Maigo in Japan: Tokyo

When I first told a few people that I would be spending a week in Tokyo, they looked at me like I was crazy, and told me “a week in Tokyo is too long!”. Clearly these people have not realised just how BIG Tokyo is. After all, it is the largest metropolitan area in the world.

Tokyo

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I had been to Tokyo before, but there were still many places I had never been to. Also my partner Matt came to join me in Tokyo, and it was his first time. So between sightseeing and meeting up with old friends, our agenda was pretty full.

On our first day, almost immediately after arriving at our hotel, Matt fell asleep and was pretty much impossible to wake up. So I thought I’d use this opportunity to do some laundry. The laundromats were on the top floor of our hotel, and while my clothes were spinning away, I looked out the window and realised I could see the Sky Tree from our hotel! Not being one to waste a single day of my holiday, as soon as my washing was done, I dashed out of our hotel on my own towards the Sky Tree.

The view from our hotel
The view from our hotel

Not knowing where I was going, I decided to walk to the Sky Tree. It was a really nice day, and I saw some interesting things along the way.

Sumida gawa
Sumida gawa

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I didn’t go up the Sky Tree that day, but walked around Sora Machi (the shopping mall). After spending a couple hours shopping, I decided it was time I walk back to the hotel. But I could not for the life of me remember which way to get back. My main problem was I could not remember which way I had come in, and spent about an hour going round in circles trying to find my way back. Two very nice oba-san tried to help me when they saw me looking at a map by asking me where I wanted to go. I told them I needed to walk back to minami-senju. They both looked at me like was crazy, telling me it was way too long of a walk (it had taken me about 50min). One of them was so concerned, she even offered to give me money to take the train or a taxi. Honestly, Japanese people are just too nice! I was so touched by her offer. I thanked her, but politely refused, assuring her I had money to take the train. I then pretended to go take the train, so as not to worry her any further, but really I was determined to walk home. I had walked all the way here, and I could walk all the way back. I’m surprisingly quite stubborn when I want to be. I eventually found my marks and made it back (^^)v That evening we then met up with an old friend and had sushi for dinner. I was pretty tired from having gotten lost, but the next day was when the real sight seeing would begin.

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The next day, we actually went to Nikko. There are many day trip destinations you can go to from Tokyo. So if you ever feel like getting away from the big city, you’re only ever an hour or two away from somewhere new.

In Nikko, we went to the Toshogu shrine, where Tokugawa Ieyasu’s remains are. It’s a spectacular place to visit. But be ready to climb some steps!

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The three wise monkeys
The three wise monkeys

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Tokugawa Ieyasu's urn
Tokugawa Ieyasu’s urn

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The day following Nikko we decided we were going to see Tokyo using the Yamanote Line, which goes in a circle around the city. It stops at the main famous spots like Shibuya, Ikebukuro, Harajuku, Shinjuku, Ueno and Roppongi. My JR Pass was valid on the Yamanote and Matt bought a day pass for only 730 yen. So we spent the whole day getting on and off trains.

Akihabara
Akihabara

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Hachiko
Hachiko
Shibuya crossing
Shibuya crossing
Hrajuku Takeshia dori
Harajuku Takeshia dori

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Meiji jingu
Meiji jingu
Tokyo station
Tokyo station
Imperial Palace
Imperial Palace
Marunouchi
Marunouchi
Performer in Ueno Park
Performer in Ueno Park
Toshogu Shrine (Ueno)
Toshogu Shrine (Ueno)
A memorial with a flame from Hiroshima
A memorial with a flame from Hiroshima

Of course, being the anime fan that I am, I couldn’t leave Tokyo without going to Odaiba to see the life-size version of Gundam! I had never been to Odaiba before, but it turned out to be one of my favourite places in Tokyo. Not just because it has a giant robot, but also because it’s actually quite a spectacular place. Even just getting there was quite exciting. If you take the monorail, which rides directly above the water, you’ll get amazing views of that part of Tokyo, as you go past the Rainbow Bridge, Fuji Television station and many more sites.

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And although we weren’t really allowed to, my friends and I also went on the shore to do senkou hanabi  (sparklers). Shhh! 内相にしてね  😉

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The other place I really wanted to go to while in Tokyo was Tsukiji market, especially that it’s closing down soon. Although, I believe it’s actually being relocated (in Toyasu if I’m correct). I not only wanted to go to the market, but I also wanted to see the auction, which is held at about 5:30 in the morning! In order to get there on time, I took the advice of Tokyo Cheapo and slept in manga cafe! We aimed to get there at 4AM, and there is no transport at that time. But where we stayed was only a 10 minute walk away from the market. We thought we were going to be one of the first ones there, but when we arrived at 4, already half the spots had been given (120 people limit)!

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Watch out for these guys! They're quick and it's up to you to get out of the way ;)
Watch out for these guys! They’re quick and it’s up to you to get out of the way 😉

We had really fresh sushi for breakfast at a restaurant called Daiwa, and it was delicious! It was a little bit expensive, but worth every yen of it 😀

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After breakfast and a quick stop at our hotel, we were then on our way for another day trip to Kamakura. One of the main attractions in Kamakura is the Daibutsu (giant Buddha), but there are many many other shrines to visit too. Way too many for us to visit in a day. And there’s also a beach! All in all I really enjoyed Kamakura. The whole town was just so charming, and I couldn’t help but think I could actually live here 🙂

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We also went to Yokohama, which I really enjoyed. I was surprised to see the amount of Jelly fish there were in the water though. I don’t ever plan on swimming there!

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My trip to Japan was absolutely amazing. I can barely put it in words. It was so good, I’m already planning my next holiday there, and if possible, a move even! 😀 From the food to the sites, I honestly enjoyed every bit of it. But most of all, the people were really special.  A big thank you to all my friends, but also to the oba-san who shared her umbrella with me when it was pouring down with rain, the oji-chan who bought me ice-cream in the dreadful heat, the onee-san who invited me to join the nebuta parade, the obaa-san who covered me with her scarf because I was cold on the shinkansen and many more strangers I met along the way who made my trip even better. 日本、ありがとう。また来ます ^^

I’ll leave you with another of my favorite things about Japan…their fireworks 🙂

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7 thoughts on “Maigo in Japan: Tokyo

  1. Wow – sounds amazing! I did a lot of the same stuff when I was last in Tokyo – used it as a base for day trips, which was great! Love your photos and glad you had such an awesome time! 😀

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    1. Thank you very much! I took over a thousand pictures so I’m glad some of them turned out ok 😀
      I think I definitely underestimated Tokyo and the Kanto region. There are so many places to see! Which is great because now I know next time I visit Tokyo, I’ll still have a lot of different places to visit 🙂

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  2. Very cool. I like your main header shot. Any photos of the jellyfish?!
    It’s great to see footage of the Tsukiji auction. I didn’t get up early enough when we went 😉 I bet the new year’s auction is pretty crazy!

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