Photo: Kabukicho district

Pedestrians flock to the bright lights of Tokyo’s Kabukicho District, the city’s pulsing center for shopping and nightlife.

Photograph by Puku/SIME-4Corners Images

Mention Tokyo and the images come fast and furious: the whoosh of the bullet train, hundreds of thousands of commuters texting on tiny mobile phones, the precision of a sushi chef, a sumo wrestler thumping the ground. The world’s largest metropolis—nearly 34 million people in commuting distance—may be a blur, but it’s a very genteel one. Look closer and you’ll notice refined touches everywhere: fashion, architecture, manhole covers (yes, manhole covers), the exquisite wrapping of a package, or the way your shoes are magically turned in the right direction when you’re ready to leave the city. All this and Hello Kitty too.

Related Features

  • Photo: Woman serving gelato

    Top 10 Places to Eat Ice Cream

    Globe-trotters can experience flavors that go far beyond the standard chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry. Experience eel ice cream in Japan or green tea in Florence.

  • Photo: Brick Lane Mini Market

    Neighborhoods Known for Food

    In food-minded cities, certain areas become known for certain tastes.

  • Photo: Venus fort shopping complex

    Tokyo Must-Dos

    Our experts recommend the top attractions in and around Tokyo—with advice on how to get the most out of your visit.

  • Photo: Rows of fish at Tokyo fish market

    The Great Tokyo Fish Market

    Welcome to the fast-paced, high-priced, freezing cold world of Tokyo's Tsukiji. To merely call it a fish market would be the same as calling the Grand Canyon a ditch.

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

Join Nat Geo Travel's Communities




2014 Traveler Photo Contest

  • Picture of people on the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

    Enter Today to Win!

    Submit your best shots for a chance to be featured in our weekly galleries and to win a grand prize trip for two to Alaska.