Tokyo Travel Guide!
WOW! What a city!! Tokyo has it all - beautiful peaceful parks and lakes, modern streets that are lit up like New York but scattered with traditional architecture and temples through the city! Tokyo has a huge population of over 9 million people and with little to no high rise building because of the constant threat of earthquakes the city urban sprawl reaches as far as the eye can see!
We have broken down Tokyo into a number of different districts which are easily linked up by the train and bus network!
Train system - Tokyo Metro and JR Line - you can get a pass that covers both for 24, 48 and 36 hours which is extremely convenient, this will cost you xxx. If you you can pay as you trains will range from 180-360 per trip, according to distance and zoning.
The people of Japan are amazing! So friend and polite - although they seem to keep to themselves, they always offered to help us out, even if we didn’t need it!
I love the system, everyone follows it. You pay first, walk on the the left unless overtaking and even stand on the left of the elevators unless walking up! There are lines to the side of when the doors open on the trains, youngsters will stand to let the elderly sit, they take a card with both hands and nod (even sometimes bowl in prayer pose) to say thank you. Get on the bus at the rear then pay at the front. We loved it!!
Districts of Tokyo:
Wander the busy streets of Shinjuku during the day to see all of the shops; both clothes and the latest tech devices are in abundance, next head to the Government Building before dusk to watch a spectacular sunset over Tokyo. It is awesome to see the street lights turn on as the sun disappears and the best thing about it is that it is completely free!
Once you have finished at the Government Building, head back down and explore Shinjuju at night time! The streets get congested and people of all walks of like flock to eat at once of the districts thousands of restaurants, but the most famous restaurant of them all is Robot Restaurant!
The Golden Gai is the party district of Shinjuku, but like nowhere else in the world! This small area is packed with tiny bars that fit between 5-20 people in them comfortably, although they are licensed to hold around 50 people! It is crazy, like most places in Tokyo, the strip lights up in the evening when locals and tourist alike, pack the bars and drink all night long! To be honest, we bounced around a few of them, and all of them were fantastic but our favourite was Halo Bar.
A cosmopolitan hub full of people, shops and bright lights! Shibuya is great to wander around during the day, but even better buy night, especially at the world famous crossing that is lit up like Las Vegas! There are awesome photo opportunities at the Shibuya Crossing, so play around and have some fun with it - we did a timelapse with all of the people walking through as well which turned out to be pretty cool!
Visit the Meiji Jingu Temple the beautiful Yoyogi Park and you will arrive at Harajuku Station, which is only about 100m from the world famous Takeshita Street. Crazy busy street with weird shops and hipsters, Renound for finding youngsters in Cosplay - Sat/Sun 2-3pm best chance. Be sure to also check out Kawaii Monster Cafe in the evening!
Located to the North East of Central Tokyo, this district has great versatility, with busy streets, high end shops, markets and the beautiful Shinju Park. You can hire a canoe or paddleo and float around the lake, or follow once of its many walking tracks. After you have explored the shops that line the main strip head to the the Markets under the rail way tracks for some devious street food - we tried Takoyaki (Octopus Dumplings) and they were delicious!
Akihabara is a main intersection in the train circuit in Tokyo and it is definitely work getting off an having a wander around for an hour or two. There are slots machines going bananas, comic book stores 7 levels high, and weird cartoon restaurants with girls in cosplay if thats your flavour. The slot machines are absolutely crazy and some of the loudest and overwhelming noises that we have ever heard, and the gamers play poker machines to win tokens where they can claim toys!
Kaminarimon Sensouji, walk through Nakamise Shopping Street which is full of little markets, Hozomon Gate and onto the Senso-ji Temple. There were prayers going on when we were there which was interesting, we washed our hands and mouth before entering the temple and even donated for a prayer script, the donation was 100 yen and we shook a metal rectangular box that was full of chopsticks, that with a little hole in the corner. We then took out one of these chopsticks and it was numbered. We then went to a box with that number on it and took out a sheet of paper with Japanese writing on it.. Mine said very bad luck, bad for work and marriage for the next 12 months and my finances said the opposite! I could re-donate and pull out another number but I chose to hold onto the money and run the gauntlet, as I believe that we make our own luck!
Asakusa is also a short walk to Tokyo SkyTree, where you can see an amazing view of Tokyo!
We hope this helps give you an insight on the boroughs of Tokyo and all of the crazy and magnificent characters, shops and streetscape that you will find in each.
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