By Mark Andrews
Serendib – SriLankan Airlines. August 2019
Tokyo is a city that never really sleeps, but with the recovery of the Japanese economy that tempo has increased to insomnia. Crowning the new dawn, the Tokyo Skytree (at 634m) dwarfs the red and white striped former city symbol – Tokyo Tower. Towering above the city you realise how vast a metropolis it is as it merges with neighbouring conurbations such as Yokohama – Japan’s second-largest city. The surprisingly low-rise sprawl seems endless.
Tokyo, in reality, is a collection of villages. Nihonbashi, literally meaning Japan Bridge, is its geographical heart. Historically, it marked the Edo (Tokyo’s old name) end of the Tokaido and Nakasendo roads and now marks the point from which all distances from Tokyo are measured. Today, it is the financial district housing the stock exchange and Bank of Japan. It is also a good place for quality traditional souvenirs. Within the Coredo shopping mall, there are stores producing high-end kitchen knives since 1792. Nearby, there are producers of seaweed, which date back to 1849. To get a better idea of the historical side of the area, head to the Edo-Tokyo Museum, which contains a life size replica of the original bridge along with displays charting the rise of the city.
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Mark Andrews has written about everything from Japanese houses to heli hikes on New Zealand glaciers, test drives of Chinese cars to bar and restaurant reviews. He currently specialises in travel articles and reviews of Chinese cars plus articles about the Chinese auto industry.
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