Tokyo Is Getting Its Message Out

Tokyo Tourism wants people to realize that the Japanese capital — along with the rest of Japan — is again welcoming visitors and recruited a well-known Japan enthusiast to help get that message across.

The tourism promotion body’s Toronto office — headed by industry veteran Shin Kawai — had Toronto-based travel personality Steve Gillick cohost a Baxter Media webcast, with Gillick having visited Japan for the 20th time last November, telling webcast viewers that that visit was particularly rewarding.

“Tokyo is even better than it was before,” Gillick said. “New experiences, new museums, a greater sense of enjoyment at being able to return, and possibly even better food, plus there are lots of smiles from people we met along the way.”

Tokyo residents have been “re-energized by the resumption of tourism,” Gillick continued.

The bright lights of such Tokyo districts as Ginza are well known but Gillick told viewers that there are many other intriguing parts to what he labelled a very safe, walkable city with an efficient public transportation system.

One interesting neighborhood is Shimokitazawa, which Gillick said provides a “fascinating strolling neighborhood experience,” with visitors able to find the likes of vinyl record stores, shops selling vintage clothes and craft beer outlets in narrow streets.

Gillick also said the Japanese capital is seeing the “celebration of street art,” with that art often very creative.

He also said the city has an “intriguing robot culture,” recalling encountering a robot front desk clerk in a Ginza hotel.

Gillick added that Tokyo “has a reputation for being one of the best food cities in the world…my taste buds were extremely happy.”

Michelin had awarded 263 stars to Tokyo restaurants as of mid-November, giving Tokyo more of the coveted stars than any other city.

Gillick said visitors will find restaurants “for every taste and budget.”

Sprawling Tokyo Prefecture includes Okutama, a mountainous wilderness area marked by waterfalls, and Gillick said “island hopping” is available for tourists as well, with islands offering “spectacular scenery.”

Wilderness can be found a short distance from urban areas.

Meanwhile, Kawai said there are now “basically none” when it comes to Covid restrictions, with those wanting to visit Japan needing only having to show proof of vaccination.

Some businesses may insist on visitors wearing masks.

Kawai also said Tokyo can accommodate travellers with different budgets. “The nice thing about Tokyo is you have a choice.”

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