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Travel guide – Tokyo

With a population of more than 35 million, Tokyo – the capital of Japan – is the city of world records: it has the largest continuous metropolitan area, the best restaurants, the busiest railway station and the highest cost of living in the world. Once in Tokyo, you might be struck by how new and modern everything is. Shiny, glittering skyscrapers built of glass and metal compete with enormous billboards and advertisements in bright neon light. You don’t need to wonder whether the city has something for you: it has everything you could wish for.

Tokyo Skytree – a big landmark that you must visit once while you’re in Tokyo. Located just outside the city, the building is Japan’s tallest structure and the second-highest in the world (after Burj Khalifa). From one of the observation decks you will be treated to a marvellous view over Tokyo city. For more spectacular views, visit Tokyo Tower or one of the many skyscrapers around the city, many of which have their own observation decks.

The Sensō-ji temple – located in Asakusa, this ancient Buddhist temple is the oldest one in Tokyo and definitely one of the most significant.

Shinjuku Gyoen – one of the most popular parks in Tokyo.

Tokyo Disney Resort (which includes Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea) is a major theme-park attraction for the whole family. Other theme parks that can be found within a reasonable distance of the city center are Tokyo Dome City Attractions and Sanrio Puroland.

For anime enthusiasts, the animation film studio Ghibli is a must-see attraction. Note that the place is very popular, so reserving tickets beforehand is a good idea.

Yoyogi Park – see the Japanese Elvises alive and well in Yoyogi Park near Harajuku.

Ryōgoku with its Kokugikan stadium is the centre of Japanese sumo wrestling. In addition to sumo tournaments held in January, May and September, the Ryōkogu area hosts a sumo museum. There’s a good chance to spot real sumo wrestlers as well!

Nikko – 90 minutes’ train ride from Tokyo gets you to the Tosho-gu Shrine – consisting of more than dozen buildings set in beautiful forest – and Tokugawa-shogun mausoleum. The city of Nikko is considered one of Japan's top tourist attractions and is definitely worth a visit.

Hakone – Visit the hot springs in Hakone National Park or take a tour at the museum, just 60 minutes away from Tokyo by train.

The bullet trains are the best way to travel between big cities and other transport hubs. With speeds of over 300 kilometres per hour, even long distances are covered in no time at all.

If you cannot find what you are looking for in Tokyo, it does not exist. Affordable electronic devices, wild designer fashion, traditional kimonos and antiquities, Hello Kitty merchandise and anime and manga are just a few examples of the things you can buy in the shopping areas, malls and centres scattered throughout the city.

Roppongi Hills shopping mall really is a must-see. Located in Roppongi district’s enormous shopping area it offers restaurants and cafes, museums and luxury hotels, and, of course, world-class shopping. This is also the place to go for trying out Tokyo’s nightlife and club scene.

Shibuya – another trendy shopping district in Tokyo is the centre of Tokyo street fashion and trends. The Shibuya crossing, just beside the station, is world-famous for its enormous size and the crowds using it at rush hour.

Ginza – is all about luxury shopping and famous brands. You’ll find all the major designers here.

Akihabara – whether of not you want to buy electronics, there is plenty to see and touch in Akihabara. The district is also known as Electric Town.

Harajuku – is Tokyo’s number one place for young, trendy and colourfully extreme fashion – well worth a Sunday visit when the latest in crazy fashion appear!

Asakusa – the place to visit, if you want to find popular souvenirs, such as samurai swords, kimonos or Japanese dishes.

Tokyo has a reputation for being expensive, but do not let that fool you. The reputation is mostly based on super-expensive restaurants, hotels, department stores and boutiques; prices in most shops are reasonable.

Did you know that Tokyo’s restaurants have collected more Michelin stars than the restaurants of Paris and London put together? In addition to fine dining, Tokyo boasts a wealth of Japanese cuisine for all budgets. A tip for those interested in cooking seafood is to visit the large Tsukuji fish market in central Tokyo, where the daily catch is auctioned early in the morning.

Kobe beef – considered the best piece of beef in the world, a Kobe steak is a highly-recommended taste experience for those travelling with a thick wallet. This meat is well known for the fact that it almost melts in your mouth due to its unique fat marbling – achieved by serving the cattle wine and professional massages.

Tempura is a dish of vegetables, fish or shrimps dipped in batter and then deep fried until crispy. Tempura is usually served with a sauce.

Ramen, a noodle soup containing pork and onions, miso or soy sauce, is both inexpensive and filling and is often served at snack bars.

Yakitori is skewered chicken and makes a tasty snack along with any alcoholic beverage for example in izakayas.

Tonkatsu is a deep-fried pork cutlet often served with shredded cabbage. Tonkatsu is a very popular dish and is perfect for a quick lunch or as a light meal.

Sushi and sashimi – raw or cooked seafood served in small, attractive pieces and combined with vinegar-flavored rice and other ingredients as vegetables or other sorts of meat.

Fugu – puffer fish is a popular delicacy in Japan, despite the fact that if prepared with inexpert hands, the dish is lethal.

Tea – the most popular beverage in Japan and a very important part of the Japanese food culture. Green tea is most common and is also used in the famous tea ceremonies.

Sake – rice wine that can be served cold or warm.

Did you see a queue and the prices? You can usually tell the restaurants with best price-quality ratio by the queue out front. Also, as a good rule of thumb, if the prices are not shown, the restaurant is expensive.

Subway – the Tokyo metro is the most convenient method of moving around central Tokyo.

Train – Tokyo's most prominent train line is the JR Yamanote Line, a loop line connecting Tokyo's multiple city centres. During peak hours, the job of the station staff is to cram people into the cars with all their might – an experience you will never forget.

Note that there is whole variety of day passes available; however, most of them are overpriced and/or not very practical because they do not cover all of Tokyo's train and subway lines. Single tickets or prepaid cards usually come in cheaper in the end.

Taxi – using a taxi in Tokyo is another alternative but more expensive than going by bus, train or metro.

Currency in Japan – Yen (¥)

Bring cash with you when visiting Tokyo. Cards are not accepted everywhere and ATMs may not take foreign cards.

Electricity in Japan – flat-pin plugs are used in Japan. The voltage used is 100 volts.

Time zone Tokyo (Japan) UTC/GMT +9 hours (-1h during summer season in countries affected by summer/winter time)

Do not tip – it is considered an offensive gesture in Japan.

Etiquette/ good manners – always be polite and remember that small gifts are appreciated in Japan.

Water – bottled water is only advised in the big cities, including Tokyo, elsewhere the water is safe to drink.

Narita International Airport (NRT)

The airport is located 65km northeast of Tokyo.

  • Finnair’s check-in desks are located in Terminal 2, area I (AY074) or J (AY072).
  • Code share flights operated by JAL (AY5812): Terminal 2, Japan Airlines check-in counter
  • Check-in opens 3 hours before departure
  • Check-in closes 1 hour before departure

Tokyo Haneda International Airport (HND)

The airport is located 19km from the centre of Tokyo with great connections to the city with train, monorail and bus.

  • Daily flights with Finnair from 31 October 2022 onwards
  • Check-in opens 3 hours before departure
  • Check-in closes 1 hour before departure

Always remember to check your airline’s terminal and check-in times.

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