One of the striking things about Tokyo is the clash of tradition with modern life. The city began as a small fishing village around 3,000 B.C. and today the area is home to more than 35 million people.
Skyscrapers and Shrines
Between modern skyscrapers nestle traditional shinto shrines and tranquil gardens. Young students visit shrines for good luck on their exams, while company men crowd into the world’s busiest metro system. Skyscrapers tower over the stone walls and grounds of the Imperial Palace.
Traditional Foods, Hi-Tech Delivery
It was interesting to see the sheer variety of seafood at the Tsukiji fish market, to weave around the old stalls and watch fisherman cut and prepare fish in the traditional manner. Today, you can enjoy sushi at a sushi-go-round (“conveyor belt”) like this one that is so hi-tech, there are no waiters. Some restaurants even have RFID tags in place to remove sushi that has rotated for too long.
Old and New-Fashioned Characters
At the famous Kabuki-za theater, we got to see a traditional Kabuki play. The performers, accompanied by live music, move and speak in a highly stylized, slow and deliberate manner. A short distance away in the Shibuya shopping district, the pace is anything but slow. The busiest street crossing in the world swarms with people every few minutes. Young women wearing the latest, almost cartoon-like fashions are moving at breakneck speed while pop music blares from street speakers and interactive displays.
Tokyo is a city that is both old and new. Traditional culture, architecture and food mix together with the latest fashion and construction to create the largest metropolis in the world.