- Welcome to Tokyo, the Heart of Japan -
The cradle of limitless entertainment
Today's gigantic metropolis stretching along the western coast of the Tokyo Bay, started from the fishing village called Edo near the swampy Sumida River. The birth date of the city is usually called 1457, but a more significant event occurred in 1590, when the head of the powerful clan Tokugawa Ieyasu made this inconspicuous town his residence. In ten years or so Tokugawa crushed all his rivals, got the title of shogun and established the effective rule of his clan for two and a half centuries. Although there was still an emperor in Kyoto with his palace, Edo became the center of real power in Japan.
Now, the puzzling and alluring Tokyo is a city that does not lend itself to simple definitions. Dazzled with neon advertising, exhausted with never ceasing noise, often paralyzed by vehicles moving "bumper to bumper", it represents a stereotypical city of a nightmare.
But, moving away from the bubbling highways of the center, you will find yourself in quiet streets with wooden houses, in front of which there are artfully decorated small trees.
And a little further from the center of high technology - and before you arise ancient Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Lively local holidays are held almost every day, people regularly visit their local temples and shrines and carefully follow the seasonal traditions. And in the center of all this is the mysterious Imperial Palace - the inviolable home of the emperor, a tangible connection with the past.
Those who are in Tokyo for the first time should prepare for the abundance of surging impressions. It's enough to walk the streets of this hyperactive city to recharge your batteries. Cheap Izakayas and tents with hot noodles are encountered much more often than luxurious restaurants of national cuisine of the highest category (Ryotei), and a daily ticket for a sumo tournament or a Kabuki performance is not more expensive than a few drinks.
Many city attractions are accessible to everyone: a walk along the Sitamachi around Asakusa and the main Buddhist temple Sensoji; a visit to the green lawns of Meiji-jingu, the most revered Shinto shrine in Tokyo and the nearby popular among the teens Harajuku shopping district; the festive atmosphere of the mini-city of Shinjuku - you do not need a lot of struggle to get acquainted with Tokyo.