Incoming dump on my Tokyo stay, be prepared.
I stayed in Tokyo for about 9 nights in total and it was probably just enough for a leisurely, non-rushing stay, which was exactly what I was looking for. I hate rushing.
Day 1: I arrived in Tokyo from Hiroshima (around a 3 hour trip with one stop over at Shin-Osaka). I believe there is no direct bullet train (unless its 6am in the morning – yes, I checked but who knows, might change when you go. I suggest using HyperDia to look up transport – easy to use, reliable and also tells you the price of the trip.
Tokyo main shopping hubs are Shinjuku, Harajuku, Shibuya and are all on the same JR line (Yamonote). Majority of my time in Tokyo I stayed in Shinjuku and it was the most convenient place to get transport to and from. I highly recommend staying there – you’ll thank me later when you don’t have to pay 200 yen extra on the subway. Most of the youth hostels are in Asakusa but if you can stretch your budget out to stay in Shinjuku, it’ll save you time and money in the long run, especially if you are using the JR pass.
Day 2: Shibuya & Harajuku
Of course, you need to be at Shibuya for peak hour crossing. I grabbed a few awesome shots from the Starbucks right at the crossing (go during peak hour!)
For you ladies – head to the 109 building, 9 floors of womens clothing. I honestly stood there for a second and started to tear up because of the amount of clothes, accessories, shoes that I saw. I don’t get this back at home! There were a few amazing patisseries and cafes that I stumbled into (that’ll be up shortly) so don’t forget to eat when you’re shopping.
Shopping wise, you can never run out of options. In Sydney, there is about one to two shopping centres per suburb. In Tokyo, there are honestly more than 4 shopping centres nearby and each one are different.
For example, 109 is full of clothes, Shibuya Hikarie have the most cutest gifts, homewares and boutique style items. Everything is different so check out as much as you can.
Same with Harajuku – explore the alleyways.
I also went to visit Meiji Shrine which was one the highlights of the trip. It was such a peaceful shrine, the walk was beautiful, wide, calm and soothing and it was so lovely to see locals in traditional clothes.
P.S. If you’re ever in the area at night time in winter…go check out Starbucks in Harajuku.
Day 3: Cafe hopping – DON’T WORRY. The food section will be up soon. I’ll lump it all in one blog post so don’t you fret.
Night time: Chichiburi Festival
This festival is known as one of the most popular festivals in Tokyo, held in Saitama, with fireworks kicking off at 7:30pm and not finishing til about 9pm.
The atmosphere and sheer amount of people heading towards the festival is insane!
Despite the long trek back home….(3 hours+) It was definitely one of the greatest experiences to see how excited locals get, the chants to work together and the amount of people needed to pull the float ! Oh, and the Japanese fireworks? Out of this world.
Day 4: Ghibli Museum, Maisen (Only the best Katsu in town) , Roppongi Hills
As a huge fan of Hayao Miyazaki, I could not pass up the opportunity to go to Ghibli museum. I booked ahead via an agency in Australia but I heard you could get a ticket at Lawson’s for 1500 yen – half price. I’d research into that.
If you’re a fan. Go. Although I must admit, the merchandise was pretty ordinary and overpriced. I preferred going to the ‘Ghibli’ Donguri Kyowakoku stores which had more merchandise at a more reasonable price. Depending on each prefecture also had different items. Tokyo had much more than Kyoto and Osaka, although Kyoto had more beautiful tenugi patterns.
After shopping around Harajuku, we headed off to Roppongi Hills , known as the clubbing district of Tokyo.
Again, night lights here are phenomenal. We spent a good 2 – 3 hours trying to get the perfect shot. Oh the woes.
The Ramen in Tokyo has thicker noodles, and the pork belly meat is roasted then grilled. It is definitely one of the best pork belly I’ve ever had. The broth itself was the thickest in Japan, quite fishy in smell but no taste of fish and had a great depth of flavour to it. Cheap too.
Day 6: Shinjuku Gardens
Shinjuku Gardens is one of the most popular places to visit in Tokyo- I’ve heard the Rikkukien Gardens were alot nicer so check those out too!
For the photographers out there, make sure to plan your time so the light is soft enough. There were quite a few shadows and harsh light at the end of the day.But if you aren’t there for the photography, any time is gorgeous.
By night time, we headed out to Odaiba for a gorgeous sunset and shots of the ‘Rainbow Bridge’.
And of course, there are the day trips you must take in Tokyo. Visiting Kawaguchiko is also one of my favourite places. The scenery is divine.
i recommend staying in a ryokan for one night. as I’ve told all my friends, it cost me an arm and a leg but it was one of the best experiences of my trip.
Let me tell you, those onsen open air baths are bliss.
Other activities we did was cycle around the five lakes (an absolute workout) but worth it and heading to the music forest.
Shopping, food, scenery, Tokyo has it all.