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Enchanting Journeys

Starting Point Tokyo

Whether for wellness pursuits, artistic exploration, or immersing yourself in nature and culture, Tokyo is the ideal starting point for your journey across Japan.


From teeming crowds rushing past the blazing neon lights of the city to deep woodlands and majestic mountains, Tokyo is a city that has it all.

However, Japan’s capital is more than just an urban landscape—it’s also the literal center point of Japan. Keen-eyed explorers will spot the “kilometer zero” bronze marker on the Nihonbashi Bridge, which indicates the precise point from where all roads to and from Tokyo are measured. The plaque, which is a nod to the Five Routes—the original Edo-era highways that sent travelers to the rest of Japan—remains as a reminder of new beginnings and_adventure.

Tales of the Urban Wilderness

Image Credits: Shinjuku Gyoen Management Office.

Tokyo may seem like a concrete jungle at a first glance, but the city is overflowing with green spaces, both in its dense urban settings and its more rural locations. Just a short walk from one of the busiest train stations in the world, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden serves as a tranquil oasis in the heart of Shinjuku. Located on the site of a former feudal lord’s mansion, this sprawling 144-acre space is a microcosm of Japan’s curated natural environments. Here, you can stroll through three garden types (Japanese traditional, formal and landscape) and bask in the beauty of these diverse natural settings.

Image Credits: Shinjuku Gyoen Management Office.

For those who prefer a more active approach to their explorations, a Tokyo cycling tour is an excellent alternative to take in the sights while also being mindful of CO2 emissions. While Tokyo’s public transport is world-class and extremely convenient, if you want to feel the wind in your hair while experiencing the freedom to stop whenever and wherever you please, a cycling tour is your best bet. Let a professional guide take you down the narrow streets and introduce you to little-known spots and perhaps meet some interesting people.

For more ecotourism adventures, head north to Tohoku, where unrivaled natural beauty awaits.

A Taste of the Bohemian Lifestyle

A remnant of a bygone era, Golden Gai is an eclectic bar district adjacent to Shinjuku’s famed Kabukicho. Constructed in the aftermath of WWII, this grid of narrow alleys houses almost 300 bars and restaurants—many of them unable to fit more than half a dozen customers at a time. In its infancy, Golden Gai used to draw a diverse crowd of musicians, artists and other creatives. While its clientele has since expanded to include tourists, young professionals, and office workers, it’s still a great spot to get a taste of the local drinking culture and make new acquaintances.

Tucked between the bustling Asakusa and Akihabara districts, Kuramae is an Edo-era neighborhood that has stuck to its artisanal roots—even amid its current grand revival. Here, visitors will find century-old workshops next to contemporary coffee roasteries, showcasing Tokyo’s mix of tradition and modernity. Scour the streets for unique handcrafted goods—or make your own—while sampling artisanal teas and coffees in between.

Continue your exploration of Japan’s culinary and cultural heritage by heading northwest to the Hokuriku region.

A Flourishing Art Scene

For a convenient exploration of some of the city’s best art offerings, head to the Roppongi Art Triangle in the affluent Roppongi neighborhood. Visitors can start their visit at any of the three major art museums here—Mori Art Museum, Suntory Museum of Art, or the National Art Center—before slipping into smaller private galleries nearby to experience the wealth and breadth of Tokyo’s dynamic art scene. There are also a number of streetside public art sculptures along the way that are worth a look.

Those seeking a less structured art experience can head to Shimokitazawa or even Kita-senju, where creative storefronts showcase Tokyoites’ artistic sensibilities in an unconventional form. The painted store shutters, with designs ranging from psychedelic portraits to traditional scenes of Japan, are only visible when the shops and restaurants are closed. These hard-to-catch gems make an early morning or late-night stroll in these neighborhoods a unique visual experience.

Image Credits: Shimokita Shopping District Promotion Association.

Explore more of Japan’s creativity by heading to Shikoku and its many ‘art islands’ to discover an enchanting blend of art, nature and human endeavors.

Nature Therapy

West of central Tokyo, Okutama serves as a prime example of the city’s many fascinating contrasts. The area’s impenetrable forests, towering mountains and deep limestone caves are ideal for those who want to get back to nature. During spring, summer and autumn, it’s easy to venture out on one of the numerous hiking trails—many suitable for beginners and seasoned hikers alike—or zip around the rural roads on two wheels, exploring the area by bicycle. Winters offer a different scenic exploration of familiar sights, such as Hyakuhironotaki Falls, whose 40-meter cascade sometimes freezes, creating a glittering ice sculpture in the middle of the woods.

For travelers who prefer things a little less wild when it comes to nature, Yoyogi Park, one of Tokyo’s most beloved public spaces, is a great place to start. Residents gather here daily for yoga and tai chi classes, as well as jogging and other activities. Visitors can catch up with the locals while simultaneously staying healthy and getting in some sightseeing along the way—Meiji Jingu Shrine is, after all, just next door.

Extend your trip and pamper yourself with a journey inspired by the pursuit of well-being in Kyushu.

Tokyo is a fascinating place in its own right, but it truly is just the very beginning of what Japan has to offer. The capital is enhanced by its connections to other amazing destinations and experiences across Japan, so don’t stop here—use Tokyo as a springboard to keep exploring beyond the capital’s borders and enjoy meaningful experiences with nature, food, culture, art, and wellness at the heart of your journey.