If you want to escape from the concrete and steel for a day, bizarrely one of the best places to head to is the centre of Tokyo, and the area surrounding the Imperial Palace. The gardens are huge, and took as a good five hours to fully explore yesterday. You can’t get in the Palace itself, obviously, but the architecture and gardens are beautiful. Even then you’re never far from the corporate futurism; the Palace lies in the middle of Tokyo’s financial district, and is circled by the usual skyscrapers and communication towers. Even though, its nice to have the usual background noise of crowds, traffic and electronics replaced by birdsong for a few hours.
If you’re in the area, and have even a passing interest in Japanese visual arts, it’s worth checking out the National Museum of Modern Art and it’s satellite building the Crafts Gallery. There’s some great work there from the likes of Yasuki Hiramatsu, Julian Opie and Makoto Kamatsu, all elegantly presented in a modern, minimalist building.