The Half-Day Holiday: Tokyo

A long layover, a short business meeting or a few unexpected hours of free time could equal an opportunity to answer emails or upload your expense report. But who wants to work when there’s a world of cultural curiosities outside your door? Whether you’ve got a few minutes or a few hours, here’s what we recommend for a Half-Day Holiday in some of the top 10 most-visited cities in the world.

Among the most visited cities in the world by business travelers, Tokyo tops yet another list: the most expensive. While Tokyo might make travel managers cringe with thoughts of sumo-sized expense bills, it is a place full of other extremes as well: extremely great food, extremely unique experiences and extremely amazing culture.

But how can business travelers see the land of manga, samurai, sushi and haute-couture fashion in just a few hours – without being overwhelmed by throngs of tourists? To start, download the Hyperdia application to help with navigation and purchase some kais?ken subway tickets from the station kiosk. Now you’re on your way to enjoying a Half-Day Holiday in colorful Tokyo.

History enthusiast

Tokyo is a modern city. It’s a phenom with tall glass buildings, bright, colorful signs, bullet trains and sprawling districts. However, it’s still possible to find traditional Japan and the remnants of Edo, the Shogun capital city that expired at the turn of the 20th century. Two spots not to miss: the Imperial Palace and Meiji-jing?, each located in Central Tokyo. Make arrangements prior to arrival so you can join the tour of the Imperial Palace. And when you’re ready for a beautiful, natural get-away from the hustle and bustle of the city, head to Meiji-jing?, the resting place of Emperor Meiji.

 

Fashionista walking tour

Missing that hustle bustle? Head back into Harajuku station to see the outrageous style of the Harajuku fashionistas as you cross the bridge to Omotesand?, a street crowded with funky shops and boutiques. Keep walking until you reach Aoyama district, where you will find the high-end design houses, such as Prada and Comme de Garçon. The modern architecture along this walk sets a modern tone for the futuristic haute-couture stores.

Modern art lover

While you’re on a modern urban tour, keep going to the Roppongi district. Japanese modern art museums and galleries hail from Roppongi (pronounced r?-pôn-j?), including the National Art Center Tokyo, Mori Art Museum and the Suntory Museum of Art.

Another option is to visit the Tokyo National Museum in the Ueno district. The gem of the museum is the Gallery of Horyu-ji Treasures. This gallery houses over 300 objects from the Horyu-ji temple located in Nara. Another treasure is the building design itself, done by the famous Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi.

Sake and sushi and more

If all this walking and touring has you famished, hit a izakaya, a Japanese-style pub. For a quick bite, just look for the distinct red lantern hanging above the door.

But for the freshest sushi in town, get up at the crack of dawn and visit the Tsukiji fish market. The market houses the largest daily wholesale trade of seafood in the world and is truly a site to behold. Located directly opposite the market’s fish section is a row of sushi stalls where the fish is delivered from the market some few hundred yards away. If you are looking for the sushi experience of a lifetime and don’t mind spending a good chunk of change to get it, make a reservation at Sukiyabashi Jiro’s restaurant at Tokyo Station. Don’t let the somewhat odd subway location fool you; this place is legendary in a city second to none for sushi.

Got tips for Tokyo? We’d love to read about them in the comments section.

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