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Tokyo.
Japan’s Cultural capital.

It’s impossible to get bored in Tokyo. This city, known for its wild nightlife and trendy dressers, is also Japan’s cultural capital.

Feel the need for fashion inspiration? Check out the Harajuku Girls, who offer visitors visual assurance that hip hop and punk rock outfits can look cute—especially when the looks are mixed together with Hello Kitty accessories. There are over 20,000 businesses registered with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, so be sure to bring enough yen so you can take a few mementos for your wardrobe closet at home.

Be sure to check out the local English papers, or check with the local tourism office, for information on fairs and festivals. In December, for example, the famed Senso-ji Temple holds the ornamental battledore fair (it’s also known as hagoita, or a game that features a badminton-like racket and shuttlecock). Ever year, 50 battledore shops take up rows upon rows in the street and offer big ornamental battledores and small ones that children can use to play with. It may seem like a strange tradition until one learns that in the late Edo period in Japan, loved ones used to send shuttlecocks to newborn baby girls because they resembled dragonflies, which eat harmful insects.

Tired of sushi on the go? Check out Ninja Akasaka, a theme restaurant where ninjas (a.k.a waiters) will serve up decadent food with flashy tricks. If you’re like many who visit Tokyo, and are addicted to all things sushi, you’ll be happy to know that even the 24-hour convenience stores on the street corner sell sushi where one would normally find simple sandwiches. To sample one of Tokyo’s specialties, simply ask your waiter for Edo-mae, which refers to a unique Tokyo taste that stems back to the days when the city was still called Edo. Today, it’ll likely mean that you’ll be served fish caught in Tokyo Bay, including sushi, grilled eel and loach stew. Just be sure to bring an appetite.

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