Tokyo is the capital of Japan. At over 12 million people in the official metropolitan area alone, Tokyo is the core of the most populated urban area in the world, Greater Tokyo (which has a population of 35 million people). This huge, wealthy and fascinating metropolis brings high-tech visions of the future side by side with glimpses of old Japan, and has something for everyone.
Huge and varied in its geography, with over 2,000 square kilometres to explore, Tokyo Metropolis spans not just the city, but rugged mountains to the west and subtropical islands to the south.
Tokyo has a vast array of sights, but the first items on the agenda of most visitors are the temples of Asakusa, the gardens of the Imperial Palace (in Chiyoda) and the Meiji Shrine.
Tokyo has many commercial centres for shopping, eating and simply wandering around for experiencing the modern Japanese urban phenomenon. Each of these areas have unique characteristics, such as dazzling Shinjuku, youthful Shibuya and upmarket Ginza. These areas are bustling throughout the day, but they really come into life in the evenings.
If you’re looking for a viewing platform, the Tokyo Tower is the best known and offers an impressive view, even if it’s rather overpriced. The highest spot in Tokyo is the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building (in effect, Tokyo’s City Hall) in Shinjuku. Its twin towers have viewing platforms that are absolutely free, and offer a great view over Tokyo and beyond. However, the best option would probably be from the World Trade Center Building (10:00-20:00, or 21:00 in July and August, 620 yen) at JR Hamamatsucho station which, although not as high, offers stunning views of Tokyo Tower and the waterfront due to its excellent location, especially at dusk. A recent addition to the viewing platforms around Tokyo is Tokyo City View in Roppongi Hills, Roppongi — admission is a steep ¥1500, but includes admission to the Mori Art Museum. Another good option, if you don’t mind traffic noise and smell, is the Rainbow Bridge at Odaiba, whose pedestrian walkways are free. The night-time view across Tokyo Bay is impressive but the walkways close at 8:00PM. Also, on a clear day, the Bunkyo Civic Center (next to the Tokyo Dome) offers an iconic view of Shinjuku against Mt. Fuji (especially great at sunset), also free.
The city is dotted with museums, large and small, which center on every possible interest from pens to antique clocks to traditional and modern arts. Many of the largest museums are clustered around Ueno. At ¥500 to ¥1,000 or more, entrance fees can add up quickly.
Riding Sky Bus Tokyo, an open-top double-decker operated by Hinomaru Limousine (every hour between 10AM and 6PM), is a good option to take a quick tour around the city center. The 45 minutes bus ride on the “T-01 course” will take you around the Imperial Palace via Ginza and Marunouchi district, showing the highlight of Tokyo’s shopping and business center. The fare is ¥1,500 for adults of 12 years old and over, and ¥700 for children between 4 and 11 years old. You can borrow a multi-language voice guide system free of charge upon purchasing a ticket, subject to stock availability. Four other bus courses are offered, including a night trip to Odaiba, but those trips are conducted in Japanese with no foreign language guidance.
Eat a sushi breakfast at the Tsukiji Fish Market.
Take a boat ride on the Sumida River from Asakusa.
Lose yourself in the dazzling neon jungle outside major train stations in the evenings. Shibuya and east Shinjuku at night can make Times Square or Piccadilly Circus look rural in comparison — it has to be seen to be believed.
Enjoy a soak in a local “sento” or public bath. Or one of the onsen theme parks such as LaQua at the Tokyo Dome (Bunkyo) or Oedo Onsen Monogatari in Odaiba.
Go to an amusement park such as Tokyo Disney Resort, which consists of Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea which are the world’s most visited and second most visited theme parks respectively, or the more Japanese Sanrio Puroland (in Tama), home to more Hello Kitties than you can imagine.
Check out the hip and young crowd at Harajuku’s Takeshita-Dori (Takeshita Street) or the more grown up Omotesando.
In the spring, take a boatride in Kichijoji’s lovely Inokashira Park, and afterwards visit the Ghibli Studios Museum (well-known for their amazing movies, like Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke), but you will need to buy tickets for these in advance at a Lawson convenience store.
Take the Yurikamome elevated train across the bay bridge from Shimbashi station to the bayside Odaiba district, and go on the giant ferris wheel — the largest in the world until recently.
Watch a baseball game, namely the Yomiuri Giants at the Tokyo Dome, or the Tokyo Yakult Swallows at Jingu Stadium. Nearby Chiba hosts the Chiba Lotte Marines.
Take a stroll through the Imperial Palace’s East Gardens (open to the public daily at 9AM, except Fridays and Mondays).
Have a picnic in a park during the cherry blossom (Sakura). Unfortunately Sakura only lasts for about a week in Spring. But be warned, parks are usually very crowded during this time.
(the above taken from http://wikitravel.org/en/Tokyo)
The Gay Scene
A city of vast contradictions, Tokyo’s gay scene is both of restrained and thriving.
Tokyo is separated into different wards, with Shinjuku being the most well-known and the most crowded. The gay community is continuously growing within the confines Shinjuku’s Ni-Chome neighbourhood. Seemingly straight by day Ni-Chome turns gay by night.
Ni-Chome is believed to have the highest concentration of gay bars anywhere in the world because of its small, dense area – a few small blocks intertwined into Shinjuku’s busy business, shopping and nightlife center. Though most bars welcome non-Japanese patrons the scene primarily caters for its Japanese regulars.
Many gay men still feel restrained by Japan’s strict, yet unspoken demand for social conformity that is only now beginning to soften when it comes to same-sex relationships. In a culture where homosexuality is ignored more than accepted, and where people are expected to marry into traditional marriages, many gay men choose to anonymously express their sexuality at bars in Ni-Chome.
However, Tokyo’s gay scene is not limited to Ni-Chome. A number of other areas have several gay bars. Such information can be found in the Otoko-machi Map (boy’s town map), a countrywide guide to Japanese gay establishments.