Didem Doğan

Tokyo & Kyoto, an introduction

Do you want to stay on earth but travel to a different planet? You can go to Japan! From the outside it may look like a technologically advanced, rich, modern but traditional Asian country, but everything is hidden in the details. When you are there pay attention to every thing you see, you will then realise that from the salt on the table to the chestnut package you buy on the street everything is in an aesthetic harmony; from the gate keeper on the subway to the cleaner every one moves with a responsibility; there is hardly an imperfection you may notice, it is like a hidden common sense to make things good, clean, beautiful, simple and functional… You will arrive one of the two international airports: Haneda or Narita, you can go to the city centre by metro, in fact your whole trip in Japan can be realised without taking a taxi as the country is well connected by a perfect rail system. We would recommend to spare your time more to Kyoto than Tokyo. Tokyo, since it was destroyed during the Second World War is not a historical city, whereas Kyoto is full of temples well protected and there are so many of them you will not be able to visit them all; it is a true treasure made of temples and gardens. Some sightseeing recommendations in Tokyo: visit the historical neighbourhoods, Imperial Palace area Chiyoda, the Asakusa neighbourhood to see the temple, take a ferry on the Sumida River, hop off in Hamarikyu Gardens, take the exit to Ginza neighbourhood, the most chic place in the city. Spend an entire day in Museums district of Roppongi to visit the Mori Art Museum, National Art Center, Suntory Art Museum. Go to Edo Tokyo Museum to see the replicas of old time Edo period. Taste ramen and sushi, it may be one of the most expensive cities of the world but budget options are always available in Tokyo. As for Kyoto, if you are a biker it is the perfect place to discover the city on bike: spare one day to Western part and another day to the Easter part of the city. The Arashiyama district is a bit far from centre so you will need to take a bus. You can make a day trip to Nara, to the imperial capital. The most challenging thing in Japan is that you will hardly find English signs, you may get lost several times, but in many places there’s free Wi-fi which makes it easier to navigate. And finally if you are a solo traveler you will travel to one of the safest places on earth.