Trip Tips: In search of lost time in high-speed Tokyo

Mon Dec 1, 2014 10:38am EST
 
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By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo is a place of pulsing clubs, steep-roofed temples, narrow lanes packed with smoky restaurants where meat sizzles on grills and karaoke pubs whose yowled anthems spill into the streets.

Tradition can be hard to find amid the lanes and towers of the metropolis of 13 million, the headquarters of corporations such as Sony and host of the 2020 Summer Olympics, mainly due to its reputation as a spick-and-span place that gets things done.

But a little time, and a willingness to wander, lead to backstreets where blocks of tofu bob in vats of water, tatami mat-makers ply their trade and customers line up in front of ramen shops eager to slurp noodles from steaming bowls.

Here are tips for getting the most out of a trip to Tokyo from Reuters, whose 2,600 journalists in all parts of the world offer visitors the best local insights.

RIVER RAMBLES

The Sumida river, a major artery in Edo, as Tokyo was once known, has featured in ukiyo-e woodblock prints, swathed in snow or illuminated by summer fireworks displays. View such prints at the Ota Memorial Museum. (here)

Though the river, surrounded by concrete, is less lovely today, a ferry ride from Hinode Pier up to Asakusa is still fun. The boat glides under numerous bridges past landmarks such as Tsukuda, known for centuries as the home of "tsukudani", a dish of meat, seafood or seaweed simmered in soy sauce and mirin, then dabbed onto steaming white rice.   Continued...

 
People visit Sensoji (C), the Asakusa Kannon Buddhist temple, at Asakusa district in Tokyo November 28, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino