The Juxtapositions Of Tokyo

Tokyo is a city of contradictions on a memorising scale. Ancient shrines are a stone’s throw away from futuristic robot shows, cutting edge sky-scrapers flank miniature lanes, while suited and booted commuters roll into metro stations filled with rebellious teenage punks and maids.
Tokyo is certainly one of the world’s must-see cities, and luckily for us, it is superbly connected with many Chinese cities, thus making it a very appealing destination.
In terms of low cost airlines, Spring Airlines operates a route from Shanghai Pudong to Tokyo’s Ibaraki Airport for less than RMB 2,000 return. However, do be aware that Ibaraki Airport is about a 90 minute drive from the centre of Tokyo.
The cheap airfares are a welcome surprise, as is the relative affordability of food and public transport. Increasing prices in China mean paying RMB 30 for a bowl of ramen noodles, or RMB 100 for a sushi dinner, is not the shock to the wallet that Tokyo once was.
Although one of the most densely populated cities on earth, you will likely find Tokyo’s scale and hustle interesting, as opposed to overwhelming, and the lively neon lit streets not a world away from Hong Kong’s Wan Chai or Shanghai’s Nanjing Road.
The major difference between Tokyo and some of Asia’s other mega-cities is the efficient, calm and respectful tone and infrastructure that underlies the day-today happenings. The trains run on time, your food arrives hot, fast and with a smile and there’s almost no street crime.
Its efficiency rivals that of Singapore or  Frankfurt, but Tokyo has another side; one which raises its head at night, in a wild and vibrant fashion, in districts like Shinjuku, Roppongi and Golden Gai. These district are full of KTV bars run by drag queens, nightclubs full of locals, as well as expats, and all kinds of themed cafes. Tokyo’s wild and exotic nightlife cannot be compared to any of its contemporaries, and seems to have something that will appeal to everyone, from business travellers to backpackers.
A popular spot for local yuppies is Two Rooms, a rooftop bar, serving sensational cocktails. We recommend knocking back a couple of espresso martinis before heading on to the clubs of Roppongi, Tokyo’s main clubbing district. The clubs there are big, loud, busy and booming, quite a contrast to other bars in the city, usually consisting of one bar counter with six seats, which once filled, leave little room for breathing.
The upside of being packed in like sardines is that you make friends with the clientele very quickly, and within minutes, get wrapped up in the atmosphere of kanbais and karaoke!
The city offers the intrepid visitor a plethora of attractions to check out. Get your bearings for the city with a trip up the Tokyo Tower. Though a slightly tacky tribute to Paris’ Eiffel Tower, it is an opportunity for 360- degree views over the city. Alternatively, head up the Tokyo Sky Tree, the world’s tallest free-standing tower, at 634 metres, for more incredible views.
The Meiji Shrine in Shibuya, surrounded by a dense forest, allows for a peaceful break from the throb of the city, as does Imperial Palace East Gardens. Both offer an insightful look at the country’s majestic history, well worth exploring during your downtime. However, the inner buildings of the Imperial Palace are unfortunately only open to the masses on certain public holidays, so make sure you check beforehand for the best time to visit.
The variety of tourist attractions in Tokyo, as well as its high-level of safety, make the city an ideal family destination. There’s a museum in Tokyo to suit any interest, and the Fire Museum, Museum of Maritime Science and the Railway Museum are sure to keep the kids entertained. The newly opened Railway Museum in Saitama was our favourite, and will definitely keep inquisitive little minds racing. 
If combining your weekend in Tokyo with an adjoining business trip, then we recommend staying at the Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo. Occupying the top 11 floors of the Marunouchi Tower, right next to Tokyo Station, it’s situated in the city’s most strategic location for both business and leisure.
As well as a spa, lounge, conference and ballroom facilities, the hotel boasts two outstanding restaurants. We dined at the Nadaman restaurant, which has a modern and chic atmosphere. The food was the best we experienced during our stay in Tokyo, and was prepared by seasoned Japanese chefs. The team is particularly proud of their Foie Gras Egg Custard with Truffle Sauce, which was uniquely delicate yet rich. Also highly recommend is the restaurant’s take on beef shabu shabu, sliced Wagyu beef sirloin with assorted vegetables cooked in a seaweed soup hot pot. A kaiseki dinner set is available for ¥17,000. The meal is a splurge, but certainly one you won’t forget!
If you are craving for the very freshest fish in the city, at slightly lower prices, then look no further than the Tsukiji Market. The daily catch arrives at this bustling market in the early hours of the morning, so arrive at around 5am for the early morning trading. Pick up a breakfast in any of the surrounding tiny establishments, which serve up mouth-watering sushi made from fish purchased just minutes before in the adjoining market.
Tokyo is one of the most exciting cities not just in Asia, but the world. Its endless choices of restaurants, hotels, bars and attractions make it a not-to-be-missed destination as well as a conveniently placed location. Whether you’re on a weekend jaunt from China, or on an extended trip around Japan, you are guaranteed to find something to excite, intrigue and marvel at in this urban metropolis.
The Imperial Hotel
Look i ng for a little indulgence? Why not stay at The Impe rial Hotel, pe rhaps the most celebrated of Tokyo’s five star hotels.
Since its founding in 1890, under the behest of Imperial Palace, its landmark buildings, which have been re-developed twice, have welcomed countless numbers of statesmen, royalty, fabled celebrities and helmsman of international commerce. Its exclusive location, overlooking the Imperial Palace and Hibiya Park, makes it a perfect base to explore all the sights Tokyo has to offer.
With 931 bedrooms as well as 17 restaurants and bars, the staff, comprising of about 2,000 people, ensure that the hotel can offer the same levels of service as that of a luxury boutique hotel, despite its grand size. Indeed, when we stayed here, it was clear, from speaking to any member of staff throughout the hotel, that service is at the heart of what makes The Imperial one of Tokyo’s more unique and distinctive hotels.
During your stay, you will be treated like royalty. After all, the hotel opened in 1890 as an unofficial state guesthouse. To this day, the hotel still has a whole department focused solely on protocol, with 125 years of experience to call upon in order to ensure that your stay is exactly as you expect it to be, and discrete enough for even the most important of VIPs.
The rooms exude Imperial tradition, which is quietly opulent, and all guests enjoy a welcome drink upon arrival served by staff who offer a level of service, which, even for Japan, will impress you. If visiting with family, we recommend taking a suite with adjacent bedrooms and pleasing cityscape views, but whatever your desires, the hotel will have a room to match.
Tokyo has no end of fantastic places to eat, but why not start at one of the hotel's indulgent restaurants. Their Michelin-starred Chef Theirry Voisin, originally from the threestarred Les Crayeres chateau restaurant in Reims, will be featuring epicurean French breakfasts in Les Saisons, starting 1 June, which will be offered in the private rooms, and centred around, amongst other delicacies, truffles. Ideal for something extra special on your weekend away!