An archipelago made up of over 6,000 islands, visitors from every corner of the globe are undeniably impressed by Japan’s allure. At the center of it all stands Tokyo. As one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world, with over 30 million residents, it’s a bustling city that is unfamiliar with anything dull.
At Hotel Seiyo Ginza, most guests fantasize about unpacking their bags for good. This is not only because of the hotel’s five-star suites and dining areas, but also because it’s designed to feel like an actual private residence. Each room features walk-in closets and some of the largest bathrooms you’ll ever see in Japan. You’ll also have a personal concierge and butler service. After working off those last bits of stress in the fitness room, sink into your suite’s orthopedic bed specially crafted to relieve pressure points. Looking to relax and maybe mingle with other travelers? Check out the exclusive Member’s Bar G1 where only hotel guests and members can wine and dine. For reservations and room rates, visit www.seiyo-ginza.com.
Since 1997, the New National Theatre, Tokyo (NNTT) has been dazzling audiences with its opera, dance and drama performances. Thanks to world-renowned choreographers, actors and musicians, the center presents interpretations of the classics, as well as new, original works. Initially, however, theatregoers are spellbound by the opera house’s structure. Built in the European style with top-grade materials, the house’s premier acoustic engineering helps create beautiful sound, from the 120-person orchestra pit to the highest balcony. If you find yourself in Tokyo this spring or summer, catch a performance of Mozart’s Così fan tutte
, an opera about the role of reason in the midst of love. Interested in dance? Let the National Ballet of Japan whisk you away with productions of Bintley’s Choice
, a mixed program including three works, and Aladdin
. Schedules and more are available at www.nntt.jac.go.jp/english.
Tokyo enjoys mild weather with the highest yearly temperatures around 88 degrees Fahrenheit in August, and the lowest around 30 degrees in January. So, although there isn’t a bad time to visit, travelers usually prefer planning their trips between May and September. If you do find yourself under the warm Japanese sun, head to Tokyo’s Imperial Palace East Gardens for an afternoon of enchantment. The Imperial Palace itself is surrounded by moats and stone walls, and stands on the former site of the Edo Castle where Tokugawa shogun ruled Japan from 1603 to 1867. The East Gardens are open to the public Tuesday through Thursday and on weekends. After strolling among plum trees and alongside ponds, you’ll quickly see why the gardens were named a “Special Historic Relic” by the Japanese government. Find out more at www.japan-guide.com.
Leave plenty of space on your calendar for your Japan getaway; there is a 13- or 14-hour time difference (depending on Daylight Savings Time) between Tokyo and New York. In the end, however, the additional travel time is well worth every minute. Japan is one of the first regions in the world to see sunlight every day, and there’s no reason it should be anything but first pick on your upcoming vacation list. So, say goodbye to America and “Konnichiwa” to Tokyo for your next adventure.
For attractions, accommodations and more, visit www.jnto.go.jp.