So I am finally in Japan and I have landed in Tokyo! The flight here was really nice and smooth. It was an 11 hour BA direct flight and the food was also pretty good too (they randomly served magnum ice creams in the middle of the night!) But I stayed up the entire flight reading some new e-books that I bought at the airport so now I am absolutely exhausted.
On the plane ride over here, I was sat next to a really nice girl and we got chatting and she’s here in Japan backpacking too so we have sort of stuck together. It was really overwhelming landing in Tokyo and having to go through immigration and customs by myself so it was nice to have someone with me even if we had only met that day!
At the airport, I spent a lot of time going around trying to get myself a SIM card so I can more easily stay in touch whilst I am in Japan. Therefore, straight away I was able to experience the infamous Japanese high prices! It was pretty expensive but it has already been so worth it just to be have the flexibility to travel where I want knowing if I get lost, I have internet to use Google maps (which I have already had to do several times!).
From the airport, I had to get two trains to get from Narita airport the hostel that I had prebooked. It turned out the girl I met at the airport was only one stop away from me so we were able to travel most of the journey together. The journey took about an hour and a half but it flew by because I was so excited to finally be in Tokyo!
In Tokyo, I am staying near asakasubashi train station, so from there it was about a 10 minute walk to my hostel. I was able to check in straight away and none of the other people in my hostel room were there so I took the opportunity to have a shower, freshen up and catch up on my messages.
That night I decided to be a bit brave and go explore the local area. At this point, I was absolutely starving so I went on a hunt for some food. I was able to find a nice ramen restaurant where I ate some delicious pork ramen and chicken gyoza. At this point, I got a message from the girl I met on the plane asking if I wanted to hang out so I found my way back to the station where we met up and we made our way to Shinjuku.
We got some more gyoza there to share and started to explore Tokyo together by night. We did not really have a plan so pretty much just followed the lights and ended up seeing lots of cool things! This was Saturday night so there were lots of bars playing music and just generally a really amazing atmosphere. It was such a fun night! I tend to be a bit wary of having no proper “plans” so I was really proud of myself for being a bit more spontaneous and also for finding my way back to my hostel.
I got back around midnight and by now there were more people in the hostel so I hung out in the common room with some guys from Australia and New Zealand until quite late which was nice (although retrospectively I should have probably gone to bed as I am still so tired!)
The next day I was up bright and early to make the most of my first full day in Tokyo! The hostel held a Sunday tea ceremony in the morning, it was free of charge so that was nice. I got to try some matcha tea and some traditional Japanese sweets.
Then I got the subway to Asakusa where I went to visit the Sensoji temple. That morning I bought a “pasmo” card which is basically the Japanese version of an oyster card so it should make it more convenient to travel around using that than having to buy individual tickets everywhere.
Before seeing the sensoji temple, I saw the Tokyo skytree which was very close then I was went into the main temple which was very beautiful. It had some really elaborate and intricate art on the ceilings. Before going into the main temple, there was a smoke hole which you could breathe in and put on areas you want healing and there was also a fortune telling area. I did not really get involved with that but it was interesting to watch other people who did. The fortune telling had sheets of “good fortune”, “bad fortune” and “regular fortune”. Most people I saw got “bad fortune” and there was a tree next to it where you can tie up your bad fortune sheet so it does not come true.
There were also lots of stalls of food and clothes. I tried a small pastry with red bean paste inside which is supposed to delicacy here.
From here I made my way to Shibuya because I wanted to see the Shibuya crossing which is famous for being the busiest intersection in the world! It was pretty manic and of course, I wanted to get a picture standing in the middle so I nearly got myself crushed!
I ate lunch in Shibuya which was once again delicious. Ordering can be a bit confusing because I could not really understand the menu but I ended up with rice and what looked like chicken with ginger (although I cannot say for certain). I am still working my way up to the more adventurous foods!
Exploring Shibuya on foot, I went to a cat and a puppy cafe which had the cutest little pug! Then I stumbled upon a virtual reality art gallery which was free so of course, I went in. And it was really interesting. It was a normal art gallery but at each station you would put on the virtual reality glasses/masks and watch the artists work.
From Shibuya, I hopped back on the subway to Harajuku because I wanted to visit the Takeshita Street which was the highlight of my day! It was such a cool area with lots of weird, wacky and wonderful fashion, food and shops. I went to a rainbow cafe where I had ice cream rolls. Anyone who watches BuzzFeed or Tasty food videos will have seen them featured on there so I was so excited to get to try them! I was expecting it to just be nice for the novelty of trying them but it was actually really yummy!
From there I walked back to the Shinjuku area and on the way, I walked past the Yoyogi park although I did not really get a chance to stop and explore it properly as I wanted to get back to the hostel for a lie down.
That night, a few guys in the hostel wanted to go to Akihabara to see the SEGA arcade so I decided to tag along too. I am not much of a gamer but it was actually very cool to see all the machines, electronics and anime. They also had music blasting so it had good vibes.
When we got back to the hostel, a few people wanted to hang out in the common room but I was so tired and it was so late that I just had to get to bed or the next day would be a complete write off.
I am not sure what I am doing today but the main plan is to head to Kyoto but I will write more about that in my next post!
It’s just me, Dammy, where to next?