Tokyo Metropolitan Area (including the city, its suburbs and the Izu-Ogasawara islands) is the home of approximately 12 million inhabitants. Tokyo is the administrative capital city of Japan since 1868 when Emperor Meiji moved to Edo (old name of Tokyo).
The cherry blossom is at its best in the Tokyo area between the end of March and the beginning of April. The weather is generally fine with sometimes chilly evenings and showers.

Earthquakes may occur, although most of them are generally hardly noticeable (especially by deep sleepers...)
Banks and post offices are open from 0900-1500 and 0900-1700 during the week and closed on Sat-Sun.

Be aware that cash-vending machines that accepts foreign card are hard to find in the vicinity of the NIPR... Most department stores accept card payment but this does not necessarily apply to small shops or restaurants. Plan to bring cash or travellers' cheques with you.

Currency: 1 yen, 5 yen, 10 yen, 50 yen, 100 yen and 500 yen coins. Bank notes are 1,000 yen, 2,000 yen, 5,000 yen, and10,000 yen.

1 US dollar is about 118 yens / 1 euro is about 126 yens (22 January 2003).
Shops are open all days of the week between 1000-1900.

Convenient stores (mini-supermarket selling 'almost' everything) are open 24/24h, all days of the week and can be found at every streets corner.
Electric current is 110V. Bring your plug adaptor or buy one at Narita airport...
Possibility to jog along the river nearby the NIPR (especially reccomended if the cherry blossom season is on...) or to use the neighbouring gymnasium.

Several small, cheap restaurants are available close to the NIPR.
Experience the 'genuine' Japanese life by paying a visit to the public bath (all over Tokyo)...
Numerous parks can be found in Tokyo. Ueno-zoo is worldwide famous.

The Meiji shrine provides an 'ocean of serenity and green' deep in the middle of Tokyo.

Akihabara, the 'electric town', offers thousands of shops for camera, computer and other electronic devices' lovers.
For those wishing to travel around after the symposium, we particularly recommend Kamakura, South-west of Tokyo, or the little town of Nikko, North of Tokyo, both offering a variety of temples and traditional features. Make sure to visit the hot springs during your trip.

The Izu and Chiba peninsulae, 1 or 2 hours by train from the Tokyo Metropolitan area, are also worth of a visit.
Special mention for birdwatchers: several wet lands can be found inside Tokyo with numerous birdwatching sites (contact A Kato or Y Ropert-Coudert for details).

Oystercatcher (Miyakodori) Haematopus ostralegus
from Naoto Kitagawa
For more information on sightseeing, visit the following links:
Tokyo-Yokohama sightseeing
Japan National Tourist Organization Homepage