72 Hours in Tokyo

Spend just three days in Tokyo, or walk merely three blocks, and you’ll feel like you’ve traveled centuries. The futuristic city that defined the modern megalopolis houses nearly twelve million citizens, yet it boasts a four-century history and pre-history that date back millennia, and all can be experienced in just a few short steps.

Just outside the deeply forested grounds of the Meiji Shrine, you’re in the fashion-forward youth culture scene around Harajuku station, and another few blocks puts you in the throbbing heart of world couture. Just a couple subway stops away, if the fates are with you, you can catch a glimpse of the perfect orange-dipped cone of Mt. Fuji, Japan’s natural treasure, as the sun sets to the west.

In Tokyo, there’s a sense of balance. Sure, the city still buzzes with modernity and its people always seem to be on the go, yet amid the hubbub, it’s very possible to find moments of serenity, and not just in the city’s temples and shrines. Tokyo’s subways are virtually silent, and its cafes seem made for quiet contemplation. Even the burliest of public services, such as the underground water system and construction sites, are fronted by graceful design — manhole covers are like miniature carvings and scaffolding stand as temporary works of art. Plus, street crime and even overt rudeness are exceedingly rare.

Read the full 72-hour itinerary on Gayot.com.