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No Olympic Games for Tokyo this year but still plenty of reasons to put this city on your list and get inspired for 2021.

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Streets filled with so much neon that you feel like you’re in a video game, serene Japanese gardens and historic temples alongside such modern-day delights like owl cafés and robot restaurants. You could easily fill two weeks in Tokyo with fun and activities. The city has more than a thousand districts, each with its own unique character. We’ve put together a list of highlights for you.

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Takeshita Dori

Food, fun and fashion

With 400 metres of eccentric fashion, unusual restaurants and unique shops, Takeshita Dori (‘dori’ is Japanese for ‘street’) is a phenomenon. The street is located in the district of Harajuku, the epicentre of Japanese youth culture. From shops full of creative socks to photo booths with a huge number of beauty filters, Takeshita has it all!

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Gotoku-ji Temple

Temple of the Lucky Cat

Chances are you’ve seen the Japanese white cat with the waving paw. It’s called Maneki-Neko in Japanese, which literally means ‘beckoning cat’ and is a symbol of prosperity and good fortune. It is also associated with the Gotoku-ji Temple in the Setagaya district. There are several stories about the origins of Maneki-Neko. The most common one is that a wealthy feudal lord ended up at the temple during a thunderstorm and a cat beckoned him to go inside. Just as he followed the cat into the temple, lightning struck - exactly where he had been standing! The cat had brought him good fortune. Visitors to the temple leave behind Maneki-Neko in large numbers in hopes that their wishes will be granted - and resulting in a growing number of cats.

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The lucky cat can be found everywhere in Japan, especially at the entrance to shops in order to attract more customers. According to the legend, the higher the cat’s paw, the greater the fortune he is said to bring.

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    Todoroki Ravine Park

    Cooling off in the ravine

    A ravine in the middle of a city? In the Todoroki Ravine Park, it’s hard to believe that you’re still in the heart of Tokyo. The ravine is situated along the Yazawa River and can be reached by taking the winding stone steps downwards. Because of its low elevation and canopy of leaves that block the sunlight, it’s the perfect place to relax and cool off on a hot day. The park also boasts around 2.5 kilometres of trails, a few small shrines and a teahouse.

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    Akihabara

    Maid cafés and videogames

    If your image of Tokyo is a city of chaos and charisma, this is sure to be confirmed in the Akihabara district. With its arcade games, maid cafés, manga and frenzied gambling halls, Akihabara is the epicentre of gadgets, electronics and anime. In Yodobashi, the world’s largest electronics shop, you’ll find nine entire floors dedicated to cameras, computers and futuristic gadgets you never imagined possible. And then there’s the Tsukumo Robot Kingdom, a shop that sells everything robot-related. Just when you thought you had everything...

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