Experience the hustle and bustle
If you’re keen to get a feel for Tokyo’s fast-paced, vibrant energy, head for Shinjuku in the early evening. While hopping on the subway during peak hour isn’t for the faint-hearted, witnessing the city at its busiest is quite the experience: 3 million passengers pass through Shinjuku Station it every day.
Shibuya Station comes in at a close second, with over 2 million commuters passing through a day. You’ll find world-famous Shibuya crossing nearby which is rumoured to be the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world: stop and people watch as up to two thousand commuters artfully zigzag the across the road during peak hours.
Step back in time
Tokyo is not all flashing neon lights and hectic subway stations: nestled in the pristine business district of Marunouchi, you’ll find one of Tokyo’s most-visited sights and home to Emperor Akhito, the Imperial Palace. Although it’s hard to get a glimpse of the emperor’s shrubbery-shrouded abode, taking a stroll through the surrounding verdant will make you feel like you’re miles away from the hectic city. Tokyo’s photogenic double bridges, the Nijubashi, which lead into the palace ground are well worth a photo or two.
Head to Harajuku
Tokyo’s quirky subcultures come to life in colour on the streets of Harajuku. Pick up out-there souvenirs and Harajuku-inspired fashion while strolling Takeshita Street in Harajuku. Street style enthusiasts should explore nearby Yoyogi Park and Harajuku Bridge on Sundays for the best chance of catching a glimpse of Tokyo’s youth subcultures.
Meander through the markets
Early risers, this one is for you as one of Tokyo’s not-to-be-missed attractions comes with a very early start time. Insiders recommend queuing for tickets from around 3am but the famed Tsukiji Fish Market‘s tuna auction will be worth the bleary eyes. You’ll already be in the right place for breakfast once the fanfare is over: the sushi and sashimi served up by vendors surrounding the inner market is some of Tokyo’s best. Peruse the outer markets for traditional sweets, snacks and souvenirs. Less than a ten-minute walk away is the historical home of Japanese theatre, Kabuki-za. Kabuki shows run throughout the day and into the evening: rent a headset when you get to the theatre so you can follow along in English.
Air New Zealand offers a variety of options into Japan on the 787-9 Dreamliner. Fly daily from Auckland non-stop to Tokyo’s Narita Airport and three times per week to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. Or fly non-stop to Osaka three times per week between 27 October 2017 to 26 March 2018.
To plan and book your Japan holiday visit Air New Zealand’s 12-day itinerary guide.