I apologize that this took so long, but after a week, here is my post
about my Golden Week trip to Tokyo. I’m not sure how detailed I
will be, but the
album at least has comments about where we went and some of the
things we saw.
Our trip started late Wednesday night, as we (Allen, Kristian,
Adam, Chris, and I) met up at Kyoto Station to take a night bus leaving
around midnight. The bus was an interesting experience. It is a pretty
cheap way to travel (although during Golden Week it was harder to find
the cheap tickets) and it essentially saves a night of lodging,
assuming you are able to sleep on the bus. The seats were decently
comfortable, and they reclined pretty far back, but we also stopped
every couple of hours to let people use the restroom and whatnot, so
it was tough to get solid sleep. I got lucky and sat in the front row,
so at least I didn’t have to worry about my legs getting crushed
by a reclined seat in front of me (I wasn’t as lucky on the
We arrived in Tokyo at Shinjuku Station around 8 in the
morning. Unfortunatley it was raining pretty hard, and it didn’t
stop for about a day and a half. We didn’t mind finding things
to do indoors, but I think the biggest downside to the rain was that
it meant not many other people were out, so it really
didn’t feel like we were in Tokyo. We spent the morning
wandering around the Shinjuku area, mostly in department stores that
were way out of our price range. As in desserts that cost
more than I spend in a week on food. Or a hanger that costs more than
any clothes I would have to hang on it. Or a camera (from a clothing
store) that cost more than a new car ($30k+). So we were mostly just
We then headed over to Akihabara, which is known for its electronics
shops and (somewhat more recently) its anime culture. It was a very
interesting place, even though a lot of the stuff were things I am not
all that interested in.
When we got tired we headed over to our hostel where we would be
staying for the next couple nights. It was…cheap. We didn’t
expect all that much for the price we paid, but I was a little
surprised that the beds and walls were made out of 2x4s and
plywood. But the people were really nice.
On Friday morning we headed over to Tokyo Station and explored that
area a little bit. We got to see the Tokyo International Forum and
then made our way over to the Imperial Palace and then Tokyo Tower. It
was really nice to be able to walk between most places and just see
what was along the way.
That night, four of us went to Roppongi, which is a district known for
its foreign presence. It was pretty cool to see all kinds of different
ethnic foods lining the streets (American contributions: TGIF and
KFC). It is a sight that is pretty familiar in the US, but pretty rare
here. We ate at a Turkish restaurant, and we really enjoyed some
flavors we haven’t had in the month we’ve been here.
On Saturday we went back to Shinjuku (where we arrived the first day)
to see some sites in the better weather. The highlights were the huge
clock in the NS Building, the view from the top of the Tokyo
Metropolitan Government Offices, and walking through a park.
Next we headed over to Harajuku to enjoy the weirdness of the
district. It wasn’t quite as strange as I thought it might be,
but there are definitely some different styles among the kids there
(although it was also full of tourists while we were there) and there
were a few in full out costumes.
For dinner we went to Shibuya, where we also got to see some
attractions like the huge intersection and the statue of Hachiko, the
dog that waited at the train station everyday for over 10 years after
his owner passed away. For dinner we went to a somewhat fancy
restaurant that had been recommended to us by someone who used to live
in the area. The food was really good, but in such small portions that
we ended up eating a second dinner later to avoid spending too much
On Sunday we returned to the area around Tokyo Station and explored
Ginza Street, which has lots of shops and interesting buildings like
the Sony Showroom. We also visited Ueno Park, but didn’t go too
deep into it to see any of the museums or the zoo. The Ameyoko market
under the Ueno tracks was very interesting, especially because they
have lots of American products (“Ame” is short for
“American”, although that wasn’t always what it was
referring to — it used to be candy).
We finished out the trip at Asakusa, where we saw the famous
Kaminarimon (“Thunder Gate”). The street between the gate
and the temple is usually bustling with little shops, but we got there
a little late and only a few were still open.
After that, we headed back to Tokyo Station where we caught our night
bus back home. We got back to Kyoto around 8 in the morning and then
ate some breakfast and took a little nap in a classroom until class
started. Fortunately, I only had one class that day, so after that I
headed home and slept some more. As I mentioned earlier, the bus ride
back wasn’t quite so comfy, so I didn’t get all that much sleep.
Overall I had a really nice time in Tokyo. I’m glad I did it,
especially because I’m not sure if/when I would have another
chance to go, and there was no way I was going to be in Japan for 5
months and not even see Tokyo. That being said, I don’t have any
strong desire to return right away. Part of that is cost — even
travelling pretty lightly it is an expensive place and the costs add
up quickly — but I also feel like there is so much left for me
to explore in Kyoto and Osaka that I don’t have much of a reason
to add Tokyo to that list.
One regret I do have, to an extent, is being a little too careful with
my money. I’m glad we were able to fill most of our days without
having to pay for entertainment, but it probably would have been cool
to go to one museum or something. Another thing is I kind of wish we
had gone to the fish market, just for the experience. I brought it up
with my group, but no one seemed too thrilled with the idea (it
probably would have meant staying out all night, as the auction
happens before the trains start running).
Oh well, maybe that gives me motivation to have a “next time”.
1 year ago
• 0 notes
• view comments