Tokyo doesn’t give you time to think, time to decide whether yes or no, left or right – the city simply draws you in with an uncontrolled force.

There’s a constant flashing and beeping; every metro station has its own melody. Could it be because the Japanese can sleep anywhere and at any time, safe in the knowledge that the sound will wake them at the right station? It’s hard to be sure. There are a lot of things you can’t know or understand in this city – but that doesn’t really seem to matter; it seems to work. There’s no mass hysteria in the metro at peak times.

Every day, more than 1 million people cross the Shibuya Crossing without incident. Tokyo's motto is also «higher, faster, further». It has the Skytree the world’s tallest TV tower, which offers spectacular views of the city from its 630 metres. And what is most fascinating is that just a few streets away from this city icon of superlatives is one of Tokyo’s oldest temples. In the lane in front of it, a young Japanese women – looking like something out of a Manga comic – strolls alongside an elderly lady in a kimono.

And while the village-like suburb of Asakusa still serves dishes from the Edo era, youngsters queue in the high-tech quarter of Akihabara to buy a new game console. Nowhere else is the past so closely interwoven with the present. And after an exciting time in Tokyo, you’ll be quite sad when the bustle gradually lets you go again.

City Facts

  • Location

    Japan’s capital on the southeast coast.

  • Population

    About 13.2 million, and around 32 million in the greater urban area.

  • Size

    Approx. 2188 km²

  • Public transport

    Very well developed metro network. Buses go to the few places that are not connected to the metro.

  • Climate

    Subtropical climate. Summers are hot and humid, winters mild and dry.

  • Best time to visit

    At cherry blossom time, March and April. The temperatures are also pleasant in May and September.

  • Good to know

    Almost all of the restaurants, including the highly priced ones, serve excellent lunchtime menus at fair prices. Perfect for trying out some of the gourmet restaurants.

  • Nice to know

    In Tokyo, a train is considered delayed if it is just a minute late. Passengers are refunded for their tickets, and if appropriate are given a letter for their employer.

  • Airport

    Narita, approx. 70 km northeast of the city.

  • Bus

    There are two bus lines between Narita and Tokyo station.The Airport Limousine Bus leaves the airport from the south wing at Arrivals in Terminal 1. The travel time to Tokyo Station takes between 80 and 120 minutes, depending on the traffic.The Keisei Line departs from the south wing of the Arrivals terminal. The travel time to Tokyo Station is about 1½ hours.

  • Railway

    There are three possible rail connections to the city:The fastest line is the Skyliner, which takes approx. 40 minutes to the city (Ueno Station).The Access Limited Express takes 70 minutes to Ueno Station.The Narita Express takes about an hour to Tokyo Station.

  • Taxi

    Taxis to the city are extremely expensive; the fair to the city centre is around 200 CHF.