Thursday, May 16, 2013

What to do in Tokyo

The Edo-Tokyo Museum, which shows 400 years of Tokyo history, from its founding to 1963.
I have actually been asked by tourists what there is to see or do in Tokyo. I am mildly startled by the question. It's a little like asking what is there to see or do in New York or London or Paris. Tokyo is a capital city. It has over 12 million people. It has something like 160,000 restaurants. It has temples, shrines, museums, theaters. One could live in Tokyo for years and not see or do everything it has to offer.

Recently, The New York Times ran one of its "36 Hours in . . . " Sunday travel sections featuring Tokyo. It told readers about some of the highlights—Meiji Shrine, Ometesando, Shibuya Cross (possibly the busiest pedestrian intersection in the world), the Edo-Tokyo Museum, Akihabara, Yasukuni Shrine, and more.

In a sense, it's an impossible story because everyone is different, and Tokyo could offer dozens of 36-hour tours, each satisfying a different taste. Certainly for someone who has never been to the city, the Times' suggestions are fine. But they barely hint at the city's wealth of possibilities.

The Nakamichi in Asakusa, which is where Japanese tourists go to buy souvenirs.

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