Ever since I had set foot in Japan, I fell in love not just with the place but with the culture, food and friendliness of its people. So subsequent trips are already a no brainer and a must do for me. I started with Kyoto and Osaka so I thought this year would be Tokyo. I really did not plan for this trip, not the way I used to do before, because I thought to just make it a laid back one and go where I feel like going, plus the sib was there too, so most of the time he was my navigator! lol
We stayed near Ikebukuro station, booked the place via AirBnb. It was a nice, cozy Japanese house and the neighbourhood simple, tranquil and friendly. There were also malls right in Ikebukuro station where I pass time lazing by having coffee. lol. Only as I was writing this blog post that I realized I did not take any photo of the place, lol.
We went to Senso-ji Temple, Meiji Shrine and Imperial Palace as they are must go spots for tourists. Apparently, for the Imperial Palace, there was a private function on going so it was closed for public, thus we can only walk through the gardens – the surrounding vicinity.
There is a strip of stores before you reach Senso-Ji temple, selling various items.
As well as a strip of food places offering Ramen, Tonkatsu, basically everything Japanese food. I quite like the wooden, traditional built of the food shops, it still somehow resembles the Edo period.
Recently put up is the statue of Hachiko reunited with his master, Dr. Ueno, right at University of Tokyo (the one in Shibuya is only Hachiko). Do note that this one entails a very long walk from the nearest train station and we had to ask around and say “Hachiko” several times for us to locate it. It was pleasing when we found it, a sweet statue of them both where Hachiko happily sees his master.
There were also the usual stops to some alleyways and malls while navigating our way through famous destinations. Of course, we also stopped by several subway stations – ate on some, bought souvenirs on some, had coffee… One has to explore the side streets and alleys as you would be amazed by some good food places siting silently in there.
Farther to the city itself, we also went to Odaiba and I went to Fuji Five Lakes too, both of which I will have a separate blog posts for.
We visited Meiji shrine as well. I find that it was very pleasing and relaxing to walk through the path towards Meiji Shrine. Although drizzling, it was a nice cool weather. We also noticed that some people wearing office attires walk through this path, some ladies even wearing high heels. So we thought that they must be there just to visit the place and pray. Talk about devotion.
The Tokyo Station is also a place for tourist to visit and take photos at, also this is their CBD area where high rise buildings stand and personally, it looks like a western area for me than Japan, I find it nice to walk around there.
Tokyo station would be your stop if you want to reach the Imperial palace. However, we were unfortunate that some of the best spots in that shrine were closed for some events so we just visited the surrounding area such as gardens.
We visited Yodobashi in Akihabara to check out some camera prices and we were amazed by how big those shops are and how wide the selections are and the items that they sell there. I was also amazed when we reached Akihabara because of the festive and young vibe, buildings are adorned with vibrant posters and ads, advertising gadgets, maid cafes, animes and so many more. We went to dine in at Maid Dreamin cafe which I will probably post in a separate blog. 🙂
We stopped by Harajuku and Shinjuku as well, both of which are places where you can find strips of stores you can buy several items at, well, shopping. lol
Shibuya! Home of the busiest pedestrian – we secured some seats at Starbucks to take photos and for me, do a time lapse from. There is about five pedestrians and the number of people crossing there at the same time, every few minutes was just astonishing. Shibuya is also a place for shopping, feast your eyes on many shops there especially cosmetics which I find cheaper, but all the others such as shoes and clothes are so exy!
I went gaga over the cheaper prices of cosmetics, brands such as Shiseido, Can Make, K Palette, Hada Labo and so many more are so affordable and I just wanted to hoard. lol.
We visited the Tokyo tower as well, and there were just so many local and Korean tourists queuing up to get to the top. We decided not to queue and just visit the ground area that has restaurants and souvenir shops.
I find that Tokyo is a very busy and vibrant city. It seems like there is always something going on and it cannot stay calm because that is just how it is. Despite being commercialized and heavily urbanized, you would still smell culture and tradition in it. I cannot compare it to Osaka or Kyoto because personally, they are on a different scale. I really enjoyed my stay and I will definitely come back here. Do stay tune for more blog posts about this trip. 🙂