000. 7-1-8 Hinode Building, B1, Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku, phone 3363-6931.


Tokyo nightclubs are definitely for the young; you�ll be lucky to find anyone over 30 in any of them. The action usually doesn�t get going until about 10 pm.

Yellow has some of the city�s most popular music and events and a hip clientele. Open 8 pm-midnight, closed Sundays. Cover charge: �3,500. 1-10-11 Nishi Azabu, Minato-ku (near Roppongi Station on the gray Hibiya subway line), phone 3479-0690. Velfarre is one of the biggest clubs and popular with the under-30 crowd. Cover charges are �5,000 for men, �4,000 for women. 7-14-22 Roppongi, Minato-ku, phone 3402-8000.


Most of the city�s watering holes are tiny places that aren�t always easy to find. So if you don�t have the energy, stick to the hotel bar. If there�s one in particular that you want to try, ask your hotel to call and have them fax you a map showing how to get there from the nearest subway station�always a good idea when searching for the unknown in Tokyo.

Unless you�re desperate to try a hostess bar, where a pretty woman entices you into buying very expensive drinks for her, it�s better to steer clear of them as they tend to be extremely pricey (and disappoint many foreign men who feel certain that they�ll get more than conversation in exchange for all those drinks!). A short stop at a Tokyo hostess bar can easily run to about �27,000-�45,000.

Another feature of the nightlife landscape is the karaoke bar, where patrons take turns singing to taped orchestral backup music. Because most of the music available is Japanese, you may want to skip this experience unless your Japanese business associates insist.

Here are some other places where nightlife flourishes:

Rokkon. Here�s a good, atmospheric place to enjoy sake, plus traditional Japanese dishes. Both Western- and Japanese-style seating. Open 5 pm-4 am (to 11 pm Sundays and holidays). 3-17-25 TK Building, B1, Nishi Azabu, Minato-ku, phone 3405-6950.

Winds. Operated by the large Suntory brewery, with its own excellent brand of draft beer. Good food, too. Open 4 pm-4 am, closed Sundays and holidays. Akasaka Getsusekai Building, 1F, 3-10-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku, phone 3582-8951.

Cerveza provides beers from all over the world and good food to go with them. Open Monday-Saturday 6 pm-midnight. 3-11-10 Roppongi, Minato-ku (basement of Coco Roppongi Building just off Roppongi intersection), phone 3478-0077.

The free magazine Tokyo Classified, available from hotels, lists lesbian and gay bars and restaurants. There�s a concentration of them in the Sinjuku 2-chome area, but many are private clubs. It�s best to go with someone familiar with the area who knows where foreigners are welcome.


In and around Tokyo you can find every type of recreation known�tennis, swimming, horseback riding, skiing, hang gliding or whatever interests you. Check with your hotel�s front desk or listings in the CitySource English Telephone Directory in your hotel room and expect all sites to be unbelievably crowded, especially on the weekends.


Almost all the golf courses in Japan worth playing at are members-only facilities. They are all very expensive with prices ranging �20,000-�50,000 per game. Use of the courses often must be scheduled in advance. Most allow guests, but unless you have been invited by a member, you won�t be let in. Check with your buddies in Japan before lugging your clubs on the plane.


Nearly all health clubs in Tokyo require you to join before you use them. Few, if any, allow one-time use by travelers. Your best bet for health-club facilities is your hotel.


The best and easiest place to jog is around the Imperial Palace. Indeed, you�ll find many fellow joggers there early in the morning. (This is where President Clinton jogged on a visit.) There�s a jogging course around Shinjuku Central Park, located in the hotel district on the west side of Shinjuku Station. Another place where you don�t have to worry about traffic too much is Jingu Gaien near Ayoma, where the National Stadium and Chichibunomiya Rugby Field are. Take the JR Chuo Line to Shinano-machi Station or the Ginza line to Gaien-mae Station.


Wild Blue Yokohama is an indoor beach with simulated sand, waves and palm trees. It�s open year round, 10 am-10 pm. �3,900 adults, �3,100 teens ages 13-18, �2,600 children ages 6-12. At 2-28-2 Heian-cho, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama (near Tsurumi Station on the blue JR Keihin-Tohoku line), phone 045-511-2323.


Given Tokyo�s congested roads, it�s much more pleasant to cycle on the riverside than contend with traffic. The city�s major rivers have bike paths alongside; Sumidagawa and Megurogawa are two accessible suggestions. Ask your hotel for assistance with bike rentals. Expect to pay about �5,000 a day for a mountain bike.


