THERE was no sign of Scarlett Johnasson and I certainly didn't feel like Bill Murray.

But a holiday in Tokyo will guarantee something totally different.

Because the Japanese capital feels every bit of its 8,000-mile distance from London.

From the moment you touch down in Narita Airport you're aware you are a long way from home.

Don't let that put you off however, because just a few days in Tokyo is exhilarating.

The people are incredibly friendly - expect at least a handful to try their English out on you and others will want to have their picture taken with you too! It is a totally different culture.

From the ultra-modern neon lights of Shinjuku and Shibuya to the traditional back streets and temples of Asakusa and Ueno, Tokyo is completely diverse.

In a city that is the world's second biggest yet has no street names, the best way to navigate yourself is on the extensive and sprawling metro system.

With dozens of lines it appears complicated, but the easiest and most convenient for nearly all the of the major attractions is the JR Yamamote Line - a loop that runs above ground for most of its one-and-a-half hour round trip.

No trip on the Tokyo metro is complete without heading over to Shinjuku train station. With around three to four million passengers a day it is the world's biggest - and it would be a miracle if you could make it out without getting lost.

You will never fully know what a busy train is until you have a Japanese inspector shove you on a commuter rush hour train.

And don't think by waiting for the next one it will be less packed.

One minute later and the platform is again packed with the arriving train equally busy.

When you finally navigate your way out of the station, Shinjuku is a real attack on the senses.

By day it offers a busy shopping trip, by night it becomes packed with Tokyo teenagers and twentysomethings all sporting the latest fashions and indulging in people watching.

A trip up the nearby Metropolitan Government Offices offers unparalleled free views of the city meanwhile.

Close to Shinjuku is Shibuya - if anything even busier.

Exit the station at the dog statue entrance (clearly signposted) and you are immediately in what must be the world's biggest crossing point. The traffic stops every five minutes and the streets just become filled with thousands upon thousands of commuters, shoppers and tourists bustling along.

Again thousands of shops and restaurants crowd the area - with Starbucks having an unbeatable view. The neon lights make Shibuya a 24/7 place to be although the vending machines selling sex toys and shops such as Condomania mean it can feel slightly seedy.

But Tokyo is not all about 100 mile an hour experiences.

There are more temples and gardens than you can throw a stick at.

But two are unmissable - Menso-ji near to Harajuku and Senso-ji in Asakusa.

Japanese religion is a mix of Shinto and Buddhism and a trip to a temple is a fascinating experience.

Menso-ji is situated inside a beautiful forest of pines. After heading up a tree-lined corridor, Japan's biggest 20ft high gate marks the entrance to the temple.

The shrine was first built in the 19th century in honour of the esteemed Emperor Edo and is a peaceful haven from the city.

Senso-ji is by far the busier and is surrounded by a bizarre mix of shops selling wares such as the most creative wooden crafts to the tackiest kimono.

Sample the savoury rice crackers though - they are fantastic. As with Menso-ji, the buildings look amazing but have been rebuilt over the past 50 years after Tokyo was almost completely flattened during the Second World War.

Here you get a real flavour of the real Tokyo.

Japan is famed for its gardens and Tokyo is no exception. Head to the Imperial East gardens close to Tokyo station for a peaceful wander through the grounds of the Imperial Palace.

It is the only place the public has access to (except on the Emperor's birthday) although you can see the main palace at the Nagasaki Bridge.

The other stand out is the detached palace garden from where you can also remember the city is perched on the sea with a 40-minute boat cruise up to Asakusa.

If you have time, Tokyo National Museum (300 Yen) in the sprawling Ueno Park is one of the world's finest with a jaw-droppingly diverse range of exhibits.

And nothing is more Japanese than sumo so head over to Edo to the sumo museum for a little more on the way of life. Basho take place three times a year and tickets are available, especially early in the week.

If jet lag is a problem (or even if it is not) head to the frantically exciting Tsukuji Fish Market. Get there by 7am to experience the various stallholders bid for giant fish as soon as they come off the fishing boats.

This is the real, raw Japan.

When the auction is finished watch the fish being cut up (take old shoes though as there are literally rivers of fish blood to be negotiated) before sampling the freshest of fresh sushi.

Speaking of food, there could not be more choice. Don't be concerned by the hype around prices - you can eat a fantastic lunch for around 500 Yen.

And find a hotel that will serve a traditional Japanese breakfast - smoked fish, tempura, egg noodles, cabbage, spring noodles, tofu noodle soup and rice with green tea on the side was a fantastic start to the day.

Dinner is diverse too. While English is not widely spoken, most menus have pictures - and if not, just smile and dive in when the food is brought.

You may not know what you are eating but it will be different!