On my first visit to Tokyo I came looking for an exotic Asian city of palaces, temples, zen gardens… but found possibly the ugliest city in the world. Fires, earthquakes, wars combined with Japanese abhorrence of history have eliminated most monuments. Instead you will find an abundance of exposed electrical lines, concrete monstrosities, blinding advertisements, and multilevel expressways.
Zero concessions to city planning, the same roads and passageways that were designed to befuddle invading enemies in feudal times were kept in tact. And, most with no street names — addresses are based on a district numbering system that know nothing of logic.
Tokyo has no real center or downtown, but is made up of a series of neighborhoods that are referred to as cities. Shibuya, for one, is larger than Dublin. Urban sprawl gone amok.
Yet, even with no street names, no planning, and the “visual pollution” everywhere, the city functions shockingly well in an organized chaos sort of way. You can set your watch to the subway schedules.
Some call Tokyo the most authentically artificial place you can go.