Tokyo is a blast! It's a full-on head-rush and an explosion of sensory stimulation – sights and sounds, and the tastes of real Japanese food. Tokyo is one of the world's great megapolises (there are 33.5 million people in the greater Tokyo area!), and here you can find the quietness of a Shinto shrine amidst towering steel-and-glass skyscrapers and fields of neon, here the cutting edge and the traditional coexist in ethereal harmony – kimono-clad computer warriors, punk rockers with impeccable manners.
There are some excellent multi-day tours that depart from Tokyo, including the two- or three-day Kyoto & Nara by Bullet Train (Sunrise Express) and the three-day Mt Fuji, Hakone, Kyoto and Nara by Bullet Train Tour. But if you'd rather make your own arrangements try some of the following.
Take a Tokyo Morning Tour that first takes you up the dizzying heights of Tokyo Tower, which, at 1092.52 feet (333 meters), is the tallest self-supporting tower in the world, pipping the Eiffel Tower by 43 feet (13 meters). There's not much you can't see from up there. Then onwards for photo opportunities at the Imperial Palace Plaza, through the shopping precincts of Akihabara and Ueno, to Asakusa Kannon Temple. More shopping neighborhoods at Nakamise and Ginza, and onto Tasaki Pearl Gallery to see how pearls are cultivated.
After lunch check out some Kabuki (Japanese Theater) at Tokyo Kabuki-za. This formal Japanese stage art is very traditional and features amazing costumes, bright makeup, song, dance and music. An interpretive English-language closed-circuit audio service is available.
If you fancy something a little more visceral than high-fallutin' Kabuki theatre, get on the bus for the Sumo Wrestling Tour. Sumo is Japan's oldest sport dating back 1500 years. The starting weight of sumo wrestlers is about 330 pounds (150 kilograms), although Musashimaru from Hawaii is 495 pounds (225 kilograms). These guys eat around 20,000 calories every day (about 10 times the average adult daily requirement).
The Tokyo Night Tour and Japanese dinner is a highlight and very popular. The famous Sanju Sangendo restaurant is the venue for your authentic Japanese meal where you can sample sukiyaki, sashimi and tempura. Afterwards the tour goes across Rainbow Bridge to the futuristic Aqua City at Odaiba and then through Akasaka and Ginza to the Roppongi Hills for fantastic over Tokyo at nighttime.
At 12,388 feet (3776 meters), Mt Fuji is one of the iconic images of Japan. The Mt Fuji and Hakone Day Tour (return by Bullet Train) is a fantastic day tour that takes you from Tokyo by deluxe coach past scenic countryside and up to the Mt Fuji 5th Station at 7562 feet (2305 meters). After lunch there's a cruise on Lake Ashi, a cable-care ride up and down Mt Komagatake, and then onto Odawara to board the Shinkansen super-express (the Bullet Train) for your return journey to Tokyo.
We get rave reviews about the Nikko World Heritage, Toshogu Shrine, Lake Chuzenji & Kegon Waterfall Day Tour. Little Nikko is at the entrance of the Nikko National Park, and is most famous for the lavish Toshogu Shrine & Mausoleum. For centuries Shinto and Buddhist worship has been practised here amongst the mountainous landscapes, lakes, waterfalls, hot springs and wild monkeys. The tour goes over the Irohazaka mountain road with its many spectacular hairpin turns. Lake Chuzenji is in the Nikko National Park at the foot of sacred Mt Nantai, an extinct volcano.
Alternatively, spend a day doing the Kamakura Walking Tour including the Great Buddha. At Kotokuin Temple there's the imposing bronze Great Buddha at 37.4 feet (11.4 meters) high. The walking tour takes in Hase Kannon Temple with views over the town and the Pacific Ocean, a rickshaw ride to historic Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine and Komachi shopping street full of art and craft shops.