Tokyo

 

Tokyo, Japan’s capital city, mixes the ultramodern and the traditional, from neon-lit skyscrapers such as the Tokyo Sky tree to historic temples. The opulent Meiji Shinto Shrine is known for its towering gate and surrounding woods. The Imperial Palace sits amid large public gardens. Visit many of the technology malls and view the thousands of gadgets on sale. Early birds can go to a Stable and watch the Sumo Wrestlers practice – silence and respect must be shown at all times

 

How to get to Tokyo

 

We flew in to Tokyo from Beijing, from the moment we arrived we realised that these places were worlds apart considering the distance. Japan has a clean clinical atmosphere where everything looks brand new.

 

  • Taxi - Getting around Tokyo is expensive by taxi, they have ultra-smart taxi drivers. It’s like being chauffer driven with curtains in the back of the car!

 

  • Metro - Getting around by metro couldn’t be any simper, it’s easier to navigate through Tokyo’s underground than our own London underground, it’s so well sign posted so you always know where you are going.

      Here is a link to the Metro

  • Uber – Uber allows you to pay via your Uber account so you don’t have to worry about getting your money out. Uber also gives you an estimate on the fare and it’s pretty accurate.

  • Car Rental – Be sure to check if you can drive here prior to booking. You can also reserve a car online via Rentalcars

 

Where to stay in Tokyo

 

Tokyo has a lot of areas to stay in and fortunately they are all connected via a vast metro network so pretty much everywhere is good.

 

Remember that Tokyo is such a big city but they are into the space saving living compact lifestyle, so if you’re travelling solo you will most likely end up in a Pod. Or if like us you are a small family it will be a double room but really compact... unless you are a 5 staring it!!.. We weren’t!

Here are some area that may interest you.

 

  • Shinjuku - Is the best place to stay in Tokyo, located at one of the busiest transport connections making it the most convenient to explore. There are department stores, electronic stores and huge amounts of restaurants. More expensive and upmarket hotels are located here.

 

  • Tokyo Station/Marunouchi area - Is not only the city's main transport hub, it's a great place to stay. Walking distance to Ginza the city’s main department stores.

 

  • Shibuya – Massive area for shopping, transport hub

 

  • Asakusa - famous for the Sensō-ji, a Buddhist temple dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon. There are several other temples in Asakusa, as well as various festivals, such as the Sanja Matsuri. Accommodation here is reasonable

 

  • Roppong – Night clubbing scene, late night bars, restaurants. 

 

We actually stayed in an area called Morishita. This place was a quieter part of town, but still packed with restaurants and bars. The Morishita line is only a couple of metro stops into the main Ginza area.

The hotel we chose was called Oak Hotel Edo.

 

Things to do in Tokyo

 

 

  • Tokyo Tower – Copy of the Eiffel tower but used as communications tower and observation deck

  • Tokyo Imperial Palace - Is the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan. It is a large park-like area located in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo and contains buildings including the main palace

 

  • Sensō-ji - An ancient Buddhist temple located in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan. It is Tokyo's oldest temple, and one of its most significant.        

 

  • Meiji Shrine - Located in Shibuya, Tokyo, is the Shinto shrine that is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken

 

  • Sumo wrestling tournament

 

  • Morning Practice – This starts very early and you have to let them know before you go, they take practice very seriously so you can’t take pictures or talk.

  • Robot evening cabaret show - Enjoy an unforgettable evening at Robot Restaurant in Kabukicho’s red-light district.

 

  • Ueno Zoo – Great place to go see the animals of the world. Short walk from Ueno subway and JR line.

 

  • LEGOLAND discovery centre – Here you get to play with the Lego blocks, build things, and you can see the models built of Lego.

 

  • Disneyland – Visit Disney land and hang out with mickey, Minnie and the gang.

 

  • Hop on hop off bus – Sit at the top and watch the city sights as you weave in and out the busy streets of Tokyo. Visit all of the top sites in a 1 or 2 day ticket.

This is what we did over a few days in Tokyo:

We took the tube (probably one of the easiest to navigate) to Tokyo Tower and then walked around the Ginza neighbourhood. Towering sky scrapers, bright lights, designer shops and gourmet restaurants galore. Ginza really is a shopper’s paradise! Unfortunate for those living on a backpacker’s budget! But still nice to wander.

The following day we took the tube to Akihabara the tech neighbourhood. This place is seriously geek  🤓 central. Girls dressed in anime, shop fronts plastered in anime, grown men queuing restlessly down the street to watch the latest anime releases. It really is everything you imagine it to be and so much more. And as for the tech, floors on top of floors of gadgets you never knew you needed, but now can't live without.

We then took the subway to Asakusa to visit the Buddhist Senso Ji temple. Tokyo’s oldest temple.

Dominating the entrance to the temple is the Kaminarimon or "Thunder Gate". Featuring a massive paper lantern dramatically painted in vivid red-and-black tones to suggest thunderclouds and lightning. Beyond the Kaminarimon is Nakamise-dori with its shops, followed by the Hōzōmon or "Treasure House Gate" which provides the entrance to the inner complex. Within the precincts stand a stately five-story pagoda and the main hall, devoted to Kannon.

The surrounding area has many traditional shops and eating places that feature traditional dishes (hand-made noodles, sushi, tempura, etc.). Nakamise-Dori, the street leading from the Thunder Gate to the temple itself, is lined with small shops selling souvenirs.

Within the temple there are o-mikuji stalls. For a donation of 100 yen, visitors can consult the oracle and with the shake of a few labelled sticks draw out the answers to their questions.

Within the temple grounds is the Shinto shrine, although less impressive then the temple itself, what made it all the more worth it was to witness a wedding blessing.

The Sky tree was our final stop on our Tokyo city tour. Towering over 2000 foot high, making it the second tallest building in the world.

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