Layer upon glowing layer, Tokyo has a heartbeat of its own.
“Kami” is the Shinto word for ‘life force‘ or ‘spirit.’ It is the intangible layer that binds all things – both natural and man-made; both traditional and contemporary. From Shinto shrines to skyscrapers, or pink kimonos to pink hair, there is no better place to experience this vibrant aliveness than in the metropolis known as Tokyo.
Tokyo is broken into many, many districts: Akibahara – “Electric City;” Omotesando – high-end shopping district, Shibuya, Ginza, etc. While you can find a neighborhood for everything, no visit to Tokyo is complete without a visit to Harijuku. Every trip in this urban safari is like a box of green tea chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get.
You can find a large amount of Buddhist and Shinto temples in Tokyo. One of the biggest and most celebrated is the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo. Nakamise-Dori, an incredibly lively street packed with shops, leads you up to the temple’s main gate.
One thing you will learn very quickly in Tokyo is that as lovely as this city is, it is extremely expensive – and that includes public transportation. Instead of bleeding green, go green and bike around the city instead. While not for everyone, Tokyo is very biker friendly despite the high volume of cars and pedestrians.
“Off the Beaten Path”:
You can go to a sumo match and spend the grand sum(o) of a lot of money. Or, you can arrange to watch a sparing session in a local sumo school. There are tons of them in Tokyo in the Ryogoku district.
Go to a Kushiyaki House. NO QUESTION. Kushiyaki (or Yakitori) houses are Japanese pubs where they serve you ice cold pints of Japanese beer with grilled meat shiskabobs. For some delicious Kushiyaki food, check out Gonpachi: a Yakitori house recognized for inspiring the House of Blue Leaves in Kill Bill vol 1.