This was the part of the trip I was most looking forward to. Waiting in the airport in Manilla with our tickets that had MNL-TKY on them, we got chatting to a local of Tokyo, Ryochi, who gave us the lay of the land that was once home to the samurai. It was a sleeper flight at midnight and got us there at 6am and as soon as we stepped off the plane the cool crisp Japanese winter air smacked us right in our partially tanned faces. We hopped on the Keisei bus to Tokyo Station which cost us 1000Yen each and only took 50 minutes from Narita Airport to get us to the depot where we could get a train to where we were going to dump our bags.
We were staying beside the Shibuya station (2 stops outside Shinjuku). It was ridiculously clean and we both were pretty besotted with Japan straight away even just walking to our Air bnb home for the next few days and despite the single figure temperature. The house was pretty much what I’d always expected Japanese houses to be like, bamboo structures, sliding doors and Tatami mats but with the added Japanese efficiency of heated toilet seats 🙂 , but despite the warm bums we dumped our bags and headed to the busy city centre to see what it had to offer.
Japan is pretty expensive (along the same lines as London and Singapore pricewise) but we were in need of some warm clothes as all we had was summer togs throughout our trip. After breaking the bank and handing over (whilst crying) plenty of Yen we were now equipped for the elements. You need to purchase a SUICA card to make the most out of moving around in Japan, it requires a deposit of 500Yen and you just top up as you go and it makes your life so much easier (similar to all major cities with subways). The main part of Tokyo is at Shinjuku station which is where you see with the star shaped crossing and all the lights that’s synonymous with the movies, it’s also where Hachi’s statue is for those who have heard of the famous dog. It was pretty busy with tourists and locals alike just going on about their day with all kinds of shops and restaurants you would expect to see in the city centre but we were still hoping to see all the weird stuff we had heard so much of about the capital….
We hopped on the tube to Akihabara and searched for the Animee district to see what it was like. We were struggling to find it until we asked a local who not only told us where it was, but walked us there and apologised because he thought his English was poor, this was the 3rd time that someone had helped and shown us (physically taking us not just telling us) and only the first time we had actually asked for help, the others just saw that we were lost and went out their way to help us….I’m pretty sure it was my aura that done it 🙂 ….a more likely explanation is that they are just very friendly people….or they thought I was retarded and my carer was lost.
Animee district was cool and relatively weird but we still hadn’t seen all the crazy stuff we are used to hearing from Japan, Harajuku girls wandering the streets or an Octopus fighting Sonic the hedgehog to the death. Unfortunately by the time we got there most of the places were closing but we still got to see it and check out the SEGA store…bet you can’t read that without the goofy voice over :). Would also recommend visiting the Harajuku district which, funnily enough, is located close to Harajuku station.
You can’t go to Tokyo without visiting the inspiration for our camera brand. The best way to get to Mt Fuji, the iconic 3776 metre high mountain, is by train (or car if you want to take the car hire route but can prove costly) you get the Odakyu Rail to Hakone-Yumoto and hop off at a beautiful little town nestled in the hills and takes roughly an hour and a half to get there. We spent a bit of time there and trying to figure out where to go next, we asked one of the tourist info desks and advised us we now need to get a bus (Hakone Tozan Line H) which has a round trip too Lake Ashinoka (Ashi costing 960Yen each) to see the mountain. If you have more time, unfortunately we did not, you can get the bus from Shinjuku (Fuji subaru line one) to Fuji town where you will get a much better view after the two and a half hour trip and costs around 2,700Yen one way. Another more expensive option is the JR Limited Express train.
It’s a windy and misty bus journey but you get a beautiful view of MT Fuji over Lake Ashi surrounded by the beautiful Japanese hills, there is not a great deal to do here but you can jump on the old fashioned Hakone Pirate ship and cruise around the lake. Unfortunately it was very cloudy the time of year we went (Winter) so or view was slightly restricted, but I would still recommend going.
I would definitely say that Japan is without a doubt the friendliest place we have been so far, especially after being warned of the opposite and people complaining “they don’t speak English”…well …learn some Japanese then…as we tried to learn a little of the lingo with each country we visited.
That’s Tokyo done although we will most definitely be back…time for a flight down to Osaka…only problem is…while writing this our plane is boarding….and we are barely out of Tokyo……..
Will we make the flight?
Useful phrases:Arigatou (Thank You) Yoroshiku (Please do your best to help me) Naihon Daiskee (I love Japan) Konnichiwa (Hello)
Free stuff to do: Visit Yoyogi Park. Make sure to go and see the wonders at Sensō-ji Tokyo’s ancient Buddhist temple located in Asakusa. Whilst here it may cost to go to the top but totally free to marvel the Tokyo Sky Tree from the bottom. Visit Tokyo’s impressive Imperial Palace. If you like museums ADMT (Advertising museum Tokyo) Or just geek out and put on good walking shoes and walk around the weird and amazing streets of tokyo – try not to die at the famous Shibuya Crossing and if you make it across go shake Hachi’s paw at his statue. Check out the crazy fashion style at Takeshita street in Harajuku, play SEGA at Akihabara and head to Ueno and stroll around the markets. You will never be bored in Tokyo!!