Tokyo, Japan is the destination I longed for since the age of anime and since I began discovering its history and culture. This article is about the first part of our trip to Japan, and is concentrated on Tokyo area, where we began our journey.
In my previous article I gave some insights on the preparation when traveling to Japan. Now let’s see what we have done in the first part of our journey.
Part 1. When in Tokyo
Day 1 . Tokyo
The first thing when getting off the plane after 14-hours flight was to do the bureaucracy of passing the gates and receiving the holy stamp which granted us the permission to stay. To avoid any problems, make sure to prepare well your (extra) papers before departure. Learn what in my preparation guide for Japan.
Second thing was to find our shuttle for the hotel and begone from the busy airport of Haneda. The buses were leaving every several minutes in many directions of Tokyo. We had to wait 10 to have ours, so we had plenty of time to witness the awesomeness of a daily job in Japan:
- buses were coming at the precise second announced on the monitors
- 2 people were attaching name tags on the trolleys as we waited for the bus
- when the bus came, they put quickly our bags in the bus
- we waved back, as they were making a reverence at our departing bus
Day 2. Tokyo
The second day started really early due to the jetlag, so we made most of it, as we planned an early tour at Tsukiji Market, the biggest fish market in the world (that in November 2016 will change to Toyosu). A haven of fresh fish and seafood restaurants.
If you want to assist to an auction at Tsukiji, there are only 120 visitors accepted inside. Tickets are free and on a first-come-first-served basis, but you have to arrive very early, between 4:30 and 5:00 in the morning.
Our visit in Tokyo continued to Ginza district, given it’s not far from Tsukiji. With our friend showing us around and with her explications (in Japanese), we understood that Kabukiza is a type theater where only men perform. If you have time, you can assist to a play for only (the equivalent of) ~10€ for 30 minutes, all in Japanese, even the brochure of the play.
In the afternoon we passed by Asakusa where we saw the red Senso-ji Temple, the first temple I’ve ever seen. It felt that I belonged there, to that place and that epoch. We read an o’mikuji, a fortune teller paper which you have to attach on a string near the temple if it’s negative prediction, in order to avoid it happening. If the prediction is positive, you take it with you.
After that, we climbed Tokyo Skytree, a very expensive attraction (~17€) with the fastest elevator that took only 50 seconds for climbing 350 m out of 634 m, the total altitude of the highest tower in Japan.
Our visit finished in Akihabara, the district where all manga and figurine shops are located, the land of coffee maids, Naruto Cafe, Sega buildings and electronics shops. When in Akihabara my inner otaku showed up as we roamed through the district, from an activity to another.
Day 3. Tokyo
Third day started in the Park of Shinjuku, a hidden green gem inside the concrete walls of Tokyo. We continued to Ikebukuro and Roppongi and got lost when trying to reach Shibuya by foot. We had to go underground in order to arrive at the Shibuya station.
Shibuya is simply a spectacle with its Diagonal Crossing, the statue of Hachiko and the streets swarming by young people. Make sure you witness the Diagonal Crossing from the first floor of the station, and live, by… crossing it.
Day 4. Day-trip to Nikko
As Nikko is a UNESCO listed place, we had to get there and discover as much of the traditional Japan as we could. With our stay in Tokyo, it was very simple to go for a day-trip in Nikko.
Day 5. Day trip to Kamakura
As well as Nikko, the city of Kamakura has a lot of filled-with-history gems, that you must see if you are in Tokyo. The most well-known attraction is the Grand Bouddha, a bronze statue of 11 m altitude.
I hope you enjoyed this post. I sure had a blast writing it, going through the photos and the memoires of my travel diary. Please make sure to check Part 2. When in Kyoto.
For a quick overview on Tokyo, you can check my Top 10 activities in Tokyo.