Serenity at the Marunouchi district in Tokyo, Japan.
Serenity at the Marunouchi district in Tokyo, Japan. Detours

Tokyo calls you back for more

AAAH! I sigh delightfully as my behind rests on the gently heated seat. I am in an automated water closet in the Mercure Ginza Hotel, right in the heart of the exclusive Ginza district in Tokyo.

This is my first taste of Japan and I'm already in love with it.

All for being spoilt, I have a good feeling this city will have me spoilt on a whole new level.

The Mercure Ginza is conveniently located behind the district's main shopping strip and a stone's throw away from the famous Ginza crossing.

As I people-watched while waiting to check-in earlier, it was evident that this establishment is popular among visitors who appreciate designer labels and all the finer things in life.

With the likes of Louis Vuitton, Cartier and Tiffany homed in their very own multi-levelled building on Ginza Chome, my feet tap impatiently to get going... but not before I get acquainted with the buttons in this water closet.

I sampled what each button did with air and water and I was good to go.

My first impression of Tokyo's modern cityscape is 'Manhattan injected with European charm and architecture' topped off with the unmistakable Japanese culture and customs.

The cliché 'East meets West' is truly amplified in Tokyo where the streets that make you feel like you're in NYC meet a shrine in a park. Home to 13 million people, Tokyo has, over the decades, morphed itself into becoming a super city.

Everything is super efficient, super convenient and very importantly to the locals, super cute.

I sample some districts of Tokyo including Shinjuku - electronic heaven by day, a stereotype 'Kings Cross' equivalent by night; Akihabara, where gaming enthusiasts worship Japanese animation characters; Asakusa for a taste of traditional Japan and some craft shopping; Shibuya for some teenage high-street culture, and Roppongi, where I mingle with English speaking expats.

And no-one should miss Harajuku, a shopping district with a permanent dress-up party theme that attracts those who enjoy bringing their fantasies to life.

Girls batting Betty Boop lashes, prancing in elaborate colonial wigs and Madame Pompadour dresses are a common sight, as are gothics, vampires and cowgirls.

I move away from the daylight dress-up party streets and gravitate towards Omotesando, Aoyama, Marunouchi and of course, my temporary home, the classy Ginza.

Omotesando and Aoyama are highly trendy areas likened to be the Champs Elysee, where the chic, rich and famous are often seen sipping and shopping.

Right by Tokyo station is Marunouchi, the financial district laced with up-market shops and restaurants including a Joel Robuchon patisserie. I like.

Apart from people watching, shopping and a splash of culture shock, the only other interest I'm here for is the food.

Clearly, Tokyo has districts to serve the needs and whims of every personality.

Return airfares from Sydney to Tokyo start at $1650 on Japan Airlines and $864 on Jetstar.

Rooms at the Mercure Ginza start at $148 per night. www.accorhotels.com.

For more information on Tokyo visit www.jnto.org.au.


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