Visiting Tokyo may give the impression of being overwhelmed with the advertising, music, shops and products. Everything is screaming and begging to be bought. That is the reality in almost all districts I saw in Tokyo. The fact that everything is written in Japanese characters makes you feel even more lost in this unknown world.
I believe there is a second dimension there, hidden under all that blinks, glitters and scream at you. People. Calm, quiet, silently using the public transportation. Huge amount of people not speaking loudly in the public spaces, not smoking between others and often not even looking at you staying focused on their phone screens or listening to the music.
I could easily say that even if Shibuya, Ginza are the top known districts of Tokyo, it did not impress me that much although the big brands shop windows are impressive. It is good to see them, as it is an incredibly unique shopping experience, however I felt more attracted by other areas: Shinjuku small bars close to the Shinjuku shanchome station, Asakusa surroundings around Senso-ji temple. More traditional, wooden with a spirit.
It is not difficult to plan a visit in Tokyo for someone who likes to walk a lot. I had 2 full days + a bit of evening time after arrival to Tokyo.
Japan 4-13.12 8 days + 2flight days 4-5, 13.12
4.12 Morning flight to Helsinki, connecting flight to Tokyo,
5.12 landed at 10:30 at Narita airport. Train to Oshiage station from Narita 1h20. Walking to Asakusa smile hostel. Lunch next to the hostel at 13:00 and check in at 14:00. Just for the record, if a restaurant offers you Saba, it means Mackerel:)
I was avoiding it but really needed 1-2h of nap in our Asakusa hostel. Thanks to this I was able to have a walk around Asakusa afterwards. Evening visit at Sensoji temple is just amazing.
We did not have enough so we decided to go to Shibuya, have a walk around Center gai, shopping street and to have a dinner there.
6.12 Morning Ginza walk along Chuo dori, admiring the architecture and street shops.
Not far from Ginza we found the Tsukiji fish market and took a obligatory sushi lunch. We went a bit into the south and saw the amazing Hamarikyu gardens.
Such a colourful place in late autumn. Since the weather was perfect we decided to take a Waterbus to Asakusa. Straight from the water’s we took a Metro to Akihabara where we were enjoying shops, games, maid cafes and quirky ice cream. Evening time was just right to check Shinjuku with streets full of music shops, Golden gai small Japanese bars that sometimes can fit only 3-4 people, probably only to drink or to have a small snack.
7.12 Trip to Mitaka to Ghibli museum. Then Shinjuku Tokyo Government Building with q great panorama view on Tokyo.
I could not miss seeing Panda at Ueno Zoo. They might not be the most active animals ever, but trust me , you can watch them eating the bamboo leaves for a long time..Cuteness kawaii level hard.
The evening was totally fulfilled by Kabuki performance at Ginza Kabuki-za theatre building. Only 30 minutes, but so rich and full of emotions, sounds, movements.
8.12 Flying to Okinawa, Naha. Weekly harbour view hostel. Arrival at 16:00. We still had some time after arrival so we decided to check the Naminoue beach with the shrine next to it.
9.12 Snorkeling trip to Kerama Islands with Seagir Naha team.
Evening walk to Kokadori Shopping street and ice cream at Blue seal. Sweet potato ice cream is a must.
10.12 bus trip to Okinawa world, seeing caves, craft village with Ryukyu glass crafts and pottery.
11.12 Going out of Okinawa biggest island towards Tokashiku Islands to get some sun at Aharen beach. It is a pity we stayed there only one day.
12.12 Going back to Tokyo, Asakusa hotel wasou ryokan with futons, tatami floor, Japanese tea and shortbreads.
Evening trip to Odaiba for shopping and relaxing at Onsen.
Japanese key words:
Lawson store, Izakazya, futon, ramen, Saba, asahi and yebisu beer, Benito, sweet potato, Hokkaido style yoghurt, naruto, tempura udon, gyoza, matcha bread and cookies, matcha baumkuchen, jasmin cold tea in bottles, milk tea, warm drink machines, plum wine,