Saturday, September 24, 2016

Rkidz's Japan Travel Blog - Day 5: City hopping around Tokyo

Day 5.

City hopping all over Tokyo.

I've decided to give it all and try to visit as much of Tokyo as I could. My first destination is the centre of Tokyo itself. And what's better way to do so other than going to the Tokyo Tower. Before going there however, I stumbled upon Zojoji Temple located just next to the iconic red tower. Zojoji Temple is the head temple of the Jodo sect of Japanese Buddhism in the Kanto Region. It's strange to encounter a calm, quiet area despite being in the centre of one of the world's busiest city.

After a short walk through the greeneries is the Tokyo Tower. Standing 333 meters high in the center of Tokyo, Tokyo Tower is the world's tallest, self-supported red steel tower and 13 meters taller than its model, the Eiffel Tower. To go up the main observatory, you have to pay 900 yen. At 150 meters, it is reached via elevator. To go higher, you need to pay more money of course, but that's totally optional. The observatory offers a magnificent view of the city, will tall building sprawling everywhere and little block of houses lined up in a really orderly fashion. Directly below the tower stands the "Foot Town" building, which houses a variety of souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants and the One Piece Tower, an indoor amusement park. You need to pay more to enter the park, and because I don't have enough time and money to spare I reluctantly pass the chance to go inside.

Later on, I went to the Imperial Palace. You can't really go to the castle ground itself but visitors are allowed to walk around The Imperial Palace East Gardens. The garden is a part of the inner palace area and open to the public without any entrance fee. None of the main buildings remain today, but the moats, walls, entrance gates and several guardhouses still exist. You can also walk around a nice Japanese style garden and just enjoy the view there.

After that, I went train hopping, starting from Shibuya. Shibuya is one of Tokyo's most colorful and busy districts, packed with shopping, dining and nightclubs serving swarms of visitors that come to the district everyday. The main area is around the Shibuya Station itself. A prominent landmark of Shibuya is the large intersection in front of the station's Hachiko Exit; the Shibuya Scramble Street. I was at awe when I went out the station. Once the pedestrian light turned green, there were a huge masses of people crossing on the Shibuya Scramble street and it was simply a breath taking view.

Then, I went to Harajuku, the city of trend and fashion. It is the center of Japan's most extreme teenage cultures and fashion styles, but also offers shopping for adults and some historic sights. The focal point of Harajuku's teenage culture is Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street) and its side streets, which are lined by many trendy shops, fashion boutiques, used clothes stores, crepe stands and fast food outlets geared towards the fashion and trend conscious teens. It was a really, really packed area. Hundreds if not thousand of people walking along a relatively narrow street while browsing through the shops lined up around the area, but it was a fun experience.

Afterwards, as the day shifted toward evening, I headed to Shinjuku where tall building sprawl all over the place. Shinjuku is also famous for its large entertainment, business and shopping area, particularly around Shinjuku Station. The only thing I did here however, is just admiring the tall building and its surrounding area before moving on to my next destination.

Later on in the night, I visited Ikebukuro. This place offers plenty of entertainment, shopping and dining opportunities. One of the prominent place here is the Sunshine City, a large shopping and entertainment complex not far from the station. The complex contains shops and restaurants, an aquarium, planetarium, museum as well as indoor theme parks; Namja Town and J-World Tokyo. I also managed to eat dinner in a Malay restaurant in a nearby dining district. It is really a strange feeling to find and eat your own local food when you are actually travelling overseas (instead of eating the country's dishes).

Overall, a hectic yet fun, adventurous day. Japan have a really convenient public transport; you could basically go almost everywhere within Tokyo in a short span of time. I enjoyed every single bit of my time here walking through different cities and experiencing varieties of atmosphere.

Well then, next up I'll be posting a 3-days trip about the main highlight of my Japan trip: Summer Comiket. I might take a while since I will be busy for a couple of days from now on, so stay tune!

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