I was in Tokyo last weekend and that trip was just perfect. I anticipated that trip sooo much and now it is over. Sigh. I fell in love with Tokyo! I have never been in a city like that before – extremely hectic and crowded. I have seen the traditional side of Japan in Kyoto and in Tokyo I saw the modern side. I love both but because of the big contrast trip to Tokyo was rousing.
After screening all the different options how to get to Tokyo we decided to fly there. There are night buses that cost around 5000-6000 yen (price depends on your luck) one-way and the travel time is 9 hrs. There are also different Shinkansen trains (bullet trains) and the cheapest one-way ticket is around 10 000 yen and the travel time is around 3,5 hrs. We decided to fly and the total cost (two ways) was around 15 500 yen (110 euros) and the one-way travel time is around maybe 6 hrs (if there are no hinderance).
We were in Tokyo from Friday to Monday which was enough for me. The city is so busy and even though we tried to take it easy the city wore us down. Surprisingly though the distances are actually quite tolerable. Districts that we visited were Roppongi, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Tsukiji, Odaiba and Akihabara.
On Friday we went first to Roppongi, and visited the Mori Art Museum and Tokyo City View Tower. The area is very modern and it is also known for its nightlife. In the Mori Art Museum we were able to visit the normal museum and with some extra fee we were able to also see a Tim Burton exhibition. One of the themes in the museum was relational art which was so nice. There were pieces of art from an artist, Lee Mingwei, who involves ordinary people in his art. For example his piece of art “Moving Garden” wants people to take a flower and give it to someone who they don’t know. I took a flower and gave it later to an older lady who was seemingly surprised and glad after receiving the flower. We also went to see the city view from the top of the roof (open space), and also from the inside of the Tokyo City View. Ahh.. The open space, cool breeze and the amazing view.. I want to go back.. Then we found a mexican restaurant where I ate a tasty nacho platter and thinking of it now makes my mouth water. Because I haven’t been eating much (or enough hehe) nachos, cheese or other spicy stuff the restaurant made the day just perfect.
On Saturday we went to the Shibuya area where I was finally able to meet my furry hero, Hachiko. That has been one of my highlights during my stay in Japan :-D Hachiko is situated next to the Shibuya metro station. Also Tokyo’s busiest square, “Time Square”, is in Shibuya. I’ve read that hundreds of thousands of people cross that one intersection every day. Later we continued to Shinjuku district and specially to the Harajuku area which is known for its crazy fashion people. Sadly we saw only few extreme fashionistas. We also visited the “red light district” which is called Kabukicho. That was so lame hehe! Maybe we were too early there because we were there around 6pm and didn’t see anything special. Just many “gentlemen clubs” and also places for women. Unfortunately the pictures and advertisement (pics of men) for women didn’t attract me.. I know I am picky..
On Saturday night we had a girls’ night out and decided to head to the famous nightlife area which is Roppongi. We took the last subway to that area and planned to party until morning and we were quite successful. I think the bar was called Muse and we stayed there until we decided to get something to eat and head back home.. Muse was very entertaining haha. I think that bar is called a “meat market”. I’ve never seen Japanese people show so much interest in us than there. And just in general we noticed that Japanese people in Tokyo are more eager to have contact with us and are not afraid to speak in English. Anyway that night we met lots of people and people who were interested to talk with us. Perfect night!
On Sunday we went to the “nerd district” which is called Akihabara and we just strolled around the streets and visited the consumer electronic stores. This might sound strange but we also visited a sex shop :-D it had many storeys and it was very inviting hehe. That was a strange visit.. I will not say anything more except if you find something similar just go in… After the nerd district we went to see the Rainbow Bridge to Odaiba. The way to Odaiba with monorail was amazing! Very mesmerizing view!
On Monday I was the only one who fought strongly enough and woke up early to go to the Tsukiji market. Although I didn’t see the tuna auction the visit was interesting. I’ve read that one should go really early there because everything is over after 9am but when I tried to enter the fish market at 8:30am a guard was running after me saying that I am not allowed to enter… I was confused.. I tried to put my cutest smile on and ask kindly that where is the fish market and he pointed the direction I was trying to go.. then I asked that when can I go there and he said that after 9am. So I was very confused! Later when I went there I saw many signs that said that a visitor shouldn’t be inside the market area before 9am. Anyway I seemed to be almost the only foreigner inside, and it was very fascinating to watch the workers’ and the customers’ trading, and the fresh and living sea creatures were also interesting. I am surprised that I didn’t find myself under a forklift because they were driving around wildly.
Aahhh.. I just want to go back.. the atmosphere in Tokyo was mesmerizing and I definitely want to go back. Here are Tokyo’s pros and cons in a nutshell:
Pros of Tokyo
- More relaxed Japanese people (superficial insight)
- Modern buildings
- Lots of buzz everywhere
- One can just go and stroll around and be spontaneous
- Big variety of clubs and bars
- Many interesting museums (that I didn’t have time to visit)
- Many interesting districts
- English-speaking people!
- People watching!
- Metro system was easy to use
Cons of Tokyo
- The streets are so lively and full of interesting stuff that it is hard to find places
- Sometimes there are too many people in one place
- A bit expensive restaurants (but not more expensive though than in Finland)
I also recommend our hostel to people who like budget accommodation. Aizuya-Inn was very affordable and convenient!
So in conclusion, I loved Tokyo :-)