My velvet escape travel tip: Tokyo

My velvet escape travel tip” is a guest series about what the name ‘Velvet Escape’ evokes and what that would be in the hometown of the guest writer. With this series, I hope to uncover travel tips from places around the world to help visitors have a truly local experience.

Tokyo, the capital city of Japan. My home for the past eight years and a place I’ve grown to love for many different reasons. People I talk to, including friends back home, have a perception that this city is little more than a concrete jungle with salarymen, business deals, and regular crazy commutes being the order of the day. It’s certainly true that Tokyo has it’s fair share of urban stereotypes, but one of its secrets you slowly uncover when you spend some time here are the little pockets of serenity dotted around the city. Hidden velvet escapes waiting to be found. The best way to find them? Hit the streets and forget your guidebook.

Shinjuku-gyoen during hanami So what’s my favorite velvet escape in Tokyo? For me it’s Shinjuku Gyoen .

Shinjuku epitomizes in many ways the stereotypical urban landscape, but right in the heart of it, not far from the main train station, is a place I find my peace. Shinjuku Gyoen is about a 10 minute walk from the South Exit of Shinjuku station and if I need to get off the streets and retreat from the city hussle, this is the place for me.

Whatever the time of year, this is a beautiful place to be. There’s the cherry blossom festival, summer celebrations, and the gorgeous colors of the leaves in the Fall just to get you started. The noise and smells of the city completely disappear to be replaced by the sound of running water, birds singing, and the rustle of leaves in a gentle breeze. It’s a place where I can wish, dream, forget, or just watch the world go by.

I hope you find this Tokyo velvet escape as relaxing and peaceful as I do.

About this week’s guest writer
Honor Honor Dargan has lived in Tokyo since 2001 and has developed her own website to help people visiting Japan. Her goal? Tokyo made simple. If you want to learn more about travel to this amazing capital city visit her site, TokyoTopiaand start planning!

Follow Honor on Twitter.

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14 Responses to “My velvet escape travel tip: Tokyo”

  1. Nico. 24/05/2016 12:14 pm

    Shinjuku Gyoen is really beautiful in every season 🙂

  2. James 19/01/2015 5:11 pm

    I love it when someone says put away the guide book and go “here”. The guide books certainly have their place, but they tend to direct you to the most popular and therefore most crowded sites. It’s little gems like Shinjuku Gyoen that make traveling fun. From the writer’s description I can picture myself sitting there – listening to the babbling water, the bird songs and the leaves rustling in the breeze. If I ever find myself in Tokyo I’ll look for this velvet escape.

  3. Vacation Deals 10/12/2009 2:14 am

    thanks for your wonderful tips and information..
    that would be a great help for travelers..
    love your post..
    thanks for sharing it..

  4. ciki 08/12/2009 10:28 am

    great write up Honor.. enjoyed reading the post.

    my favourite place is Shinjuku shopping district proper 😛 the chaos, the mad outfits.. the vibe! LOL

  5. velvet 08/12/2009 1:47 am

    Hi Nico,
    Thanks for your comment. I can confirm that Japan, like any destination, is as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be, just like Europe. Food is really cheap and there are many cheap accommodation options. Transport is decently priced and super efficient. Japan is a wonderful destination that’s often under-rated, precisely for the reason you mentioned.

  6. AirTreks Nico 08/12/2009 12:14 am

    One misconception I heard a lot of when selling trips to Japan is that it’s a super pricey destination.

    I wrote a blog post about it this past summer with ways to save money when visiting there.

    To read the post, it’s here:

    Amazing country though, love to return. Thanks for the post!

  7. velvet 07/12/2009 7:55 pm

    Haha, always worth a try. 🙂

  8. waitinginthedark 07/12/2009 7:41 pm

    Shall I ask Santa Klaus? 😉

  9. velvet 07/12/2009 6:50 pm

    Thank you Simon for your comment. Oh, I can so recommend Japan. The food, the city buzz, the tranquil countryside steeped in history, the food (oh I already mentioned that! 😉 and the friendly people. Awesome country.

  10. waitinginthedark 07/12/2009 6:42 pm

    Tokyo, and overall Japan, is one of the places in my travel wish list. I loved your post Honor, and your video. It really gives a sense of peace and relax. An awesome velvet escape!
    When I’ll come to Japan (when?) I will certainly get in touch with you for advice.


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