Oh, this blogging business is hard! When you’re out and about all day it’s really difficult to find the motivation to put a post together. I have a newfound respect for full-time travel bloggers. I don’t know where they find the time or energy!
After my last post, I spent a couple of days in Tokyo. I really loved Japan. The people are so friendly and polite, public transport is incredibly efficient and I loved the kooky side of the place – cosplay in Harajuku, all the cutesy advertising and the crazy fashion. Japanese beer is a delight, and Japanese toilets are incredible! The public toilets are so high-tech – heated seats, bidets with many different options (some of which I didn’t understand and was in no way about to try), and they’re all very clean – some even come with toilet seat cleaner to use before you sit down. I know it seems weird to gush about toilets, but trust me, they’re a revelation after the horrors of public loos in Europe, America and NZ – we could all learn a thing or two from the Japanese.
Anywho, I started off by trekking to the Metropolitan Government Building to check out the view of Tokyo from one of the towers.
Tokyo is massive! Next time I’d really like to head into more rural areas – it would be interesting to see a quieter side of Japan.
Next up, I made my way to Harajuku and Takeshita Dori. On the way, I happened to spot something quite familiar.
Not only cookies here though, they also make fantastic milkshakes.
Takeshita Dori was jam-packed. A mix of Japanese teenagers, some indulging in cosplay, and a whole bunch of tourists.
After the all the noise and commotion of Takeshita Dori, I popped across the street to Meiji Shrine for a bit of calm and reflection.
It was busy, but still quiet and peaceful.
Meiji Shrine is a Shinto shrine built between 1915 and 1926, and dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shōken. Every year, barrels of wine and sake are donated to the shrine.
Next up was Shibuya, where I saw the statue of Hachikō (and adorable little girl), what I THINK was Shibuya crossing (there were a number of crossings in the area, all equally as busy) and popped in briefly to the Shibuya 109 store.
I was pretty tired and hungry by this point so I hunted for somewhere to eat. I couldn’t make a decision on a Japanese restaurant (mainly because I had no idea what the items on the menu were), so I’m afraid to say I ended up at Hooters! However, I ended up having a really good meal – food was good, they had Budweiser on tap (I love Budweiser), great music, friendly waitresses and it wasn’t crowded. I resolved to find one of those sushi conveyor belt restaurants the next day, but it didn’t happen. In fact I didn’t find one until I went to London and had dinner at Yo! Sushi (which was absolutely delicious by the way. Go there!).
The next morning, I went to Ueno Park in search of cherry blossoms. It was just a little early for most of the trees to bloom, though there were a few that put on a good show. The Japanese go mad for cherry blossoms! They were clearly expecting thousands of visitors at Ueno Park in the next few days and were all set up for it with recycling bins galore and a bunch of food stalls nearby.
The afternoon was spent shopping. I went back to Shibuya 109, but didn’t end up buying anything as the styles are quite out there. I was amazed how small the shops are in Tokyo, considering so many people seem to gush about the huge department stores. Sure, they might have 9 floors, but those floors are incredibly narrow and the individual shops are teeny-tiny. You can walk around the whole floor in just a few minutes.
Ginza was an interesting area. It’s very upmarket and the complete opposite of Shibuya. It’s where you’ll find Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior etc. The streets are wide and a pleasure to walk down and window shop. Only window shop mind – it’s wicked expensive! However they do have a Uniqlo, which is where I spent all my hard-saved cash. I purchased quite a few thermal pieces and a couple of their ultra light down jackets – perfect for keeping warm while travelling as they bunch up really small and come with a pouch to store them in. Uniqlo’s heattech, ultra light down and airism lines are actually really affordable. Then there’s their regular fashion pieces which are much more expensive. It’s an interesting mix. The thermals and jackets served me very well when I went to the UK the following morning as it was pretty darn cold the first few days. More on that though in the next post.
Overall, I loved Japan and was sad to leave. I look forward to exploring the rest of the country on a future trip.