The pace is lightning-quick in Tokyo, but there are islands of serenity folded into the fabric of this urban maelstrom that preserve the essence of Japan. Rising early, I followed several of its most interesting threads, first into the stalls of the cavernous Tsukiji Fish Market (Tsukiji Metro Station), always at its busiest before 9 a.m. Boatloads of frozen tuna were being unloaded and auctioned as I downed the freshest sushi breakfast on Earth.
Then, armed with a map and a one-day unlimited pass on the Tokyo Metro, I headed north for Ueno Park and the Tokyo National Museum (www.tnm.go.jp), the premier repository of all things Japanese. Cutting short its delights after a mere hour, I ambled next door to Tokyo’s oldest, most vibrant temple, Sensoji, with its golden statue of the Goddess of Mercy. At the temple gates I consumed what remained of the morning by surveying Nakamise Dori, Tokyo’s most celebrated pedestrian lane, overflowing with vendors of traditional crafts and scrolls.
After ascending to the summit of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office Building No. 1 in Shinjuki, where on a clear day you can see all the way to Mt. Fuji, I descended into the trendy boulevards in Harajuku and Aoyama, sipping coffee at a sidewalk café and putting in another round of people-watching. To recharge my sightseeing batteries,I paused at the Meiji Jingu Shrine and toured its Iris Garden. Then I worked my way through the crowded upscale shopping corridors of Omotesando Dori to the Oriental Bazaar (5-9-13 Jingumae, www.tokyo-bazaar.com). This souvenir hunter’s paradise is renowned for its reasonable prices on everything from kimonos to kitsch. After filling a shopping bag, I drew a breath at the Hasegawa Saké Shop (www.hasegawasaketen.com) in the Omotesando Hills Shopping Center, where I sampled several cups of fine rice wine.
Come dark, I checked out the neon-lit entertainment districts of the Ginza and Roppongi before settling in at the Imperial Hotel (www.imperialhotel.co.jp) for the Kamon restaurant’s supreme open-grill teppanyaki dinner.
My wanderings concluded with an immersion in the essence of Japan — not in a geisha bar, but in a bath. In the wee hours I crossed over the Rainbow Bridge to Ooedo-Onsen-Monogatari (www.ooedoonsen.jp/higaeri/english/), part of the vast Odaiba amusement complex on Tokyo Bay. This Neo-Edo-era bathhouse village is replete with sand baths, footbaths, hot-spring tubs (onsens) and other soaking pools that defy description but soothe the senses supercharged by a Tokyo whirl.
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Global business travel is making its way back, even as the pandemic and other world events continue to challenge its return. In a recent poll from the Global Business Travel Association, more than four in five respondents (86 percent) from across the industry said they feel more optimistic than they did at the beginning of the year. Business travel bookings, the need to travel to do business and employee willingness to travel are all on the rise.
Anantara Chiang Mai, the deluxe resort on the banks of Thailand’s Mae Ping River, relaunched the city’s most famous high tea experience, served on the terrace of the 100-year-old British Consulate that today houses the resort’s Service 1921 Restaurant & Bar.
The Hotel Bel-Air hosts a new end-of-summer BBQ with Master Chef Wolfgang Puck on the lawn of the hotel. The event is back after a three-year hiatus, set to take place Sept. 6. Guests will be able to enjoy an evening featuring backyard-style barbeque and seasonal summer favorites.
United Airlines remains firmly committed toward sustainability in aviation. The latest development in its eco-conscious goals includes working with Oxy Low Carbon Ventures to commercialize the production of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) with biotech firm Cemvita Factory. Cemvita looks to develop a revolutionary new way to produce SAF by using carbon dioxide and synthetic microbes. Additionally, United Airlines Ventures (UAV) recently announced an equity investment in Fulcrum, and United has invested more in SAF production than any other airline in the world.
The Oberoi, Marrakech introduces its new holistic wellness program, SAHA. Meaning health in Arabic, SAHA aims to help guests reach their full wellbeing potential. The program operates on four key cornerstones: soul & spirit, active body, holistic treatments and a better plate.
Much of the global business travel industry has already made sustainable business travel a priority with a focus on reducing emissions and their environmental footprint. But the industry, as well as external stakeholders, such as policymakers, recognize more needs to be done.
Emerald Cruises christened its newest Star-Ship, Emerald Luna, in a ceremony in Amsterdam as it prepares to sail the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers of Europe. Equipped to host up to 180 guests, Emerald Luna saw many members of Scenic Group, the parent company of Emerald Cruises, attend the ceremony, including U.S. travel industry advocate and educator Vanessa McGovern, who took honors as godmother during the ceremony.