Tokyo (Yokohama)

Tokyo – the city of Hello Kitty and Godzilla, and the capital of Japan. Having been left in ruins after the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake and extensive firebombing during the Second World War, Tokyo has been rebuilt with modern and contemporary architecture, with few older buildings remaining. Even the Imperial Palace was destroyed in the War, but rebuilt in the same style so its history can still be appreciated.

The Port of Yokohama is the gateway to Tokyo, and it has a handful of attractions itself: the Museum of Art, NYK Maritime Museum, the liner Hikawa Maru, the Foreigners Cemetery and Sankei-en Garden are all worth a visit.

Tokyo itself offers a veritable mixture of sights and experiences. Highlights include the famous annual cherry blossom which is popular with both locals and visitors; Tsukiji Fish Market; Koishikawa Korakuen, a beautiful landscape garden next to the Tokyo Dome; the Ginza District, with its department stores and boutiques, restaurants and coffeehouses, and Nakano Broadway for shopping and anime enthusiasts; the Imperial Palace, and the Imperial East Gardens; the Sensoji Temple; the Tokyo Skytree which, at 634m offers fantastic views from its observation decks; the Edo-Tokyo Museum; the Institute for Nature, a quiet nature reserve in the middle of Tokyo offering some tranquillity and natural beauty; and the Ghibli Museum showcasing the Ghibli animation film studio’s history. Or you could always take a Bullet Train to Osaka, Mount Fiji, Kyoto, Nara or Hiroshima! The Bullet Train works especially well combined as part of a pre- or post-cruise programme, as there are two- or three-day rail tours to some of these destinations to fully appreciate the experience.

Tokyo is renowned for its sublime cuisine, and holds the most Michelin stars for its restaurants. However there are other ways to experience Japanese culture: you can take classes in traditional Japanese activities such as Wadaiko (Japanese drumming), origami, Ikebana (flower arranging), or bonsai cultivation. Such classes would ensure a special Japanese experience which you won’t forget!

Tokyo is a fascinating and unique city as it is renowned – not just for its stunning examples of modern architecture, or traditional Shinto or Buddhist temples, or the Imperial Palace, or even for its world famous cuisine – for its eclectic youth sub cultures and street fashion, with Lolita and Gyaru styles perhaps being the most popular currently. It is a lively and animated city, yet still reveres traditions and good manners.