Big City Tales

Exploring Tokyo’s Ultimate Metropolitan Prefecture Status | March 11, 2013

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Mount Fuji’s ancient peak looms large in the distance of Tokyo’s ultra-modern skyline.

Talk about the ultimate big city…correction: make that ultimate metropolitan prefecture!

Whatever you want to call it, there’s no denying that Tokyo is one incredibly big land mass. In fact, Tokyo ranks as the largest and most populated metropolitan area in Japan and the world, is considered to be one of the world’s most livable cities, and is also home to the most Fortune 500 companies, among other notable distinctions.

Yes, with a host of ‘the most’ superlative phrases attached to Japan’s capital, Tokyo is definitely a region worthy of exploring, and it’s not just the immense urban sprawl to check out.

A Blend of Old and New

Japanese culture is on full display with brightly coloured pagoda-like hotels and museums, lush green spaces and walkways lined with fragrant cherry trees, and sites such as the serene Imperial Palace and sacred temples that seamlessly co-exist alongside the more modern super-structures that Tokyo’s landscape has become known for.

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Pagodas add a traditional touch to Tokyo’s landscape.

A Bite of Gastronomic Heaven

And, if you thought Tokyo was just a haven for traditional sushi fare, there’s more than just a slice of Toro nigiri (tuna belly) waiting to delight your taste buds. Indeed, Tokyo has its fair share of Michelin star restaurants offering diners a truly international smorgasbord of flavours and cuisines.

A Bevy of Islands and National Parks

Tokyo’s eastern border extends far offshore into the waters of Tokyo Bay,  encompassing the volcanic Izu Islands chain that includes part of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and the Ogasawara Islands that includes Iwo Jima, famous for the Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima photograph taken during World War II.

Ogasawara National Park is a world UNESCO Heritage Site; while back on the mainland, Ueno Park is recognized for its world-class museums, spring-time cherry blossoms, and the millions of visitors who come to the park to participate in the ancient practice of hanami (flower viewing).

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The annual cherry blossom (sakura) season draws large crowds to Tokyo’s Ueno Park.

A Bit of This, A Bit of That

Considering the sheer size of Tokyo and diversity of its landscape, visitors are bound to find something that appeals to their interests, satisfies their appetites, and captures their imaginations.  For the best of what the `land of the rising sun`has to offer, set your sights on Tokyo!

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