Mountain hiking is a major pastime in Japan. Believe it or not, you can find yourself surrounded by beautiful mountains just 90 minutes from Tokyo by train. Trail maps can be bought, but they�re always in Japanese and impossible to make sense of if you don�t know the language. Instead, look for Gary Waters� Day Walks Near Tokyo (Kodansha International), which details 25 walks within easy reach of the city. Highly recommended is the Lake Tanzawa to Yaga trail, which takes you up Mt. Ono for superb views of Mt. Fuji. Some of the trails in the Tanzawa region can be dangerous�it�s best to go with people who know the area.


Sumo is Japan�s unique 300-year-old wrestling sport. If you�re there in January, May or September, you may want to try to get tickets to a sumo tournament. Unfortunately, they�re very hard to come by. Tournaments run for 15 days at Kokugikan Hall Arena, 1-3-28 Yokoami, Sumida-ku (close to Royogoku Station on the JR Yamanote Loop), phone 3623-5111. Check with your hotel to see if the concierge can wrangle you a ticket. You can also try ticket agents. If you fail in your quest, sumo tournaments are televised daily 3-5 pm.

Baseball runs from early spring through the summer in Tokyo�s three stadiums and is a fascinating experience for any North American fan of the major leagues. Games are often sold out; sometimes hotels can help secure a ticket. There are also a pro soccer league and American-style college football, as well as rugby and martial arts events. Check listings in The Japan Times or ask your hotel�s front desk for schedules and venues.

Day Trips

Check with your hotel or local tour operators about trips to Kamakura, Hakone, Mt. Fuji and other sights in the Kanto region around Tokyo. Here are some day trips you might want to consider during your stay:

To Kamakura. Formerly the capital of Japan, Kamakura has many interesting historical sites. The giant Buddha known as the Dai Butsu is a must-see and is located not too far from JR Kamakura Station (it�s a long walk�take a taxi). The northern part of the city (outside JR Kita-Kamakura Station) is the most beautiful and has many ancient temples and shrines. Kamakura is just over an hour from Tokyo by express train.

To Nikko. This is a day trip if you don�t mind getting up very early and returning very late. Otherwise, Nikko is a great overnight excursion from Tokyo. Site of the burial place of Tokugawa Ieyasu (the warlord credited with uniting Japan who died in 1616), the Nikko Toshogu is considered one of the most beautiful Shinto shrines in all of Japan. Numerous places sell handcrafted souvenirs. Overnight and weekend stays at a traditional inn (ryokan) are easily booked through hotels or railroad travel agencies. The most efficient route to Nikko is from Tobu Asakusa Station aboard the train called the Romance Car. It�s about a two-hour ride.

To Yokohama. Just south of Tokyo, the port city of Yokohama is easy to get to. It�s considered very cosmopolitan because historically it�s been a major gateway to Japan. A walk around the area known as the Bluff, where many foreign expatriates still make their home, is a great way to spend an afternoon. There are many houses dating back to the late 19th and early 20th century.

Nearby is the Foreign Residents� Cemetery, the final resting place of many foreign men and women who figure prominently in Japanese history. The Motomachi shopping district is nearby, as is Yokohama�s Chinatown. Get off at JR Ishikawacho Station. It�s about a 40-minute ride from Tokyo to the station. If you take a special interest in textiles, stop by the Silk Museum. It�s near Yamashita Park.

On the train ride way back from Yokohama to Tokyo, you may want to disembark at the 70-story Landmark Tower. It has an observation deck offering an unparalleled view of the entire Kanto region. Get off at Sakuragicho Station, served by the JR, Tokyu and Yokohama subway lines.

To Mt. Fuji and Hakone Areas. These are the mountain resorts closest to Tokyo. Though rather overpromoted to visitors, they do offer splendid mountain scenery and, of course, that peek at Fuji-san that you�re dying to get. To see the mountains properly, you really should stay overnight. Mt. Fuji (70 mi/115 km distant) is two hours by express train on the Odakyu line from Shinjuku Station to Gotemba Station; a bus runs from there to the mountain. Hakone (55 mi/90 km distant) is less than two hours by express train via the Odakyu line from Shinjuku Station to Hakone-Yumoto Station.

