I guess I can do some decent summary of Tokyo based on last 2 days. It is a bit of a cheating from me to write for the first time about the country where I have been about 9 times already, however, considering I have never had an idea to write up a blog before, would be nice to write what I got out from this particular trip.
I tried to look at the trip with fresh eyes – taking just minor knowledge I picked from my Japanese trips in the past.
Currently in the speed train called Shinkansen – travelling between destinations within the country is best by Shinkansen. With the speed up to 234 km/h you can easily get from Tokyo to Kyoto crossing 456.43 km within few hours.
Shinkansen can be at a speed maximum 320 km/h. TIP: pre-book rail pass for the duration of your trip – it will save up a lot of time, energy and money.
Anyways, Tokyo – what can I say?
To start with, it is a well-known international capital. If you have never been in Japan, the cultural differences can slightly shock you so better to start with Tokyo. There are some international places where you can meet a lot of Germans, English, Irish, Canadians, Russians, etc. International pubs are everywhere in inner Tokyo. We went to the English pub called ‘The Mermaid” to watch a rugby game – felt like somewhere in Europe.
Get ready to struggle with Tokyo metro. It is complicated to start with as they have a lot of lines and separated train links. Spend some time at a station to figure out the algorithm and it will be easy going forward.
The best areas to your “touristic” journey would be Ginza (considered to be one of the most luxury shopping areas in the world), Shibuya, Tokyo station – they are designed for internationals – you will find a lot of places with English explanations there. That was our destinations for the day 1.
Arriving at 6:15am, we had to wait a little bit and the shuttle delivered us straight to the Hotel in the amazing DisneyLand. Sheraton provided with an amazing service. I have to mention the fantastic Japanese hospitality below.
We all humans and we all can make mistakes. Japanese people are pretty accurate but also humans (as much as they implemented thousands of robots!). The check in didn’t happen until 3:00pm so we had to leave the bags at lobby and we were promised they would be taken to our rooms as a part of the service. Great – heading to Tokyo Station to explore the area.
When we got back, we realised the bags were unattended for the whole day. The service staff had some miscommunication. They were extremely apologetic and offered Marriott Bonvoy members benefits i.e. VIP lounge access, complimentary breakfasts, extended check outs and many others. The service was exceptional after that.
The best thing about Tokyo is the fact that it contains a little bit of everything. If you want some Japanese culture touch, go to Asakusa. Asakusa (浅草) is a district in Taitō, Tokyo, Japan, 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. You can also experience Nakamise shopping street there – something similar to Manly or Bondi markets. Many stalls will offer you handmade Japanese souvenirs and treats. Walking all way down the street, you will get to the tea shop where you can watch Japanese special brewing technique and taste some real stuff 🙂
As to temples, since you are there, you must go to Asakusa’s main attraction is Sensoji, a very popular Buddhist temple, built in the 7th century. The temple is approached via the Nakamise, a shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and tourist souvenirs for centuries. Pretty much all temples we visited are free of charge.
Being first time in Japan, you will be amazed by their accuracy. If your train is at 12:58pm, it will come and leave strictly at 12:58pm – no early or late. If there is a delay, it will be communicated to you at their earliest convenience.
FASHION – amazed with the contract. Walking in Ginza and Shibuya, you are walking through posh shopping stores and centers. However, Japanese people are dressing up very modest and reserved. I expected more dressed up people including tourists on the streets – I felt how people were sometimes looking at me because of my “dressing up attire”. Realising that I didn’t use much of the make up – didn’t help – I was still in the centre of attention. I remember when I came to Japan first time and was a teenager, Japanese loved to take pictures of me. I believe they would do it now again but considering I am adult now (lol), they might be hesitant to ask. In general, being a white European with, ideally, blond hair will make you a celebrity there.
I started to capture my adventure in my Instagram stories and was happy to realise I was re-posted by Fashion World Tokyo – feeling I have just gotten unofficial reward of being fashionista in the country of sunrises!
Due to the fact that Japan doesn’t have much of the land, they build the whole new world underground. I would suggest, get out of the stations and take some time to walk on streets from station to station – this is where you will see the country at its fullest and can find interesting places to see and visit. Also, you will be able to experience fascinating architecture contract – huge modern skyscraper will stand behind oldest 6th century temple – it is breathtaking experience if you appreciate excellence and beauty around yourself.
FITNESS – On the last last day before check out (extended!), I went for a run and managed to run around the whole DisneyLand – incredible destination to do outdoor cardio. I had to head back around 7:40ish am due to humid heat and Japanese starring at the white European running around. Considering Japanese are running in very enclosed clothing, I was not SO dressed (wearing shorts and sports bra) so it could be embarrassing for them. Oh well, had to head back 🙂
Outdoor running (especially in the morning) is a great way to explore the area next to you. We haven’t gotten to the actual DisneyLand or DisneySea (age problems 🙂 ) but I appreciated the beauty around just exploring the area on my two feet.
At the end of the trip there will be some time to spend last day in Tokyo and I am aiming for Legendary Kill Bill cafe , Kawasaki suburb to pick up goodies for my Ninja Baby back home and Rainbow bridge.
Now off to Kyoto!