21.10.2012 - 23.10.2012
From Hong Kong we flew via Taipei to narita airport in Tokyo. Japan has always been on my list of places to visit and it exceeded my expectations. I loved Tokyo and can go as far as saying it is now in my top 3 cities That I have ever visited.
We only had 2 nights in Tokyo then one night at the end but we really packed it all in. We saw as much of the city as we could and would love to have spent more time in japan but just as well we couldn't because we would have spent every cent we have, it is the most expensive city/ country we have been to so far.
On our first night we wandered the streets of shinjuku. It's such a vibrant neighbourhood which was buzzing. We people watched for ages and just walked up and down the fascinating streets. the fashions in Tokyo are incredible and so different to anything else in the world! We stumbled across a very local little restaurant for some dinner where we had lots of different dishes but the best was the tuna sashimi with avo.
That night we started to learn our way around the subway system the hard way. It is the most complicated metro to work out so we got rather lost but eventually found our hotel which was near Nihonbashi station in a lovely quiet neighbourhood . The hotel we stayed in was the cheapest we could find, besides the famous capsule hotels which I decided would be too claustrophobic. It was clean but you really couldn't swing a cat in the room!
The next morning we got up at 5am to get to the tsukiji fish market. We just wandered in to the main area with out being stopped but hadn't noticed we were the only tourists there until we were asked by the police to leave the restricted area. They don't allow tourists into the area where they fillet the fish after the auctions finish because its dangerous. We were so lucky to have got into that area, it was amazing to see the huge tuna before they get sold off. we wandered around the market and looked at all the knife shops (Byron has a fetish for kitchen knives) and had a lovely sushi breakfast as you do in Japan!
That day we walked the streets of Tokyo flat. We explored the area of Ginza which is very smart with incredible department stores and fancy food halls.
Then we headed to the area that is considered the centre of the cities teen culture called shibuya where all the young people flock for its vibrant fashion shops.
The main attraction in this neighbourhood is the shibuya crossing which is one of the worlds busiest pedestrian crossings in the world with an estimated 100 000 people passing through each hour. We found a Starbucks that had a birds eye view of the crossing to sit and watch while our feet took a break.
From there we went to harajuku which was our favourite part of Tokyo. It is famous for its fashion and the goth-Loli girls who hang out in there " goth little bo peep" style outfits. This area has one Main Street which is like the 5th avenue of Tokyo with Gucci/Louis Vuitton etc. but off this Main Street are lots of awesome little alleys with funky shops and cafes. It's very trendy and has a great vibe!
We had read and heard that seeing a baseball game is one of the highlights in Tokyo so we booked tickets to see a game at the Tokyo dome on our second night. We didn't even know who was playing but we got lucky and it was a huge game with the Tokyo giants vs dragons. The stadium was packed ( we were the only non japanese people there) and the crowd went mad when the giants won! It was our first baseball experience but such a fun one, great night out.
Byron was desperate to watch sumo wrestling while we were there but it proved a lot harder than we thought. There were no matches on but we heard you could watch the training sessions. We looked online and tried to call a few places but in the end we thought we should wake up early and try go to the address we found online so at 7.am we got a cab to the address but we couldn't find anything. So after the disappointment we went back to Harajuku for a walk around before going back to the hotel, collecting our bags, running to the subway to get to Shinjuku station to catch a bus to our next stop.
After a few nights exploring other parts of Japan we returned to Tokyo for one night. The hotel we stayed in for the first 2 nights was cheap ( Tokyo standards ) and clean even though it was so tiny.Unfortunately it was fully booked for our last night so we booked the cheapest place that was available. We arrived at about 22.30 to check in and luckily no later because the guy behind the front desk handed us a sheet of printed out rules in English and one of them was that the hotel had a curfew of 12 o'clock. The doors would get locked and there is no way of getting in, what a joke. The hotel stank of smoke, the bathrooms were 2 floors down from our room and The room was a futon mattress on the floor with No space for bags or even to walk around the bed. We loved Japan but it is not the easiest place to travel on a budget!
smallest hotel room ever
On our last day we had a delicious ramen lunch in shibuya and walked around the imperial palace gardens, a lovely day and a good way to tire ourselves out before the 7hr flight To Hawaii that night.