In 2007, Michelin published its first-ever restaurant guide to Tokyo and awarded the city more stars than even Paris. Jean-Luc Naret, Michelin’s editorial director at the time, was emphatic: Tokyo, he said, was “by far the world’s capital of gastronomy,” a comment that seemed as much an indictment of Paris, and of France, as it was a nod to Tokyo. [...] With its 2013 guide, Michelin has again affirmed that the “muse” has relocated to Tokyo: The French food bible awarded three stars, its highest rating, to 14 restaurants (compared with only 10 in Paris) and dished out a total of 323 stars -- more than to any other city in the Michelin firmament -- to 281 establishments overall.

For drinkers who've foresworn a life of Sapporo and Super Dry, Tokyo is a much more welcoming place than it used to be. It's still worth making a pilgrimage to the legendary Popeye in Ryogoku, but you can now find Japanese and import microbrews on tap at many bars around the city – and some places are even starting to brew their own. Whether you're new to the scene or a hardcore boozehound chasing that next hop high, it's hard to go wrong with the following Tokyo craft beer bars...

Living in one of the most volcanically active countries in the world can have its perks, not least the abundance of natural hot springs. According to the Nippon Onsen Research Association, there are a total of 3,185 onsen spread around Japan, in locations ranging from Hokkaido to the southernmost islands of Okinawa. Traditionally, the citizens of Edo had to trek to spa towns like Hakone and Atami if they wanted to get their fix, but today's Tokyoites have it easier: they just drill a few kilometres underground to tap their own source of geothermal goodness. You can now find a diverse range of onsen in Tokyo, from old-school public baths that are practically indistinguishable from your average sento, to massive, theme park-style complexes such as Oedo Onsen Monogatari. As winter holds the capital in its rimy grasp, there's never been a better time to check out some of Tokyo's best hot-spring baths – and we've got something for every taste and budget right here...

If your favourite foods include ants, beetles and cockroaches, this one's for you. Returning for its fourth edition, the Tokyo Mushikui Festival ('mushikui', for the benefit of the uninitiated, literally translates as 'insect eating') offers a forum for the capital's small community of bug munchers. Shoichi Uchiyama, Japan's foremost expert in the world of creepy-crawly cuisine, will be on hand to judge a selection of dishes prepared by budding insect chefs, while popular bug blogger Mereco Mereyama is also due to make an appearance.

Tokyo hasn't seen anything like this since the Bubble Era. Every night in a basement in Shinjuku's Kabukicho district, bikini-clad women stage mock battles using enormous robots – though it's more steroid-enhanced fairground attraction than modern-day Gundam. Fitted out at a cost of ¥10 billion, Robot Restaurant looks like something straight out of Gaspar Noé's Enter the Void, all migraine-inducing neon, video screens and mirrors (and if you think that's bad, just check the website). brings you an in-depth look into the sights to see in and around Tokyo, with maps, directions, photo galleries, dinning suggestions and more.

There is nothing more exhilarating than finding your way through a foreign land and by yourself discovering the secrets, beauties and

excitement of the land (with a little help from some maps of course)

We at strongly urge the traveler to resist the convenience and security of travel

groups and tour guides, and

instead do something a little rash. Take a walk on the wild side and discover

the city yourself.









Kyodo News tweeted this morning that the number of foreign visitors to Japan dropped 62.5% in April. This, if true, is a shame, because the ailing Japanese economy (which was already in terrible shape before the earthquake) really could do with the money those visitors would have spent. A lot of them probably stayed away out of a fear of radiation. That’s worse, because then they stayed away unnecessarily.

Most foreign visitors go to Tokyo or Kyoto. Both these places are well out of the way of the radiation from the Fukushima power plant.

But haven’t elevated levels of radiation been detected in Tokyo? — Yes, but the levels are still much much lower than, for example, what you would be exposed to on a perfectly typical flight on a perfectly normal passenger plane. See, for example, this graph showing the levels of radiation detected throughout a business trip to Japan. The radiation in Tokyo is barely noticeable next to the huge spikes during the times the traveler was sitting on a plane. And those spikes would of course have looked the same if he had flown somewhere else instead.

If you don’t feel comfortable going to Japan right now after all that has happened there recently, sure, don’t go. (But do go later — Japan is an absolutely fascinating country.) Just don’t stay away because you’re afraid of being exposed to radiation. Living on Earth, we’re exposed to radiation all the time, from both natural and artificial sources, and a visit to, say, Tokyo would barely register next to everything else that you are already exposed to and that is very unlikely to have any impact on your health. For a bit of perspective, here’s a nice visualization of radiation from various sources.

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