JAPAN Inspiration Gallery 11 Japan
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Tokyo

The ultimate metropolis, Tokyo is one of the world's most exciting and vibrant cities. While the sheer size and energy of the world’s largest city may seem overwhelming, it is remarkably ordered. It is this contradictory nature that forms the beauty of this extraordinary city – mixing hi-tech modern living, old-fashioned manners, urban design and unspoiled nature (beyond the skyline of buildings soars the magnificent Mount Fuji). Understated contemporary designs sit alongside outlandish cartoonish creations on most streets, and age-old temples, shrines and stone lanterns can be found tucked amongst cutting-edge architecture. Such traces of old Japan are still highly respected and run strong in 21st-century veins. From hole-in-the-wall noodle shops to swanky flagship stores, Tokyo has something to suit every taste and palette. If your eyes ever tire of the neon, there is always a serene garden, park or temple ground to find. Tokyo is even worth a visit purely for its fabulous food and unparalleled mass transit system.

From the traditional district of Asakusa to the centre of Manga culture in Akihabara, there are many distinctive areas to explore. The neon-lit nightlife of Shibuya is home to the iconic ‘scramble zebra crossing’, a concept which sums up Japanese culture in itself, where the bustling crowds move together to create 'ordered chaos'! The boutique shops of trendy Daikanyama are nearby, as are the famous high-fashion stores of Harajuku. For more upmarket shopping, walk down Omote-sando near Shinjuku and marvel at the dazzling flagship stores by the world’s most acclaimed architects, or explore the Ginza area just south of Tokyo station. This area is an ideal introduction to the somewhat mind-boggling capital city with a welcoming atmosphere and plenty of Michelin-starred restaurants. Spend an evening on the main streets here to mix with the well-heeled locals or for a grittier experience, explore the alleyways under the train tracks that are home to 'izakaya' pubs. Visit Ebisu and Shinjuku to join the office workers – ‘salarymen’ – for a drink after work for a real taste of everyday Japanese city-life. Roppongi is not to be missed, a lively entertainment district popular with Westerners, featuring elegant shops, the most English-speaking restaurants and bars, as well as cultural sights – most notably, the ‘Art Triangle’ made up of Mori Art Museum, National Art Centre and Suntory Museum of Art.

There are numerous easy day trips from Tokyo, thanks to the incredible local and bullet train systems. The historical Nikko with its beautiful temples, mountains and Lake Chuzenji is remarkable, as is the scenic Hakone with its acclaimed Open-Air Art Museum. The coastal Edo-period capital of Kamakura and nearby Enoshima Island are also easily accessible and provide a rural escape to the sea, with magnificent sights including a Giant Buddha statue and concealed bamboo grove. We recommend that keen walkers head to Mount Takao for a relatively gentle climb, complete with breathtaking views.

Tokyo is captivating all year round, but the best time to visit is during the spring and autumn to appreciate the capital in its full effect: cherry blossom or fiery red leaves enhance the spectacular panoramic views.

>> Read our blog: Everything you need to know about visiting the Imperial Palace in Tokyo

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When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.
Susan Heller

Client Testimonials

I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
Ampersand’s preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet booking age. They were a delight to deal with!
- Mr David Wallace, North India
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
I would recommend Ampersand without any hesitation!!! The best travel agent that I’ve ever had dealings with. Everything – from the individual care and attention in helping to plan the trip, through to the efficiency of the agents on the ground in India – was handled brilliantly. An absolutely first-class service all round.
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India

From our Instagram

One of our #Cambodia specialists, Simon, has just returned from the wonderful #ShintaManiWild & couldn’t recommend it more! 🇰🇭
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One of the most sought-after wilderness destinations in the world. Reigning over 15,000 Square kilometers of land - there's no wonder that its home to 200 different species of mammals!
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As the year begins to draw in, here at Ampersand HQ we've been thinking about where our adventures in 2020 will be, but where will be yours? 🌍
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Will it be on the soft white sand beaches of #Cambodia @songsaaprivateisland, indulging in the colourful cuisine of #Vietnam, rejuvenating at @vanajourney, #India, hiding away beneath the #okavangodelta or exploring the endless shrines and Temples found in #Japan...
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A colourful city packed full of contrast and a variety of ethnic districts ready to be explored!
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#LittleIndia, originally a division of colonial Singapore. Today a vibrant district with a mix of Hindu and Chinese Temples and The House of Tan Teng Niah - one of the last surviving Chinese villas in the Indian enclave
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💧#WaAle is calling our name this Monday
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Set on a secluded island in the #MerguiArchipelago, this eco resort makes for the perfect tropical escape
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