To Kyoto. Kyoto was the capital of Japan for more than a thousand years and is still considered the spiritual capital. This beautiful and historic city merits more than a day trip in order to properly appreciate its temples, palaces, gardens and museums. If you�re short on time, though, the three must-sees are the Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle and the Zen Garden. The most famous ryokan (luxurious Japanese-style hotel) in the country, the Tawaraya Ryokan, is in Kyoto and would be an educational�and pricey�choice for lodgings. For nighttime entertainment, take a walk down Pontocho, a romantic little street, reminiscent of old Japan. Kyoto is just over two-and-a-half hours from Tokyo on the bullet train.

Tokyo Calendar


MANY OF TOKYO�S FESTIVALS, drawn from ancient roots, are scheduled according to the lunar calendar. That many of these celebrations are religious in origin should not discourage visitors from experiencing and enjoying them. Although many of Japan�s holidays remain fixed from year to year, some are subject to change and should be confirmed.

Tokyo has four professional baseball teams, based either at the Tokyo Dome (phone 3811-2122) or the Jingu Ballpark (phone 3404-8999). The most popular team is the Yomiuri Giants, and tickets for their games sell out the day they go on sale (a month in advance). Your best bet would be to pick up a ticket for one of the less popular teams, such as the Nippon Ham Fighters or the Yakuli Swallows (which can be had at the stadium on the day of the game). For advance tickets, ask your hotel�s front desk or concierge or a travel agent for help. You can also buy a ticket at one of the many ticket agencies downtown, including those in many Lawson convenience stores (phone 3569-9900).

If you�re dialing the Tokyo phone numbers listed below from outside Japan, you must first dial your country�s international access code, then Japan�s country code, 81, then Tokyo�s city code, 3.

For more information about the events listed below, contact the Japan National Tourist Organization offices in Tokyo (at Narita Airport, 1st floor of Terminal 2, phone 0476-34-6251, and in the Tokyo International Forum, 3-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, 100 Japan, phone 3201-3331; in Chicago, phone 312-222-0874; in Los Angeles, phone 213-623-1952; in New York, phone 212-757-5640; in Toronto, phone 416-366-7140; in London, phone 171-734-9638; or in Sydney, phone 02-9232-4522.

The 24-hour Teletourist Service provides a weekly taped message (in English) about events taking place in Tokyo, phone 3201-2911.

Information in this calendar is subject to change and should be confirmed.

MARCH 2000

1 MarTheater. Three Plays directed by Kazuko Hirabayashi. The Pit, New National Theatre, 1-1-1 Honcho, Shibuya-ku (near the Hatsudai Station on the Keio line), phone 5351-3011. For tickets, call Tokyo Ticket Agencies, phone 5237-9999.

10-13 MarContemporary Dance. Dance Planet No. 5. The Pit, New National Theatre, 1-1-1 Honcho, Shibuya-ku (near the Hatsudai Station on the Keio line), phone 5351-3011. For tickets, call Tokyo Ticket Agencies, phone 5237-9999.

16-18 MarOpera. Silence. Opera House, New National Theatre, 1-1-1 Honcho, Shibuya-ku (near the Hatsudai Station on the Keio line), phone 5351-3011. For tickets, call Tokyo Ticket Agencies, phone 5237-9999.

20 MarVernal Equinox. Public holiday. Buddhist temples hold special services, and people pray for the souls of the departed.

25-30 MarBallet. Don Quixote. Opera House, New National Theatre, 1-1-1 Honcho, Shibuya-ku (near the Hatsudai Station on the Keio line), phone 5351-3011. For tickets, call Tokyo Ticket Agencies, phone 5237-9999.

Concluding in mid MarchPlum Blossoms. Though not as famous as the cherry blossoms, these red and white flowers are the first heralds of spring. For more information about projected times and viewing sites, phone 3502-1461.

March date to be determinedHinamatsuri (Doll Festival). On this special day for girls, traditional Japanese Hina dolls and miniature household articles are displayed in homes and at other locations throughout the city. The dolls represent the Emperor and Empress and other members of the court, dressed in ancient costume. Check The Japan Times or Tokyo Journal for locations.

March dates to be determinedTheater. Shin-Jigokuhen. The Playhouse, New National Theatre, 1-1-1 Honcho, Shibuya-ku (near the Hatsudai Station on the Keio line), phone 5351-3011. For tickets, call Tokyo Ticket Agencies, phone 5237-9999.

