Tokyo: Sparkling New & Ancient Too

with Martha Chapman

Shin Kawai, Director of Tokyo Tourism’s Toronto office

Beautifully presented food, of course!

Learning from the sake master, Michael Tremblay

With winter howling through the towers of Toronto’s financial district, it was wonderful to be welcomed into the warmth of Ki, a Japanese Restaurant located smack dab on Bay Street. The occasion? An evening hosted by the city of Tokyo.

Shin Kawai, Director of the city’s tourism office here, greeted members of the travel trade media and the Travel Media Association of Canada to an event highlighted by sushi and (of course) sake.

“Last year we welcomed more than 300,000 Canadians to Tokyo – our highest number ever,” he told me proudly, adding that most first-timers visit the Golden Route (Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Kyoto and Osaka) as an excellent sampler of the country.

Travel writer and Japan enthusiast Steve Gillick gave a presentation highlighting the city’s diversity. “Even with 38 million people in the greater Tokyo area, it’s important to know that it’s really a vast cluster of tiny villages. Gardens, food trucks, fall foliage, festivals, cooking schools, visiting the sumo ‘stables’ to see the wrestlers train, theatre-themed tours:  there’s something for every taste and interest.” He also mentioned visiting Tokyo’s famed Ginza neighbourhood, home since the 1880s to inveterate shoppers and your one-stop shop for everything from designer duds to, yes, a samurai sword.

And making it easy to get around is the city’s astounding subway system, with almost 300 stations served by 13 lines.

The evening concluded with a tasting with Michael Tremblay, Canada’s first “Sake Samurai” – a wonderful taste of Tokyo in T.O. 



Tokyo’s impressive subway system




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