Where to look. Don't waste time, Tokyo lives fast. White collars run off to work no later than eight in the morning, and you can walk the empty streets. In the Shinjuku skyscraper area, climb to the observation deck (www.metro.tokyo.jp, 9: 30-23: 00). Take a walk in Yoyogi Park (Yoyogi or Meiji-jing-umae Subway Station), visit the main shrine - Meiji Imperial Temple (www.meijijingu.or.jp/english, daily 9: 00-16: 00) and write your wish on a wooden sign “ema ": Shinto monks will pray for its performance. At noon, drive to Ginza, the business district with the trendiest restaurants and malls. Try catching a Kabuki performance here at the famous Shinbashi Enbuj-o Theater (tickets range from 3,000 to 20,000 yen, 100 yen is about $ 1) or get lost in one of Mitsukoshi's department stores.
Transport. Tokyo has a convenient and understandable subway. Taxis are expensive, but you can catch them at every corner. Tipping is not accepted. There are no street names in this city, addresses are indicated by numbers: house number, block number and district name.
Where there is sushi. At Nan Restaurant (Shibuya, 1-14-16, B1F) and tempura at Tsunahachi Tsunohazuan (Shinjuku, 3-28-4), the average bill is 5,000 yen. Most restaurants close early, around 22:00.
Where to drink. Sasahan restaurant (Chuo, 3-4-18) - 50 kinds of sake. At Hibiki restaurant (Daiba, 1-7-1, AquCity 6F) - Japanese whiskey. At night, Tokyo lives in the Shibuya and Roppongi areas. After the fun-filled Propagand Bar (http://www.propaganda-tokyo.com/english), go disco at the Gaspanic Club (http://www.gaspanic.co.jp) until morning.
Shopping. Omotesando Street in the Harajuku area has all the brands in the world. Cafes and shops with Japanese brands huddle in the side streets. Roppongi Hills Shopping Center (www.roppongihills.com) has over 200 designer stores. Make sure to visit the old city of Asakusu. Get a tour guide rickshaw, then buy kimonos, wooden geta sandals, Tokyo banana sweets, wooden or porcelain ningyo dolls. Walk to the famous Akihabara quarter with its high-rise super electronics and comic manga shops and skyscrapers of slot machines. Shops are open until 22:00, and centers with automatic machines are open around the clock.
Where to live. Centrally located at the Hilton Tokyo in Shinjuku, or at the Four Seasons near Tokyo Main Station. Or at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo in the Roppongi area for a night of fun.
Where to look. Kyoto, which can be reached in 2.5 hours on the Shinkansen high-speed train (from Tokyo Main Station, ticket - 13,000 yen), is the exact opposite of Tokyo. Life has come to a standstill here, people quietly bypass (or take a taxi, which is cheaper here than in Tokyo) dozens of ancient temples and palaces. Minimum program - Gosho Imperial Palace with a magical garden, which can be accessed on weekdays, after submitting an application on the website of the Imperial Household Agency (http://sankan.kunaicho.go.jp/english/index.html). Also not to be missed is the Kiyomizu-dera Pure Water Temple (daily 6: 00-18: 00). It stands on a hill, from where during the cherry blossom season (from late March to early April) you can watch the city for hours. At another ancient temple - Ryoanji - there is a "Garden of 15 stones" (www.ryoanji.jp, 8: 00-17: 00). In the evening, go to Nishiki Market (9: 00-18:00) and buy mochi - bean sweets from the shop. The atmosphere of medieval Japan is preserved in the geisha quarters - Gion or Ponto-cho. Order (on the spot) a ceremony in one of the many tea houses - o-ty. Tea is ceremoniously served by geisha dressed in ceremonial silk kimonos (sex is not included in their services).
Where there is. Kyoto's calling card is vegetarian dishes at Izusen Restaurant at Daitoku-ji Buddhist Temple (from 3000 yen, open from 11:00 to 16:00). Traditional Japanese food is wonderfully prepared at the Tori Dori restaurant (Miyako, Naka-Ku, Kamiyacho 674-18, 17: 00-24: 00).
Where to drink. If you are traveling with a man, we recommend taking an out-of-town excursion to the oldest in Japan (almost a century old!) Yamazaki distillery (www.theyamazaki.jp/en/index.html), owned by Suntory. Here they make a unique, very soft Japanese whiskey Yamazaki, which, when diluted with soda or water (as the Japanese drink it), does not lose its flavor. Bill Murray in Lost in Translation advertises just Suntory whiskey.
Where to live. At the Granvi Hotel (www.granviakyoto.com) in a train station, or in the quiet Hyatt Regency (www.hyatt.com) amid parks and temples on the east bank of the Kamo River.
In Japan, it is of two types - folk and "export". The first consists almost entirely of beans. Bean noodles are served with bean soy sauce and soybean tofu for the first, bean flour tortillas for the second, and bean pudding for dessert. The taste is rather bland, but due to the unusual consistency, the mouthfeel is very interesting. This is a gourmet paradise. The Japanese have a term for "the sensation of the first bite": what you put in your mouth should be remembered. Real tofu looks like an omelet: tender elastic mass, zero fat, pure protein without a specific taste, tofu is dipped in soy sauce. This is delicious. Soups are often served in two parts: you pour the broth into separately cooked noodles or seaweed.
Sushi. They are rarely eaten in restaurants in Japan, and almost never at home, since the Japanese do not like to cook. There are hundreds of sushi types - from traditional sushi with several types of tuna (akami - less fatty meat, toro - more fatty, closer to the belly) to exotic combinations with fried minced meat or fruits.
Restaurants. At least once you need to eat in one of the tiny eateries for three or four people, where Japanese employees go home after a hard day. There is no menu - there are plastic models of dishes at the entrance or a "kaiten-zushi" conveyor belt with food is moving inside. For those who do not speak Japanese, the host may refuse to serve, so choose a place where at the entrance there is at least something written in English.
As it is. Everything that you ordered is served immediately. Start with soup, then move on to tempura or meat. Before eating, the Japanese always say the phrase "itadakimasu" - "now I will start eating" (the local version of our "bon appetit"). It is not customary to pour drinks for oneself - only for neighbors.
The drinks. In addition to green tea in Japan, they actively drink sake (rice wine with a strength of 15 °, which is served not like ours, heated, but only cold), shochu - rice vodka - and local beer, very light and not bitter. Also try the Japanese highball cocktail with Kakubin whiskey. This is what the local youth get drunk with, shouting "Campai!" Before each round. - "For health!"
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