Tokyo is my favourite city that I have been to. A big statement to make, but this city is just soooo good. I last visited over 2 years ago and had been wanting to come back ever since. Hell, I would love to find a way to live here more permanently.
I arrived here a few days ago after finding a super cheap flight from Amsterdam to Tokyo, and rolling in jet-lagged to fuck, i quickly became lost in the rush of the place.
Staying with friends nearby Shibuya, one of the main areas of the city for nightlife, eating, shopping, etc, the first thing was to go on out for dinner at a local cheap eatery near their house.
This being Japan somehow I ended up eating fish sperm sacks.
Then hitting up small street side bars to knock back some beers and shots, and talk some shit with the locals (friends there to help translate, in a drunken state that is).
Well I promised in my last post that I was going to try and keep this Japan trip as close to real time as I show you the country. So with that this is exactly what I have been up to in my first 48 hours in Tokyo. A lot of it is places I have been to before but it’s such an awesome place you can visit over and over and not get bored.
I’m writing this not just to say what I have been up to, but to give you an idea of the things you can do on a visit.
48 Hours In Tokyo
Well I don’t have any photos of my first night here, as a rule I won’t take my good camera out when there is drinking involved (for obvious reasons), and I forgot my phone so none from that. But the beginning was that night. The first photo I can show you is getting some delicious ramen for lunch the next day with a slight hangover 😛
The food here is seriously delicious. It really is mind-blowing and not that expensive if you hit up more local places.
After eating I went to a photography exhibition (as I love photography) at the Tokyo Opera House with my 2 friends, one of whom was suffering a rather bad hangover. Sorry Koki for that vodka shot!
With my friends going back home afterwards to rest their heads I walked on by myself to the area of Shinjuku, famous as a party and shopping place. Wandering the busy streets ( I should note that I have rolled in on a holiday week and there are more people than usual around, and that’s saying a lot for Tokyo) it is great for people watching.
With the masses pouring all around I decided after a while to escape to more peaceful grounds, and Yoyogi Park is only a 15 minute walk from Shinjuku, which is where I went next. My head was a bit tired from jet-lag and vodka the night before.
Yoyogi Park is so chilled out, with huge trees sheltering you from the sun and peace and quiet all around. The real gem is in the centre of it at the old shrine of Meiji Jingu Shrine. It’s very traditional and cultural there. You wouldn’t imagine a place like it in the midst of all the modernity around.
After hilling out there for a long time I continued walking to nearby Takeshita Street (love that name, hahaha) which is known for its cosplay (costume play), although there wasn’t much of that going on that day. Still it’s a hectic place. Goodbye park relaxation. Back into the thick of it.
The whole area has loads of shops and is very youth-centric. It’s kind of hard to take photos without some youngsters flashing the peace sign 🙂
Getting back into the city high speed pace of life, I started wondering what took me so long to get back to Tokyo.
Tokyo is epic.
I got the munchies and hit up a really good spicy ramen place I knew from my visit over 2 years previously and it was just as good, I’m happy to say. I will be doing lot’s of posts about the food in Japan that’s for certain.
Going with the flow of the street life I ended up in Shibuya, where I had been the day before when arriving (and where I had written my first post here).
Watching the chaos of the famous Shibuya Crossing for a while I then walked around the area for a while before being totally knackered and going back to my friends apartment nearby to crash.
Man I slept so good that night that I woke up with no jet-lag or hangover (thank fuck we didn’t drink that night). Yes, it took only 36 hours to get over jet-lag from coming from Europe. Not bad.
My friends were still sleeping and not wanting to disturb them I went out by myself and took a 30 minute train to Asakusa district. It’s actually surprising how cheap public transport is in Tokyo. That 30 minute train journey only cost $2.
The main reason for going to Asakusa was to see Senso-Ji Temple, a historic place to the goddess of mercy. Well I don’t know about the mercy part, but it’s a very atmospheric place, with the occasional chants going on, incense burning, people in traditional clothes, and a nearby small beautiful Japanese style garden.
It was a nice sunny day and was good just to sit down in the shade of some trees and do some people watching for a while.
It is one of those places where the old is surrounded by the new, but unlike Meiji Jingu in Yoyogi Park the day before it was absolutely packed with people.
I left and walked for 30 minutes to Ueno Park, taking the back streets to get there away from the tourists and busy pace of life, where there are cute little coffee houses and only locals. The park itself was a peaceful break, but still very busy because of the holiday.
Japan is all about the cute, and you can’t escape it anywhere, like the pavement picture below in Ueno Park. But that’s all good 🙂
Chilling out there doing some sun-bathing on the grass I got up before I passed out and got walking for another 30 minutes through the busy shopping alleys of Ueno area going down to the famous geek/manga/gaming/electronic Akihabara district.
Yeah things can get weird there with cutely dressed girls selling the services of maid cafes, where the girls get dressed up and serve you as you wish, in a non sexual way. They generally don’t like having their pictures taken so always ask them if it’s ok. I’ve only included photos of them from the side so not to offend.
The area is packed with manga/animation stores, massive gaming arcades, flashing bright lights all around, and the weird.
It’s fun to get lost in!
Make sure you head up into the gaming arcades and manga shops if you do go there, the atmosphere is elctric, and you will stumble upon a few things you might not expect (yes, the used pantie machine does exist) 😛
Taking a train back to Shibuya I got thrown into the busy street life there once more. I wasn’t complaining.
I absolutely love big cities.
A short video taken in the daytime at Shibuya crossing.
Getting back to my friends later at night I was again buzzing from city life feeling so happy to be back in Tokyo and Japan.
I love Tokyo
Here’s some good books and movies about life in Tokyo –
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