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Tokyo Entertainment Guide - For fun, recreation, and relaxation

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Tokyo's cosmopolitan atmosphere fosters an outstanding entertainment scene, with an option to suit any brand of visitor. Central districts like Shibuya, Shinjuku and Ginza stay busy well into the early morning hours when metro service resumes.

The bar and club scene is especially diverse, with American-style bars, karaoke clubs and hostess bars in all of the major districts. Most nightlife districts emerge from relatively drab-looking daytime shopping zones, only to be reborn in a burst of neon lights.

Tokyo's cultural offerings are just as diverse, with traditional theater and puppet shows that celebrate centuries-old cultural institutions. Sporting events are also popular, from baseball (introduced in the 1800s) to sumo wrestling.

Bunraku

The Japanese form of puppet theater has been popular since the 1600s. The plotlines and characters are geared for adults, and the puppeteers are masters at their craft. The puppets are nearly life-sized and need three puppeteers to operate them. The National Theatre of Japan puts on a Bunraku production once every quarter.

Sumo

This well-known sport dates back 1,500 years and it's still wildly popular today. Matches are fun to watch, especially if you accompany someone who knows the sport and its 48 different holds. A great place to take in a sumo match is at Kokugikan in Sumida-ku.

Kabuki

Tokyo's most popular performing art, Kabuki plays predate the 1900s. Three hundred of these were written, and the experience includes lavish costumes, dramatic plotlines and an unusually lively audience. The best place to catch a performance is at Kabuki-za theater.

 

Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo's Disneyland theme park has many of the same rides and attractions as the parks back home, most notably Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean. It also has a few world-class productions of its own. Next-door is DisneySea, a new arrival divided into seven themed ‘ports of call'.

Bars

Tokyo's diverse, high-energy night scene is open in some form at all hours. In fact, in many districts, the call to go home is when the metro goes back online at 05:00. The most famous nightlife districts are in Roppongi (with its American-style bars) and Shibuya, where neon lights bathe the streets after dark.

Clubs

Shinjuku is the best place to go clubbing in Tokyo. Many of the bars play live music, but there are just as many dance clubs. Shinjuku also has a few seedier districts with massage parlors and strip clubs, so it certainly attracts all types. For a more refined music-and-club scene, head to Ginza.