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Tokyo is a location where the urgent rhythms of consumer culture collide with the quieter moments that linger from older customs. It's feverish madness leavened by the most Zenic of calmnesses.

The sheer point of energy is the most striking expression of Japan's capital city. Tokyo is a location where the urgent rhythms of consumer culture collide with the quieter moments that linger from older customs. It's feverish madness leavened by the most Zenic of calmnesses.

While it's true the exciting vibe has a somewhat depressing flip side - shoebox living accommodations estates and office blocks traversed by overhead freeways crowded with traffic - Tokyo remains a glittering example of the "miracle" of post-WWII Japan.

What makes Tokyo intriguing is the tension between mammoth scale and meticulous detail. Sightseeing in its streets can be a neon assault that leaves you elated and breathless, or an encounter with the exquisite art of understatement. Jump aboard the subway and see how one city is actually many.

Feeding is half the fun of being in Japan, and the adventuresome foodie will be enjoyed to know that nihon ryori (Japanese food) is far more than the sushi, tempura and sukiyaki for which it is best known in other nations: there are over 20 different forms of Japanese cooking to sample.

It isn't difficult to find something to keep you out of trouble in Tokyo. Or take you into it. Whether it's kabuki (popular Japanese theatre) or karaoke, izakaya (half restaurant-half pub) or hot-spring hopping, the Big Umeboshi - the "Giant Sour Plum" - has it all, all year around.

If you stay in Tokyo or additional major city for one week or longest, gaijin houses (also known as guesthouses) are an cheap accommodation option worth considering. The minimal fee term is commonly one month, but some houses likewise provide weekly or possibly daily rates.



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