Japan is separated from the Asian mainland by 160km (100 miles) of sea. About 70% of the country is covered by hills and mountains, a number of which are active or dormant volcanoes. There is much to see in the capital city of Tokyo. The Imperial Palace with its grounds set out as a park; Ginza, the shopping and entertainment area; Shinjuku, the western quarter with a national park, the Botanical Garden and the Meiji Shrine. There is a thriving nightlife with clubs, theatres, music and food from all over the world.
Japanese cuisine, now popular in the West, involves very sensitive flavours, fresh crisp vegetables and an absence of richness. Specialities include teriyaki (marinated beef/chicken/fish seared on a hot plate), sukiyaki (thin slices of beef, bean curd and vegetables cooked in soy sauce and then dipped in egg), tempura (deep fried seafood and vegetables), sushi (slices of raw seafood placed on lightly-vinegared rice balls very tasty and refreshing), and sashimi (slices of raw seafood dipped in soy sauce).
Tokyo has an abundance of cinemas, theatres, bars, coffee shops, discotheques and nightclubs. A wide range of bars is available, from the posh and stylish to cheap street stalls. In the summer, rooftop beer gardens are popular. Some clubs have hostesses who expect to be bought drinks and snacks. In bigger nightclubs and bars, a basic hostess charge is levied. However, there are thousands of other bars and clubs.