American broadcaster CNN has highlighted
a number of attractive sites and experiences
on offer in Tokyo
in four categories:
enchantment, encounter, experience, and exquisite.
Prepare to be moved by the city.
Ameyayokocho (Street Market)
Nestled beneath the train tracks leading to Ueno Station, the bustling street market teams with life. Vibrant colours draw the eye, while local vendors vie for business. The narrow streets pack in 500 or so stalls selling fresh produce, clothing, accessories, cosmetics and knick-knacks. Locals and vendors haggle over the price of giant crab and huge, red, octopus tentacles, so large they seem unreal.
Explore Tokyo’s oldest temple, an ancient Buddhist site established in 628AD after two brothers discovered a statue of the Bodhisattva Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy. Since then, Sensoji has grown into a symbol of peace and renewal. In the courtyard, a tree hit by a bomb during World War II air raids has regrown around its once destroyed core, embracing the past to sprout a new beginning.
Amezaiku (Traditional Sweets)
On your journey to Yanasen, be sure to stop at nearby Amezaiku, Yoshihara, a tiny store where artisan candy makers create traditional sweets in the shape of animals. Outlawed in the 20th century, the art of Amezaiku now requires an apprenticeship and many years of practice to perfect.
Gently cruising along the Sumida River, water buses transport passengers past views of Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree, the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Gate Bridge. Journey from Asakusa to Odaiba and play nostalgic games in a retro arcade or continue on to Kasai Rinkai Park to wander wide open spaces and ride the ferris wheel.
The neofuturistic Tokyo Skytree stands as the world’s tallest tower and a tribute to the city’s bright future. Ascend the spiral skywalk to reach the highest view point and soak in sprawling views of Tokyo, a vivid web of life below interrupted only by the jagged edges of snow-capped Mt Fuji jutting from the Earth.
As the last cars clear the intersection and the pedestrian traffic lights change from red to green, Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing comes alive. A teaming sea of people fill the gaps between the black and white zebra crossing, surging in every direction. Nab a window seat view at a cafe overlooking the intersection, if you can, and scope the scramble from above.
Hantei (Kushiage Restaurant)
Take a seat inside the beautifully maintained, wooden interior of Hantei, a centuries-old house turned restaurant. The specialty here is kushiage, delectable skewers of carefully prepared meats and vegetables, deep-fried to golden perfection, served with sides and, if you like, an ice-cold Kirin. Don’t worry about ordering, skewers are brought out in rounds of six, stopping only after you say so.
Umezono (Japanese Sweets)
Sink your teeth into 160 years of Japanese history at Umezono. Step through the white curtain, or noren, framing the entry, bearing the original mark of the store since its opening in 1854, and explore a world of traditional Japanese sweets. Be sure to sample Umezono’s specialty, awa zenzai, served with mochi, half-melted and gooey from the steamy, sweet, red bean porridge.