Tokyo offers a living cultural mosaic crafted with the best of Japan from old traditions to new technology and pop culture. As the world’s most populous city, it offers stimulating encounters around every corner. From bullet trains to natural hot springs, and top-rated gastronomy, Tokyo has something to suit every lifestyle and desire. However, even among the incessant buzzing of blossoming technology, residents and travelers are still welcomed to find respite in the spiritual sanctuaries of the city’s ancient shrines and gardens.
The Kabuki-za Theatre that stands today is the third rendition, opened to the public in 1924 to house the Art of Kabuki. This classical Japanese dance-drama is known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers.
Founded in 1945, the Foreign Correspondents Club was established to provide fundamental infrastructure for foreign journalists working in Post-Word War II Japan. Notable presidents of the 2,000 member club include 1951 Pulitzer Prize winner Max Desfor, Columbia Records singer Burton Crane, who was known as the “Bing Crosby” of Japan, Chicago Sun-Times editor Frank Devine, renowned war correspondent John Rich, and journalist John Roderick.
The iconic maneki-neko doll, or “beckoning cat” that is often seen in Japanese restaurants and stores, is believed to be a piece of good luck that will bring customers and wealth to its location. Although there are many legends on the origin of this cat charm, the most widely recognized legend names Gotokuji Temple as its’ beginning. Since the spread of the legend foretold, people have come to offer maneki-neko figurines to the temple in gratitude. The temple is located in a more soothing and residential area of the city, surrounded by cherry blossom trees — and of course — hundreds and hundreds of cats.
As the number of traditional public bathhouses in Japan has dwindled, hand-painting the large murals that decorate their walls has become a dying art. Kiyoto Maruyama, the oldest of the last three remaining sento painters in Japan, intimately knows the history of the painting style & continues to perfect his craft on neighborhood bathhouses – including Yama No Yu.
Located in the 130-year old Imperial Hotel Tokyo, it is the only space within the iconic hotel which still pays architectural and stylistic tribute to its’ former 1923 building, created by the prominent architect Frank Lloyd Wright. In consequence, the beverages served by expert mixologists include signature drinks, including the Mount Fuji, date back to the original 1920’s menu.
Covering over 83,000 square meters of land is one of Tokyo’s most famous, important, and visited spots. The shrine and garden were a frequent visiting place for the Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, to whom the shrine was dedicated to upon its completion in 1920. Once the residence daimyo of Kato Kiyomasa, the Meiji Shrine and Inner Garden has grown into the most iconic shrine in Japan.
Since 1994, the Park Hyatt Tokyo has been a popular destination with business people and celebrities in the heart of the city’s bustling commercial and business district. The Park Hyatt has served as both a world-renowned hotel and as a set location for many Japanese and American films.
Home to the baseball team the Yomiuri Giants is the stadium the Tokyo Dome. The Giants are the oldest team among current Japanese professional baseball teams. In addition to being the Giants’ home field and the location of the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame, the stadium has housed many concerts, mixed martial arts competitions, kickboxing events, monster truck races, and even American football and basketball games.
The tower, featuring large cell-like cubes with circular windows that abstractly resemble a cell nucleolus, was the world’s first inhabitable example of Japanese Metabolism. The unusually constructed building was created in 1970, with each capsule attached to the interior layer independent of other capsules, so that if a “cell” removal is necessary, it will not effect the rest of the building. Today, the building’s cells are used for apartments, offices, and storage space.
Japan has the world’s busiest rail network with a daily ridership of 18.5 million, and 40 percent of the total passenger travel in the country is on railway transport – compared to 90 percent on road transport in the United States.
During the Meji Period, the popularity of Sumo Wrestling grew larger than ever before, resulting in the establishment of the original Ryōgoku Kokugikan in 1909. As one of Japan’s most traditional sports, these matches are truly a window into another era. The athletes wear traditional Shinto garbs, beginning the match by stomping in the space within the ring to ward off evil spirits. Sacred salt is tossed across the ring to appease Shinto gods and a beating drum is played throughout the match as opponents try to toss or push one another out of the ring. Although each sumo match only lasts about 20 seconds, spectators enjoy the thrill with great passion and anticipation.
Founded in 1877 as the first imperial university, the University of Tokyo is one of Tokyo’s oldest universities. The merging of Tokyo Kaisei School, Tokyo Medical School, and the Yobimon university preparatory school primarily formed the University of Tokyo, resulting in the four Faculties of Law, Science, Letters and Medicine. Throughout the years, UTokyo continued to merge with a multitude of different schools in various fields, creating the current university that consists of over 10 faculties and 15 graduate schools, with an enrollment of around 30,000 students.