Tokyo
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Taxis

Taxis aren't the most efficient way of getting around in Tokyo. Firstly, the traffic can be unpredictable and secondly, they can cost a fortune. Most cars accept credit card, so you can imagine how quickly the fares rack up! Most drivers don't speak English, so unless you have a map or a translator, it might be easier to skip taxis.

Buses

Buses aren't the easiest method of transportation for a non-Japanese speaker, but if you're feeling adventurous and fancy a cheap whizz around the city, buses may just fit the bill. Maps of major bus routes are available from Tokyo Tourist Information Centres.

Subway

The subway and the JR train are notorious for rush hour crowding. Stations even employ a 'platform pusher' who will literally push people into carriages to make more space for the throngs of people. The trains are very user-friendly, though many stations don't use English signs. Where possible find out which exit you need to take, particularly in Shinjuku where there are more than 60 possible exits.

Boat

If you want to see Tokyo from an alternative perspective, a boat trip from Hama Rikyu Garden, Odaiba or Hinode Pier will take you to Asakusa in around 40 minutes.

Sumo wrestling

When in Japan, it seems foolish not to experience a little of the local culture. And what could be more entertaining than sumo wrestling? Ryogoku Kokugikan is Tokyo's National Sumo Hall and features regular fights. Aim for the weekend fights, which are busier and have more atmosphere. It's wise to book in advance if you want to experience every clinch and every ripple of flesh from close range.

Sensoji Temple

Tourists and worshippers alike flock in their hundreds to Sensoji Temple every day. Undoubtedly Tokyo's most famous, colourful and beautiful temple, it is also the oldest in the city having been built around 645AD.

Harajuku Bridge

People-watching is never more fun than when you're in Tokyo. Harajuku is one of the liveliest spots for a few photo opportunities. A favourite hang-out of Tokyo's young, cool and quirky crowd, it's always teeming with Japanese kids dressed in gothic outfits, manga-inspired get-ups, doll-themed costumes, ridiculous wigs and anything else you can imagine.

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

You'll probably recognise pictures of this stunning green space, even if the name isn't familiar. If you're lucky enough to visit during cherry blossom season, in late March and early April, you will be treated to a spectacular display. When you need a break from the culture, chaos and sheer enormity of Tokyo, you might want to make Shinjuku your spot to regroup. Expect a small entrance charge when you reach the gates.

DAY 1

Shibuya makes a great base, and the perfect spot in which to begin getting acquainted with Tokyo. The trendy shopping heart of the city, it's the perfect place to spot Harajuku fashions while you shop. There are plenty of dining options in the area too. While you're here, be sure to scramble your way across the world-famous Shibuya crossing and explore the Meiji Jingu shrine. The nightlife here is legendary, so stay on and hit the karaoke bars to round up the evening.

DAY 3

Head to the fashion-lover's first port of call in Tokyo, Ginza, for a day of browsing galleries and boutiques, checking out Tokyo's Champe de Elyse and the Sony Building. If you're not so fashion-inclined, Akihabara is just a few stops away on the Ginza line and makes a great spot for browsing the latest gadgets and gizmos long before they hit our shores.

DAY 2

Explore Tokyo's impressive skyline from above by heading to the observation deck of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. On a clear, early morning you may even be able to see Mt Fuji. Next, head to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden where, even if it's not cherry blossom season, you'll be treated to some of the prettiest green space in Tokyo. After an afternoon spent shopping for weird and wonderful clothes, finish your evening by exploring some of the area's mass of ramen restaurants.

DAY 4

Make your fourth and final day a cultural one. Start by taking in some East Asian art and archaeology at the Tokyo National Museum in Taito before enjoying a lunch and wander around the surrounding street markets. Later, head to Ryogoku Kokugikan to see a bout of sumo wrestling and end with a few rounds of beer at the famous Asahi Beer Hall in Sumida, recognisable by the golden flame atop it designed by Philippe Starck back in 1989.

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