APRIL 2000

8 AprHana Matsuri (Buddha�s Birthday). Statues of Buddha are shown in temples, and sweet tea (amacha) is poured over them in a gesture of devotion. Children place flowers next to statues of the infant Buddha.

11-17 AprOpera. Salome. Opera House, New National Theatre, 1-1-1 Honcho, Shibuya-ku (near the Hatsudai Station on the Keio line), phone 5351-3011. For tickets, call Tokyo Ticket Agencies, phone 5237-9999.

29 AprGreenery Day. Public holiday.

Throughout AprilBaseball. Tokyo has four professional teams, based either at the Tokyo Dome (phone 3811-2122) or the Jingu Ballpark (phone 3404-8999). The most popular team is the Yomiuri Giants, and tickets for their games sell out the day they go on sale (a month in advance). Your best bet would be to pick up a ticket for one of the less popular teams, such as the Nippon Ham Fighters or the Yakuli Swallows (which can be had at the stadium on the day of the game). For advance tickets, ask your hotel�s front desk or concierge or a travel agent for help. You can also buy a ticket at one of the many ticket agencies downtown, including those in many Lawson convenience stores (phone 3569-9900). Season continues through October.

Early through mid AprilCherry Blossoms. Generally the first two weeks in April are when the cherry trees are in bloom in parks and shrines around the city. Friends and colleagues gather under the trees to eat, drink and sing traditional songs. A good place to join this outdoor party, which extends into the night hours, is Ueno Park in Taito-ku (near Ueno Station on the orange Ginza or gray Hibiya subway line or on the JR Loop line). For more information about projected times and sites, phone 3502-1461.

Early April dates to be determinedZojoji Temple Festival. A three-day festival held between 2 and 7 Apr in honor of the founder of the Jodo Buddhist sect. It�s capped by a large, colorful parade. Zojoji Temple is in Shiba Park in Minato-ku near Shiba-koen Station on the dark blue Mita subway line.

April dates to be determinedTheater. A play directed by Koichi Kimura. The Playhouse, New National Theatre, 1-1-1 Honcho, Shibuya-ku (near the Hatsudai Station on the Keio line), phone 5351-3011. For tickets, call Tokyo Ticket Agencies, phone 5237-9999.

April dates to be determinedSpring Festival. Meiji Shrine features demonstrations of traditional martial arts, dance and Noh performances among other cultural attractions. Continues through early May.

April dates to be determinedImage Forum Festival. An independent and avant-garde film and video festival highlighting Asian productions. Continues through the beginning of May. Park Tower Hall, 7-1 Nishi-Shinjuku 3-chome, Shinjuku Station, phone 3357-8023.

MAY 2000

Early MaySpring Festival. Meiji Shrine features demonstrations of traditional martial arts, dance and Noh performances among other cultural attractions.

3 MayConstitution Memorial Day. Public holiday.

4 MayNation�s Holiday. Public holiday.

5 MayChildren�s Day. Public holiday. Streamers in the shapes of carp are flown throughout the city.

7-14 MayOpera. Don Quixote. Opera House, New National Theatre, 1-1-1 Honcho, Shibuya-ku (near the Hatsudai Station on the Keio line), phone 5351-3011. For tickets, call Tokyo Ticket Agencies, phone 5237-9999.

19-21 MayBallet. Creation de la Dance. Opera House, New National Theatre, 1-1-1 Honcho, Shibuya-ku (near the Hatsudai Station on the Keio line), phone 5351-3011. For tickets, call Tokyo Ticket Agencies, phone 5237-9999.

Concluding in early MayImage Forum Festival (tentative). An independent and avant-garde film and video festival highlighting Asian productions. Final days. Park Tower Hall, 7-1 Nishi-Shinjuku 3-chome, Shinjuku Station, phone 3357-8023.

Throughout MayBaseball. Tokyo has four professional teams, based either at the Tokyo Dome (phone 3811-2122) or the Jingu Ballpark (phone 3404-8999). The most popular team is the Yomiuri Giants, and tickets for their games sell out the day they go on sale (a month in advance). Your best bet would be to pick up a ticket for one of the less popular teams, such as the Nippon Ham Fighters or the Yakuli Swallows (which can be had at the stadium on the day of the game). For advance tickets, ask your hotel�s front desk or concierge or a travel agent for help. You can also buy a ticket at one of the many ticket agencies downtown, including those in many Lawson convenience stores (phone 3569-9900). Season continues through October.

