The travel blogger-cum-foodie in me has been dreaming of visiting Tokyo ever since I have attended the TOKYO WONDERLAND seminar last week. It was organized by Tokyo Metropolitan Government at Le Méridien New Delhi.
What do you absolutely love about JAPAN? I had once asked a friend who was in Japan for few years.
TOKYO… she said!
I had further asked her, What is the best season to be there?
And she had swooned over Japan’s spring season when the world of cherry blossoms gripped the country.
The cherry blossom (sakura) is unofficially famous as the national flower of Japan. It has been celebrated over centuries for many reasons, seasons and occasions.
Looking ahead to the 2020 Olympics/Paralympics and beyond, Tokyo, the Gateway to Japan, Tokyo Metropolitan Government is working on initiatives to establish a “Tokyo brand” that creates a strong impression of Tokyo as a tourist destination under the brand concept “a place that promises all kinds of fun by constantly generating new styles while bringing tradition and innovation together.” Regarding the same, they had invited travel bloggers and media in New Delhi in its first ever promotional event- “TOKYO WONDERLAND”
The event showcased Tokyo and its different attractions under five themes “Unique Culture,” “Excellent Dining,” “Exciting Shopping,” “Delightful Stay” and “Comfortable Nature.”
In the last decade, there has been a steep rise in the number of toruists traveling to Japan. 123,000 Indians visited the country last year.
Let me bring forth the highlights of the event!
The moment I walked in the room, I was directed towards one corner, where a beautiful lady (clad in kimono) was sitting on an elevated platform and stirring a boiling pot. To my delight, I discovered that she was making tea. Here, I was acquainted with the Japanese tea ceremony. I was not only educated through the process of making it but also taught the etiquette of holding the cup and savoring it in time. I am fond of green tea and my taste buds could immediately sense the similarities. We were served matcha (抹茶), powdered green tea.
Tea-ceremony is not only a tea-drinking event but also a broader Japanese culture where one can enjoy every artistic aspect of drinking tea, including the flow of time and atmosphere, through a unique form of etiquette.
Next, I walked to the other section of the room, occupied a table opposite to the centre-stage and anxiously waited to hear more about Japan and especially Tokyo.
As soon as the guests and the media houses assembled in the room, we were addressed by the Ken Katayama, Deputy Director General (Bureau of Industrial and Labor Affairs, Tokyo Metropolitan Government). He introduced us to the various attractions of Tokyo and emphasized on the spring season, beautiful colored leaves of the autumn season, 200 years of modernity blended in with culture and panorama of the city, Japanese food and the new attractions which were coming up to woo the modern travelers.
Besides this, he also mentioned that Tokyo is undergoing dynamic changes to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Next, the dais was taken over by Masahiko Sakamoto, Senior Director, Tourism Division. He took us through an overview of Japan and Tokyo from 1964 to present. Right from the release of “Love in Tokyo” in 1966 to Tokyo being selected as the host for Olympics and Paralympic Games in 2013, the chronology made me all the more curious.
He listed many appealing points for everyone who looks for reasons to travel and explore new places. Some of them that made my eyes gleam are as below. I am a great fan of Peanuts character and Snoopy Museum in Tokyo is on my list for sure.
- Tokyo is a shopper’s heaven.
- The city has many theme parks and tourist facilities.
- Food for Indians is not a problem in Tokyo. There are 1200 Indian restaurants in Tokyo.
- A wide variety of food is available from the global platter too. 277 Michelin star restaurants are in Tokyo.
- Fascinating tradtional cultures of the city.
- There are many parks and gardens in the city.
- Conde Naste Traveler has named Tokyo as World’s No.1 city.
- Tokyo was ranked as the safest city in the world in the ‘Safe Cities Index 2015.’
- To resolve language issues, more multi-lingual information centres are being set up across Tokyo.
- GINZA is the new luxury shopping destination.
- Japan’s fashion culture emerges from Shibuya.
Following this, Miss India International, Rewati Chetri along with Akito Tadokoro, Director of Marketing & Promotion Tourism Promotion Dept. took the stage to share their experiences and views of Tokyo. Rewati was in Japan for three weeks and she was absolutely impressed with the cleanliness of the city of Tokyo. Some videos were also run to help us make a view about the city. Indians living in Tokyo talked about their experience of exploring the city.
Last but not the least, we talked about the Tokyo’s two symbolic towers. Both these attractions are on my list.The long established TOKYO TOWER was built in 1958 and the newly built TOKYO SKYTREE was recently completed in 2012. The latter has been the talk of the town because it is the world’s tallest stand-alone communication tower. (634 meters). And who doesn’t know about the kingdom of dreams and magic- the Tokyo Disneyland. There were representatives from all these attractions and they were keen to invite travelers from India.
We enjoyed our lunch over Japanese magic show. Tzeuma puts across quite an interesting side of Japan. Japanese magic show has a rich history dating back to the Edo Period. (I must read more about this. )
The food at Le Meridien is always good. I relished the Sushi!!
Now that TOKYO has caught my fascination and recently I traveled to Bangkok and made friends with a Thai lady who had lots to talks about her Japanese husband and the culture there, I am definitely going to discover and write more about the country.
Until then, don’t forget to tell me your reasons to visit TOKYO.
Keep following my stories here.