“My recent vacation to Tokyo, Japan had to possibly been the hugest culture shock I have ever encountered. It was also by far one of the best vacations I have ever had.“
◉ The countless things to do…
◉ The streets were beyond clean, smoking in non-designated area was prohibited
◉ The politeness of every single Japanese person there…
“The city (Tokyo) was very well-received in my eyes.”
〔 by …one of my friends from overseas (^^)v〕
traveling around Japan — though was confusing at first — can be easily done through their train system which is by far the best and organized system that exists, I think.
Tokyo might be the best attractive town to you ♡
I’ll introduce the charm of Tokyo a little bit this time.
We are finally in Tokyo (Japan) anyway ♡
If you thought you’ve experienced sushi or real Asian food in America or your own country, THINK AGAIN. The (real) sushi (in Japan) is not smothered in mayo or all that other crap sauce that sushi restaurants in America are notorious for. You are literally eating raw food, healthy food, Japanese-people skinny food.
By the way, my main reason for this trip to Tokyo was to celebrate my one year anniversary with my girlfriend ♡ Throughout highschool she had a huge interest in Japan and also studied Japanese.
During our earlier phases of dating she got me hooked on Asian drama television series. The first drama we ever watched together was a Japanese drama called “1 Litre of Tears” which was based around a character named Aya who was suffering from a rare cerebral disease.
I’ve never cried so hard watching a TV show before. It was unbelievable and the story was heartbreaking. That created my first interest in wanting to visit Japan.
Three months later my girlfriend and I adopted a puppy and named her Aya and that was the start to our new life together ♡ A year later we were in Japan having the time of our life.
Staying Connected While Visiting Japan ☆
Many options exist for staying connected in Japan. You can either use a pre-paid SIM to use in your un-locked phone which will allow voice calls, and sometimes limited data, or rent a mobile hotspot unit for data. I obviously went the mobile hotspot route because of the different ways I can use it.
I highly recommend eConnect Japan when renting a mobile hotspot. Their customer service email is amazing and not only do they deliver the device straight to your hotel the day before you are set to arrive, but they also include an already paid return mailer so you can just drop it back into the mail at the airport on your way back to your home country.
The device itself was a no-brainer to use. You turn it on, set your computer or phone to connect to it, enter the pre-set encryption key, and voila. If you think this is a waste of money, you are totally wrong. With my limited Japanese linguistic skills (none) we heavily relied on the Google Maps app on our phone for everything.
With the device and Google Maps we were able to coordinate our routes by foot, train, or bus. The Google Maps train route was extremely helpful in figuring out which station to change platforms and also the fares so that we can make sure we have enough money to make it all the way through.
With the mobile hotspot it also supports the usage of Skype. I was able to keep in contact with my mom and dad through video and also give them a walkthrough of Tokyo so they could experience what I was seeing. Please keep in mind to not keep your Skype logged in to your phone otherwise it’ll drain both your phone’s and hotspot’s battery.
What I did while in Tokyo ♡
◉ Getting Around Japan
When traveling around any parts of Japan you basically have two choices for budget-minded people: train or walk. The train is your best option as it gets you to your destination fast and the wait time at each station is usually less than 5 minutes until the next train comes.
Fare ranges anywhere from 50 Yens and up depending on the distance of each station. The most I spent on a single train ride was 1250 Yens from Shinjuku Station to Narita International Airport and that was for a two hour train ride.
◉ What I did while in Tokyo ♡
Japan is huge, so huge, and Tokyo is also extremely huge …that you’ll need more than a month to fully explore it. But like the rest of us, we unfortunately have jobs and bills to pay back at home. During my week in Tokyo I was able to see some of the most beautiful scenery like it was right out of a book.
Here are some must-see’s for all the Japan newbies out there that are free (minus the cost of train fare to get there):
My recommended places in Tokyo ♡
★ Shinjuku ☆
This was the district our hotel was in and is one of liveliest in terms of things to do during the day and its nightlife. The streets are packed with people. All the shopping and food shops you can want can be found in Shinjuku.
Be wary though, if you go too far down the street you may have walked into their red light district where all the hustlers come out to try and sell you their “show girls”. I think this is more suited for playboys or deep drinkers.
