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Tokyo, Japan (population 12.8 million), is a destination for both leisure and business travel. Traditional culture coexists with modern culture here.

On Tokyo vacations, you can experience Japanese history and traditions in the Asakusa and Ryogoku areas. Shibuya and Akihabara neighborhoods showcase Japanese pop culture and modern fashions.

Luxury Tokyo hotels

Tokyo accommodations range from five-star to budget. There are more than 2,000 Tokyo lodgings, with more than 131,000 rooms. New Tokyo hotels include Conrad Tokyo, Mandarin Oriental, Ritz Carlton Tokyo, Peninsula Tokyo and Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo.

Luxury Tokyo hotels include Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo. Located near Shinjuku Station, it has 1,440 rooms with 22 suites, offering views of Tokyo. The Keio Plaza features nearly two dozen bars and restaurants, a sky pool, fitness room and free high-speed Internet.

A landmark hotel, built in 1890, the Imperial Hotel Tokyo overlooks the Imperial Palace gardens, the Ginza and Tokyo central business district. All rooms have free high-speed VDSL broadband Internet connections.

Hotel New Otani Tokyo is surrounded by 10 acres of Japanese gardens. Executive House ZEN, on the 11th and 12th floors of The Main section of the central Tokyo hotel, offers exclusive services. The New Otani has 40 restaurants and 100 shops.

Grand Pacific Le Daiba is located on the man-made island Daiba and connected to central Tokyo by Yurikamome monorail from Shimbashi. Selected guest rooms and suites offer views of Tokyo, beyond the Rainbow Bridge.

Hotel Pacific Tokyo is a three-minute walk from Shinagawa Station. The 954-room hotel features a Japanese garden and 10 restaurants and bars.

Air Canada Vacations offers Tokyo accommodations in The Strings by InterContinental and ANA Intercontinental Tokyo. Both hotels are five-star.

Tokyo Conference Center, Shinagawa, is located at The Strings by InterContinental. The Sengakuji Temple, Shinagawa Aquarium, Tsukiji fish market and Shibuya shops are nearby. ANA Intercontinental Tokyo is located in Ark Hills, near Akasaka, Roppongi, Kasumigaseki, the Imperial Palace, Senso-ji Temple, Mori Art Museum and Ginza shopping.

Budget Tokyo hotels

For affordable places to stay in Tokyo, consider city hotels, guest houses, monthly apartments and ryokan. These Japanese-style hotels range from very small family-run inns to large, traditional Japanese hotels.

Ryokan Kangetsu, for example, has 70 Japanese-style and Western-style rooms, just a two-minute walk from Chidoricho station, on Tokyo Ikegami Line. Andon Ryokan, near Minowa Station, is decorated with Japanese antiques. Yojohan (four and a half tatami-sized rooms) have DVD players and Internet access.

For cheap Tokyo hotels, Capsule Inns, such as Capsule Hotel Asakusa Riverside, are popular with backpackers. Tokyo International Hostel, near Iidabashi Station, also has cheap accommodations.

Tokyo vacation packages

JTB International (Canada) offers Tokyo tours, Japan travel packages and excursions, discount flight tickets, transfers, expert guides, cell phone rental, Japan Rail passes and many other visitor services. The JTB Taste of Tokyo tour, for example, includes hotel accommodations, a Tokyo city tour, tea ceremony, Sumida River cruise, Tokyo Tower Observatory admission and onsen (hot springs) in Hakone.

Through Sunrise Tours, JTB offers hundreds of sightseeing excursions, travel packages and festival tours. Popular Tokyo tours include Tokyo gardens (Happo-en and Chinzanso), Ghibli Museum (Hayao Miyazaki's Animation World), a sumo tour and Tokyo tournament with chanko (sumo wrestlers' stew) dinner and Tokyo nightlife Mukojima Geisha tour.

On Sunrise Tours Hands-on Japan excursions, you learn about calligraphy, tea ceremonies, ninja, samurai, sumo training and how to make sushi. You can dress in a kimono, a ninja costume or samurai armor, visit the Anime Center in Akihabara and participate in an incense ceremony.

Cultural tours

H.I.S. (Canada) also offers cultural tours to visitors on a Tokyo holiday. You can study Aikido (Japanese martial arts), learn to draw kanji characters, take Japanese cooking classes and learn how to make soba (buckwheat noodles).

You can also book music, arts and crafts cultural experiences with H.I.S. (Canada). Most classes are half-day and accessible from main areas of Tokyo. Courses include sumi-e (ink and wash painting), washi (handmade Japanese paper) art, taiko drumming and shamisen (Japanese three-stringed instrument) lessons.

Knt! Kintetsu International, another travel agency in Tokyo, creates individual programs to learn about Japanese culture. You can take lessons in ikebana (traditional flower arranging), learn where and how to buy Japanese antiques in Tokyo and visit a wagashi (Japanese confectionary) store to learn how to make Japanese sweets.

Tokyo travel information

The Tourism Division of Tokyo Metropolitan Government publishes several useful information brochures in English for visitors on Tokyo vacations and business trips.

Their Tokyo map includes information on how to get to Tokyo islands, a detailed street map of Central Tokyo, showing hotels and tourist attractions, a route map for the Tokyo Metro subway lines, a map of Tokyo suburbs, with JR line and tourist spots, phone numbers for Tokyo Tourist Information Offices, transportation offices and business hours.

The Tokyo Handy Guide describes the location, admission fees and opening hours for gardens, museums, amusement parks and other tourist attractions in Tokyo neighborhoods. It also provides information on Tokyo cruises, rail, subway, streetcar and bus passes, walking tours and a yubisashi (pointing) translation guide for English to Japanese phrases.

The Tokyo So Old, So New, So Tokyo brochure describes Tokyo neighborhoods, including Ryogoku, known for the Kokugikan sumo stadium. It also provides information about the Shitamachi Bus, the best tour for first-time visitors. A Toei Bus one-day pass allows unlimited travel to districts like Akihabara, where you will find the Tokyo Anime Center.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government also publishes a guide for tour guide services, in seven languages, with costs and durations. Tours include Streets of Shinjuku and Underground Department Stores, Japanese Architecture and Diet Building tour and Streets of Harajuku and Meiji Jingu Shrine.

Tokyo gardens

A Guide to Metropolitan Gardens lists opening hours and dates, prices, phone numbers and information on how to get to the gardens. It also provides maps for Rikugien Gardens, Kiyosumi Gardens, Hama-rikyu and other Tokyo gardens.

Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture publishes a Guide to the City's Museums and Cultural Facilities. It includes a map, showing Tokyo Metro stations for museums, like the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum and the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum.

For each museum, the guide lists hours, admission fee, facilities, including shops and restaurants, phone number, website, exhibitions and Tokyo sightseeing attractions near the museum.

Tokyo Culture Creation Project Office publishes a Tokyo event calendar, which lists music, arts, film, theater, children's activities and traditional performing arts, with dates and locations. Special events include Tokyo festivals, such as the Tokyo Traditional Performing Arts Festival, Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony and Tokyo Music Circle.


Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau: www.tcvb.or.jp/en/

More things to see & do in Tokyo:

Guide to Japan

Tokyo Encounter

Japan Guidebook

Tokyo Cultural Tours