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Tokyo - Japan's most exciting city

by Shelly Awaya, editor

Tokyo, the capital of Japan is not just the country’s center of politics and business; it is also a cosmopolitan center of entertainment and a great place to shop. Its various hot spots attract residents and visitors from throughout Japan and around the world who come to see, play, eat, drink, and buy.

Tokyo covers 880 square miles with a population of 12 million people and about 26 amusements park, 19 zoos or aquariums, and 94 museums. Its various landmarks include the Tokyo Tower, Disney Land’s variety of amusements, Aqua City Odaiba for great shopping, the Shitamachi area, famous for thousands of restaurants with cuisine that ranges from traditional Japanese food to Asia and Europe, and a number of suburban towns, each with its own distinctive atmosphere and all popular with Japan’s young residents and visitors.


The best known landmark is Tokyo Tower, which has become a symbol of Tokyo for many residents of Japan’s other cities and for international visitors. More than 130 million people have visited since its opening in 1958. The Tower, located in the center of the city in the Minato-ku district, is 1,099 feet tall, higher than the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and has two observation platforms, one at 495 feet and one at 825 feet.

Tokyo Tower lights up from dusk to midnight with 164 floodlights. During spring, autumn, and winter, the lights are orange color and they change to a silver color in summer. The Tower also provides restaurants, an art gallery, an aquarium, gift shops and an information center.

The best known amusement park is Tokyo Disney Land, which is located in Chiba prefecture, outside of Tokyo. Tokyo Disney Land is a well-known amusement park internationally, and millions of people visit it everyday. This year, through Apr. 2004 it will hold various events during its 20th anniversary celebration. Tokyo Disney Sea is a new Disney there park, located next to Tokyo Disney Land where adventure and imagination are ocean themed.

There are thousands of shops in Tokyo including department stores, retails, fashion boutiques, shopping malls, discount shops, and outlet shops. Aqua City Odaiba is an entertainment-style shopping mall that is a combines restaurants and shops. It is located at Minato-ku by Tokyo Bay.
Aqua City Odaiba is a new hot spot and is popular as a date and family area. It provides six square miles for various restaurants including Hawaiian Bowl, Kua'aina, Chinnabon, Pietoro, Anna Millers, and Sushi, Tempra, Chinese, French, and Italian cuisines. It also provides various shops including the Disney store, Sanrio shop, HMV, Gap, J.Crew, Coach, and Sazaby.

Restaurants are everywhere in Tokyo, especially, in “Shitamachi” area, which is a traditional residential district. Tsukishima in Shitamachi area features foods such as “Monjyayaki” and “Okonomiyaki,” which Chibo at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping center serves. Tsukiji is a famous area for good sushi, as there is a fish market located in nearby Ginza. “Chyanko Nabe” is a special steam bowl for sumo wrestlers. Chyanko food restaurants are located at Ryougoku. Also, there are thousands of restaurants serving Chinese, French, Italian, Korean, Indian, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisines.

Moreover, there are lots of drinking places: bars, beer halls, Izakayas (Japanese-style bar), and Karaoke bars. Ebisu Beer Station is a famous German style beer hall, managed by the Sapporo Beer Co.

Tokyo’s fashionable suburbs are popular for young people. These include Roppongi, Ginza, Harajuku, Aoyama, Shibuya, and Shinjuku. Each town presents a different atmosphere. There are various hot nightspots in Roppongi including clubs, restaurants, and bars such as Hard Rock Café Tokyo.

Ginza, famous for buildings in the art nouveau style, has are many traditional high-class department stores and restaurants.

Harajuku and Aoyama are fashion towns full of various brand-name boutiques. The younger generation dress in an eccentric style in Harajuku, while the adult generation dresses in high-fashion style in Aoyama.

Shibuya and Shinjyuku are entertainment towns. There are varieties of department stores, restaurants, cafés, bars, movie theaters, game centers, and clubs. Many teenagers enjoy hanging out in Shibuya and Shinjuku at night.

Tokyo has a lot of places to visit and is both Japan’s most a trendy city as well as its preserve of Japan’s traditional culture and taste.


2004, Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.
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