The extraordinary Japanese capital with a thousand faces

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Tokyo, the capital of Japan, is more like a region consisting of 23 large districts (such as Shinjuku, Shibuya, Setagaya or Shinagawa) which are all cities within the city, joined on to one another.

The 12 million-strong population of Tokyo, rising to nearly 38 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area, makes up the largest metropolis in the world, wrapped up in an architectural structure which is second to none.

Situated around the bay which shares its name, Tokyo is also the Japanese city most visited by tourists, which makes sense when you think of the fascination which comes from the huge contrast between the neon-lit metropolis and the charm of its thousand small villages.

The heart of the city is intersected by hundreds of train lines, subways, buses, monorails and other trams that criss-cross one another in a breathtaking ballet, ready to take hurried Tokyo inhabitants to their meetings as well as thrilled tourists to their latest discoveries. The Yamanote Line stands as a totem, an aerial circle which links together the most popular areas with ease.

Tokyo is the economic heart of Japan but travelling just a few miles in any direction from the capital will take you to a variety of incredible landscapes. From the sea to the mountains, from hiking to the concrete jungle, from the cutting edge of modernity to, just occasionally, the timeless charm of ancient Japan.

Often the main problem for travellers is deciding what to do in Tokyo. The capital is so sprawling that you wouldn’t have time to see it all even if you stayed for months. While most tourists choose to combine it with a trip to Kyoto, which is a good idea, others prefer to spend their entire stay in the famous metropolis.

Discover the pull of Tokyo through our many visit pages grouped by districts and neighbourhoods of the city. Fully immerse yourself in its splendour and intimacy and let yourself be sucked into its sublime transience.

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-- View the whole Japan Map
Weather in Tokyo
23 °C
23 °C
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How to get to Tokyo

By plane -- Two international airports serve the Tokyo region: Narita and Haneda. Direct flights from London take around 12 hours. Connections are possible from airports all over the world.

By train -- There are three JR Shinkansen railway stations in the city:

  • Tokyo (the main station)
  • Shinagawa (in the south)
  • Ueno (in the north)

There are countless other lines and stations operated by various public and private rail companies.

How long / when to visit

Several months wouldn’t be long enough to see everything!

For many travellers, 5-7 days is the minimum for a visit to Tokyo to ex-plore this magical city in all seasons.

Construction work

Various construction work, both large- and small-scale, is scheduled until 2020 in preparation for hosting the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The overwhelming majority of these should not disrupt tourism in the city.

In Japanese

東京 (literally “the capital of the East”)

Other name(s)

 Edo (江戸) in ancient times

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