★ Meiji Shrine ☆
I’m not one to be dumbfounded by a religious venue and I certainly didn’t know what to expect when visiting the Meiji Shrine. However, it was extremely beautiful and very captivating to see the locals come and do their prays. Tourist can even take part in the water washing at the entrance of the shrine and then write their prays to the Japanese Deities.
★ Yoyogi Park ☆
Right next door to the Meiji Shrine, this huge park is definitely a must visit whether it be for a casual stroll or for the Cherry Blossom ceremony. During my visit the Cherry Blossoms were barely starting to bloom — I wish I could have seen the full thing in action.
★ Harajuku ☆
The fashion district — in Harajuku you can find anything from cheap underground fashion lines to your typical Hermes. This is the district to visit especially on Sunday mornings where a huge crowd usually gathers dressed up to impress in the lastest fashion wear. This is also home to the biggest costume, for the lack of a better word, anime crowd (Mecca of costume play).
★ Imperial Palace ☆
Duh, who wouldn’t want to see where the Emperor of Japan lives? Though the Palace itself isn’t open to the public for obvious reasons, the gardens and ground surrounding the palace itself is open to tourism. Beautiful, that’s all I can say. The history of each landmark on the palace ground dating back to beyond the 1600s kept me in awed.
★ Akihabara ☆
For all you tech geeks and everything anime lovers, this district will be your dream land. Any consumer tech that exists, Japan more so than often already has it. Want a life size figurine of Sailor Moon? Done. At this district you can get all the cheap iPhone cases and hardware parts that you want.
★ Shibuya ☆
It would be a shame to come to Tokyo and not take a walk across the famous intersection outside Shibuya Station. On sunny afternoons or clear evenings, the surrounding area is packed with shoppers, students, young couples and commuters. When the lights turn red at this busy junction, they all turn red at the same time in every direction.
Traffic stops completely and pedestrians surge into the intersection from all sides, like marbles spilling out of a box. You can observe this moment of organized chaos from the second-story window of the Starbucks in the Tsutaya building on the crossing’s north side.
why don’t you be a samurai once here?
Suit up like a Japanese samurai during this 2.5-hour photo shoot wearing a traditional suit of armor. For social media and for friends and family back home. An optional trip upgrade option even lets your walk around Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood wearing your new warrior attire.
If you really want to…(^ ^)
(This is a bit expensive though…)
★ Tokyo Tower ☆
Have you ever seen Tokyo Tower? Tokyo Tower is currently undergoing renovation. The tower’s upper deck (250m) has been closed since October 2016. In addition, renovation works will start on the tower’s main observatory (150m) on September 4, 2017. During the renovation, the main observatory will remain open; however, one of the observatory’s four sides will be closed at a time.
Standing 333 meters high in the center of Tokyo, Tokyo Tower (東京タワー) is the world’s tallest, self-supported steel tower and 13 meters taller than its model, the Eiffel Tower. A symbol of Japan’s post-war rebirth as a major economic power.
★ Ueno Zoological Gardens ☆
Established in 1882, Ueno Zoo is the oldest zoo in Japan. Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo is world class, with animals and birds from around the globe. Best of all, its settings convincingly imitate the wild, meaning the animals can be observed in what come pretty close to their native habitats.
It has grown over the years, expanded its area, and been a forerunner in the Japanese zoo world. Located amid the downtown Tokyo, Ueno Zoo not only provides recreation, but also plays an essential role in wildlife conservation and public education. In an effort to breed endangered species, the zoo has completed the “Gorilla Woods” and “Tiger Forests.”
The big attractions at Ueno Zoo are the big animals: elephants, gorillas, polar bears, giraffes, and Panda etc. However, a leisurely inspection of the smaller enclosures and cages will reveal a huge assortment of smaller animals, and particularly birds, that you may well be seeing for the first time.
of course, You can see a lot of fully bloomed cherry blossoms during spring time here. Ueno Park is one of the best places to enjoy cherry blossoms.
Best time of my life ♡
Even with the limited places I mentioned above, there were also passing districts that I didn’t have time to write about or I wished I had enough time to stop by and checked out. There was just so much to do and see in such little time!
Though my trip was short, I fully appreciate the culture I was lucky to have submerge myself into and is now awaiting for my next journey to Japan that I have yet to discover.
Please let me know your thoughts or any questions you may have regarding visiting Japan.
Eat sushi, okonomi-yaki, tako-yaki, ramen, and enjoy Izaka-ya with sake.
See ya 😃