Japan is probably the most homogenous society in the world, after 3000 years without immigration the country has been left with its own unique set of cultural and culinary delights. And Tokyo is the world’s most populous metropolitan area; an immense urban sprawl with its sensory overload of flashing neon lights and video screens, which can be staggering on your first visit.

The crowded and vibrant neon-lit heart of Tokyo is there for everyone to see, but if you take the time to venture behind the immense concrete skyscrapers it reveals itself to be a city filled with hidden back streets and secret corners. The civility in Tokyo − and all over Japan − is unparalleled, without being told people seem to know what to do, even which side of a pavement to walk on. Whether you are on a busy train or have just entered a packed restaurant, every encounter is performed with a degree of quiet courtesy. It is no surprise then that the city offers faultless service as well as sensational food and incredible shopping. Tokyo’s incomparable charm and refinement leaves countless other cities in its wake.

To Stay

Andaz Hotel

A great new addition to the luxury Tokyo hotel scene, stay here for the fantastic breakfast, lustrous walnut walls and the views that take your breath away at every turn. Although, to be honest, you could stay just for the polka dot ‘geta’ they give you alone (a Japanese hybrid between clogs and flip-flops.) This is a good choice for young couples, or even for the 2020 Olympics if you like to plan ahead, as its location puts it right in the middle of the action. Rooms from £255 per night

  • +81 3 6830 1234
  • Go to Website
  • 1-23-4 Toranomon
    Minato-ku
    Tokyo
    105-0001

Four Seasons Marunouchi

Consistently ranked as one of the best hotels in Japan, the Four Seasons is a fail-safe for any businesses traveller. The décor is minimal and zen – think large glass windows, silver birch panelled walls, steel beams and an onsen bath. Consistency and convenience is key to the success of the hotel – it has the best service in the city, good food and a central location between Ginza, the Imperial Palace and Tokyo Station (some lucky guests also have the exhilarating view of the bullet train pulling into the platform.) Rooms from £248 per night

  • +81 3 5222 7222
  • Go to Website
  • 1-11-1 Pacific Century Place
    Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku
    Tokyo

The Peninsula

Quite simply put, the hotel glows. Built to look like a traditional Japanese lantern, the lobby and hallways are always awash with a soft halo of light. The large art pieces in the middle of the hotel are also seriously impressive. With services including nail polish dryers in your room, this is without doubt the best pick for the traveller who wants to be pampered. Rooms from £341 per night

Japanese Inn Yoshimizu

This ryokan in Kyoto is perched at the top of a park near the Gion district. It looks a bit ramshackle but it is charming and run by young, friendly staff. They also serve the best breakfasts in Japan. Once you have experienced a few cold fish and egg breakfasts (which are the norm in a Japanese inn) you will no doubt appreciate the joys of freshly toasted doorstop brown bread, a boiled egg and a welcome bowl of hot vegetable soup. Rooms from £45 per night

Azabu International Guesthouse

The rooms at Azabu may look tiny on the internet at home, but once you arrive in Japan you will find out that they are surprisingly spacious. Most importantly, the guesthouse is centrally located. It is within walking distance of Roppongi, home of the Mori Art Museum, and Aoyama, where you will find upmarket boutiques like Pool. This one’s no good for boys though, the rooms are for women only. Rooms from £286 per month

Andaz Hotel

Four Seasons Marunouchi

The Peninsula

Japanese Inn Yoshimizu

Azabu International Guesthouse

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