Wednesday, February 25, 2015


We arrived in Tokyo in the early afternoon allowing us to drop off our stuff at the hostel and get settled before we headed out to see the sights. Senso-ji was the closest spot on our list so we headed there first. After all of the spectacular temples of Kyoto Senso-ji seemed like a big tourist trap. There was a market leading up to it selling "traditional" Japanese items and the temple itself wasn't that big. I have heard that it is cooler at night when it is all lit up so if you are there for the sights and not just the shopping perhaps try it out after the sun sets. After that we headed to Odaiba, the recently completed man made island. As soon as we got there I was reminded of what Alisa said about Indonesia being a giant mall. From what we could see Odaiba was covered in shops, office buildings and restaurants and that's it. We ate at a Venice themed mall that had a small car museum attached to it. We did get to see the giant Gundam statue and a replica of the Statue of Liberty.

Gundam statue

On our second day in Tokyo we visited the Imperial Palace, the Meji shrine, Shibuya crossing and Harajuku. The Imperial Palace was a bust, it wasn't open that day for whatever reason. Make sure you double check these things with the staff at your hostel. I have heard that you can rent bikes and ride around the grounds and if you go when it is actually open they provide free English tours twice a day. The times were listed on the English map provided by our hostel. The Meji shrine was probably my favorite sight in Tokyo. The peaceful park nestled right next to bustling Harajuku reminded me of other great city parks; Centeral Park in NYC and Hyde Park in London. I would suggest going in any season but Winter though as the gardens seemed kind of barren and sad. Shibuya crossing and Harajuku were nice for people watching but because we went during the day and on a week day we didn't see much cosplay which is of course why we wanted to go to Harajuku in the first place. Both were cool areas to wander around though. We stumbled on some cool shops, one was Alice in Wonderland themed and another just sold condoms. 

A picture of Akihabara were we wandered around that night in search of Manga

My last day in Tokyo was pretty chill. It was an overcast day and we were both exhausted so we took our time wandering around. We headed over to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building first to check out their observation deck. We chose this over the skytree because it was free and the views are supposed to be just as good. It is nestled in Tokyo's skyskraper district and offers 360 degree views of the city. Aside from souvenirs there is also a small restaurant at the North observation deck. We enjoyed a nice and fairly reasonably priced lunch there while soaking up the view. 

The  plaque in front of this window said that one of those mountains off in the distance was Mt. Fuji. I think it is towards the left. 

After lunch we headed back to Shijuku where we had wandered around in search of the Golden Gai area one evening, Not convinced we found it. Anyway aside from Golden Gai which is a cool night life are with a bunch of closet sized themed bars, Shinjuku is mostly shopping. We had planned on walking the short distance to the national garden but with it being so cold and us so tired we chose to check out the shops instead. If you are an Alice in Wonderland fein there is an Alice themed restaurant in the area. We found it too late to go but if you are in the area for a few days and want to check it out make sure you call ahead. 

All in all I am glad I visited Tokyo but I am not sure I would go back unless I was satisfied I had seen the rest of Japan and had the money to see it in style. 

Let me know what you think of visiting big cities. What do you or don't you like about them?


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