Tokyo, like New York, London and Paris, is one of those cities that people feel like they know before they even arrive. Thanks to its iconic cityscape, global culture and role as a film set, everyone thinks they know what to expect when they arrive in Tokyo.
However, there is a very different side of the city waiting to be discovered. Away from the bright lights, crowded streets and hectic transport system is a very different Tokyo, one full of traditional neighbourhoods, peaceful shrines and ancient gardens.
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and see the city like a local, here are a few tips to get you started.
Get off the main street
In many parts of Tokyo, busy shopping streets and intersections lie side by side with quiet back roads and traditional alleyways.
To avoid the tourist traps and crowds, simply take a look at your map, turn off the main road and take a tour through the back streets. With subway stations and bus stops throughout the city, you’ll never be lost for long, so why not get off the beaten track and explore the lesser known streets of the city?
If you want to live like a local but still see Tokyo’s famous sights, booking a private tour with a local guide is a great way to go about it.
Unlike group tours, private tours can be tailored to suit your interests and your timescale. Small groups of two, three and four are also much less conspicuous, giving visitors the chance to blend in with their surroundings and see a different side of the city.
Shrines and gardens
Though Tokyo is well known for its modern skyscrapers and love of technology, the city has a very ancient side too.
Peaceful shrines and hidden gardens can be found throughout Tokyo, giving locals and visitors a welcome break from the busy city streets. To make the most of the experience, enjoy a cup of freshly brewed tea at one of the many outdoor teahouses found in these beautiful gardens.
A great way to get to know any city is to visit its markets, and Tokyo is no exception.
One of the most interesting is Tsukiji Market. Selling freshly caught fish to homes and businesses alike, a visit to this market will help give you a deeper understanding of the Japanese love of fish and seafood.
Taking the time to see an alternative side of Tokyo is guaranteed to make your trip to the city even more memorable. So why not get off the beaten track, explore a few hidden treasures and explore Tokyo like a local?