May dates to be determined�Sumo Tournament. A two-week tournament culminating in the crowning of grand champions or yokozuna. Held twice a year, in January and May. Tickets are hard to come by�they�re available only a month ahead. One source is the Japan Travel Bureau in New York, phone 212-698-4900. Price is approximately US$129. Tournaments take place at the sports hall called Kuramae Kokugikan, 3-28 Yokoami 1-chome, Sumida-ku (Ryogoku Station on the JR Sobu line), phone 3623-5111, fax 3623-5300.

May dates to be determinedSanja Matsuri Festival. This three-day celebration at Asakusa Shrine is filled with excitement as portable shrines in lacquer and gold are hoisted and carried around the Asakusa district by happi-coated men and women.

May dates to be determinedKanda Matsuri Festival. A day commemorating an old victory and marked by parades with elaborate portable shrines and costumes. Celebrated during odd-numbered years only. Kanda Myojin Shrine, 2-16-2 Soto Kanda (Ochanomizu Station). For more information, phone 3254-0753.

May dates to be determinedTheater. Long Day�s Journey into Night. The Pit, New National Theatre, 1-1-1 Honcho, Shibuya-ku (near the Hatsudai Station on the Keio line), phone 5351-3011. For tickets, call Tokyo Ticket Agencies, phone 5237-9999.

Late May date to be determinedWomen�s Jazz Festival. Local and international female jazz bands perform at Showa Women�s University, 7-57 Taishido, Setagaya-ku (Sangenjaya Station on the Shin-Tamagawa line), phone 3422-5131.

Late May dates to be determinedBlues Carnival. Local and international blues bands perform at an outdoor theater. Hibiya Yagai Ongakudo, 1-5 Hibiya-koen (Hibiya Station on the Hibiya or Chiyoda line), phone 5453-8899.

JUNE 2000

10-16 JunSanno Matsuri Festival. Shrines are paraded through the streets of the Akasaka District, near the Hie Shrine. The main parade is 15 Jun.

11-20 JunOpera. Rigoletto. Opera House, New National Theatre, 1-1-1 Honcho, Shibuya-ku (near the Hatsudai Station on the Keio line), phone 5351-3011. For tickets, call Tokyo Ticket Agencies, 5237-9999.

29 JunBallet. La Sylphide. Through 3 Jul. Opera House, New National Theatre, 1-1-1 Honcho, Shibuya-ku (near the Hatsudai Station on the Keio line), phone 5351-3011. For tickets, call Tokyo Ticket Agencies, 5237-9999.

Late JuneIris Garden in Bloom. If the famed garden�near the Meiji Shrine in Yoyogi Park�isn�t blooming now, it will be during the first week of July. Check with your hotel or with JNTO (Japan National Tourist Organization) to learn when the blooming will be at peak.

Throughout JuneArt Exhibit. �Saburo Miyamoto� showcases the richly colored female figures that Miyamoto captured in his paintings. Continues through 4 Jul. Setagaya Art Museum, 1-2 Kinuta-koen, Setagaya-ku (Yoga Station on the Tokyu Shin-Tamagawa line), phone 3415-6011.

Throughout JuneExhibit. �Koetsu and Sotatsu� includes teabowls, ceramic pieces, calligraphy and paintings created by these two artists. Continues through 11 Jul. The Suntory Art Museum, 2-3 Moto-Akasaka 1-chome, Minato-ku (Roppongi Station on the Hibiya line). Phone 3470-1073.

Throughout JuneBaseball. Tokyo has four professional teams, based either at the Tokyo Dome (phone 3811-2122) or the Jingu Ballpark (phone 3404-8999). The most popular team is the Yomiuri Giants, and tickets for their games sell out the day they go on sale (a month in advance). Your best bet would be to pick up a ticket for one of the less popular teams, such as the Nippon Ham Fighters or the Yakuli Swallows (which can be had at the stadium on the day of the game). For advance tickets, ask your hotel�s front desk or concierge or a travel agent for help. You can also buy a ticket at one of the many ticket agencies downtown, including those in many Lawson convenience stores (phone 3569-9900). Season continues through October.


archoo search :



  Other Professions


  Architecture by Country


  Join Our Newsletter


  AECasia Product System


I add your listing I about us I add your listing I advertising I contact us

copyright 2002  [email protected]