• How to enjoy bustling Tokyo in a day

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    It is a fact that Japan is now the most popular tourist destination for Filipinos what with the continued growth of airline routes to the major cities of the Land of the Rising Sun.

    Sensoji Temple at Asakusa

    In fact, records from Tokyo Metro, one of the more popular rapid transit systems in the Japanese capital, show that 347, 800 Filipinos have traveled to Japan in 2016—an increase of 29.6-percent compared to the previous year.

    From these figures, Tokyo Metro identifies the Philippines as an active tourism market, and has therefore reached out to Filipino travellers to provide easy and practical tips to explore the capital.

    At a press conference in City of Dream Manila, Public Relations section manager Eiji Souri and Demand Generation and Marketing department manager Atsushi Kamimura related that using trains as means of transportation around the busy city will save Filipino tourists not only money but also valuable time.

    Adorable pandas at Ueno Zoo PHOTOS FROM TOKYOMETRO.JP

    From the group’s presentation, The Manila Times has gathered the following information on the best way to enjoy a daylong tour of the Japanese capital with the help of Tokyo Metro.

    Starting point: Ueno. More travelers opt to make Ueno their base because of its accessibility to many points in Japan. The many cultural establishments in the area is also a plus factor for this. Here, a tourist can visit Ueno Zoo (the first zoo in Japan), Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum or, if visiting in April, admire the cherry blossoms at Ueno Park before boarding a train to Asakusa.

    Five minutes from Ueno to Asakusa. According to www.japan-talk.com, Asakusa used to be a “pleasure district filled with gangsters, geisha, courtesans, [and]writers” until World War 2 destroyed the area. Today, the district has become a trendy spot for visitors who come to see the Sensoji Temple, the oldest and most visited temple in Tokyo. Also here is the Nakamise, a street filled with mementos perfect for souvenirs and Japanese street food vendors. Finally, a visit to this area wouldn’t be complete without dropping by one of the traditional izakaya and yakitori restaurants.

    The busy streets of Ginza

    29-minutes from Asakusa to Omote-sando. Dubbed as Tokyo’s version of Paris’ Champs-Elysses, Omote-sando is a tree-lined ave­nue that stretches to Meiji Jingu Shrine. [In Japanese culture the name “sando” is given to roads leading up to shrines]. Besides the scenery, Omote-sando also boasts of high fashion brands that will delight traveling fashionistas.

    12 minutes from Omete-sando to Ginza. If Omete-sando is not enough for a shopping spree, this destination will fill any shopaholic’s plate. Ginza is Tokyo’s most famous entertainment and shopping district what with branches and flagship stores of almost every retailer, department store, and high-fashion boutique from around the world. Similarly, the artists-approved Lupin Bar that is a mere four minutes away from the station is worth the visit. Established in 1928, Lupin has Japanese greats Ango Sakaguchi and Osamu Dazai among its long list of artist clientele.

    Omote-Sando, Tokyo’s version of Champs-Elysees

    Six minutes from Ginza to Kamiyacho. To see the glittering lights of Tokyo in full glory, a visit to Tokyo Tower—a 7-minute walk away from Kamiyacho station—is highly recommended. The 333-meter tall radio tower, built in 1998, has viewing observatories at 150 and 250-meter levels, giving tourists a 360-degree view of Tokyo skyline. These observatories are open until 11 p.m.

    24 minutes from Kamiyacho to Shinjuku. After all the touring and quick bites in between, it will be time at this point for a proper dinner at no less than the “Tempura Capital” of Shinjuku. The area houses some of the oldest and most venerable tempura restaurants including Funabashiya Honten Restaurant and the Tempura Tsunahachi. After feasting on fried seafood and vegetables and wandering through the neon-lighted streets of Shinjuku, a full day would have been had ending with a restful trip back to Ueno via train in 33 minutes.

    * * *

    This itinerary will normally cost ¥1,190 (approximately P530) but with the Tokyo Subway Ticket that exclusively allows non-Japanese passport holders to 24 hours of unlimited travel on all 13 lines of Tokyo Metro and Metropolitan Subway, it will only cost ¥800 (approximately P356). The Tokyo Subway Ticket is also available in 48-hour and 72-hour varieties for ¥1200 and ¥1500 respectively.

    For details, visit www.tokyometro.jp.

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