Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Tokyo

Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:08am EDT
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By Nigel Hilditch

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - Bustling and beguiling -- Tokyo is one of the world's biggest, and most influential, cities and a place where old and new sit easily side by side.

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors to the Japanese capital get the most out of a short stay.


1 p.m. - Start with some traditional spirituality -- the Buddhist temple of Senso-ji, in the old downtown quarter of Asakusa, has stood on the same spot for over a thousand years. Wander down Nakamise-dori shopping street toward the main temple, stopping to try the delicious sembei rice crackers. When you reach the large smoke-engulfed bronze cauldron in front of the temple, do as the locals do and rub the smoke billowing out from incense sticks against your body for good health.

2 p.m. - Lunch at Edokko (meaning child of Edo - the old name for Tokyo), a famous restaurant serving the Asakusa district's specialty of tempura. Be sure to try the shrimp.

3 p.m. - A few stops away on the train is Tokyo's world-famous electronics district, Akihabara. Value for money depends on the exchange rate but its cutting edge technology that you're really looking for - gadgets that the rest of the world won't get for another 12 months. Explore the back streets as well as the main road. This is where you'll find the otaku, Japanese uber-nerds whose lives revolve around comic books and computers.

6 p.m. - Time to head across town to another Tokyo landmark, the New York Bar at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Shinjuku ( Famed for its incredible views of the city, this is where Bill Murray met Scarlett Johansson in the movie "Lost in Translation."

8 p.m. - From the lofty heights of the Park Hyatt to the backstreets of Shinjuku station for dinner. Omoide-yokocho is a narrow alley crammed full of yakitori or grilled chicken skewer restaurants where you can sit and soak up the atmosphere with a bottle of sake. The reflection of the surrounding neon signs in the puddles of the alley apparently inspired the set design of Ridley Scott's movie "Blade Runner."   Continued...

<p>A view of Tokyo from Japan's first Hermes helicopter, designed by the French luxury brand in conjunction with Eurocopter, as it flies over Tokyo in the evening, August 7, 2009. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao</p>