Tokyo is awesome and it’s quickly becoming my new favourite city! There is so much going on, so many fascinating things to do and see. I can’t imagine ever getting bored here!
Our first day in the city was eaten up mostly by travel and napping. We arrived into Tokyo Narita at 10.30am from London and we were pretty jet lagged. We didn’t sleep much on the flight over and it took a couple of days to adjust to the time difference. We still managed to do lots despite our tiredness and the news of an approaching typhoon!
We based ourselves in Shinjuku during our stay. We used Air BnB for the four nights we were in Tokyo as it worked out better value for our budget and allowed us to have our own bathroom and kitchen area. It was very compact but the location was perfect and after adjusting to the smaller space we really liked it.
Shinjuku is great, we loved the arcades, the bright lights, the number of restaurants and bars to choose from. The Golden Gai is so much fun with lots of teeny tiny, intimate bars crammed within a few small alley ways.
The transport links from Shinjuku are amazing and the majority of lines pass through so it’s understandable why it’s the busiest train station in the world. Navigating our way through the station was a complete headache! With the choice to travel on national or private train lines and platforms being located on different roads made it quite complicated to work out. Our first attempt at boarding a train didn’t go smoothly. It took half an hour figuring out which line to catch and from where! We still ended up buying the wrong ticket and getting very lost. Blaming that on the jet-lag!
We visited the 45th floor of the Government Metroploitan building to see the views across the city. For a freebie it’s a really great thing to do! There is also a cafe and bar at the top where you can enjoy the views over a lovely cold beverage. We went up on a grey, cloudy day but on a clear day it’s possible to see Mount Fuji!
Some of the freshest fish can be found at Tsujiki Fish Market. It’s a lot bigger than I expected and didn’t smell half as fishy as I thought, which was great for me because I’m not the biggest lover of fish! Sam did order an exciting selection of sushi and I tried the small amount – I wasn’t a fan so stuck with the baked salmon.
We originally planned to wake up early hours and attempt to see the tuna auction. It starts around 6am with a maximum 120 people entry so we would have had to leave before 4am to be in with a chance to get a space. Due to the metro not running at that time of the morning and a taxi being too expensive we decided against it, but definitely something I would like to see next time we visit.
Hama-rikyu Gardens was one of my favourite places to visit in Tokyo. I can’t believe that in the middle of the urban jungle was this little piece of serenity.
Nakajima no Ochaya Teahouse is located within the gardens, at the edge of a large pond. It was once owned by Shogun Tokugawa and used to host important guests visiting from other countries, much like ourselves 😉 Traditional tatami mats line the floor with red felt runners to sit on. The matcha green tea was so good we enjoyed two cups with some incredible views in complete tranquility. We found our little piece serenity within the busy city!
The Ginza is also located in Chuo. It’s a large upmarket shopping area full of designer stores, boutiques and restaurants. If I wasn’t on my backpacking budget I would have loved to spend the day shopping here!
We really wanted to visit the Imperial Palace and we were sad to find out it wasn’t open to the public during our time in Tokyo. It’s definitely on our list of things to do next time!
Nestled away in the middle of the metropolis is Yoyogi Park. The trees are so tall and thick the park looked more like a forest. It was very peaceful walking around although I forgot mosquito spray and my legs were eaten! I counted 11 bites the following day!
The Meju Jingu is within Yoyogi Park. A temizuya is located at the entrance to the shrine. It’s respectful to wash you hands and mouth before entering. There are wooden votive tablets to write your prayers and wishes on. These are hung up outside the shrine. We really liked this idea!
We went over to Shibuya for the evening and sat in Starbucks overlooking the pedestrian scramble. We love to people watch so this was right up our street! It was late when we got to Starbucks and for a weeknight we were surprised to how many people there were! This picture was taken at midnight:
We took a day trip from Tokyo to Nikko. This place is pretty special, full of some stunning shrines. We decided to just visit the one; Toshu-gu Shrine. It really was beautiful and surprisingly big! We spent a couple of hours wandering around taking it all in. There was news of a typhoon approaching so Nikko wasn’t busy at all which provided perfect opportunities for picture taking (apart from the dull skies!).
Akihabara is the anime district and very fun to walk around. Lots of tall buildings, some 7 floors high purely designed for gaming! There are some funky cafes and anime stores, people dressed up to look like characters from anime films and games. It was so unique.
Our time in Tokyo has been so much fun and we can’t wait to come back again this month for the sumo!! Now time to escape the busy city for a more peaceful couple of days in Hakone.