Tokyo; the city of bright lights, vending machines, karaoke, arcades and all things kawaii. If you are into fast paced cities packed full of things to overwhelm the senses, then Tokyo is just the place for you!
Nothing could have prepared me for the sensory overload that comes with a trip to Tokyo which was the first stop on my 3 week trip to Japan. It is insanely busy, yet unbelievably efficient and spotlessly clean.
I stayed at The Knot Shinjuku and found this to be an excellent location to use as my base for exploring Tokyo. It is approximately a 10-15 minute walk from the Shinjuku Train Station but was a lot more affordable than other hotels that were only slightly closer.
Some highlights during my trip to Tokyo included:
Skytree Tower: At 634m tall, this is the largest structure in Japan and on a clear day, offers incredible panoramic views of Tokyo. It was a fantastic way to gain a concept of just how HUGE Tokyo is. It is a little out of the main tourist areas, however really easy to access via the subway. Oshiage is the closest stop.
Shibuya Crossing: The busiest ‘scramble’ pedestrian crossing in the world. The crossing is located right outside the entrance/exits to the Shibuya Station and completely blew my mind! So many people, in the one place, all crossing the roads in different directions. Tip: the best place I found to get a great view of the crossing is from Starbucks (you do have to make a purchase before being allowed upstairs but it is definitely worth it).
Harajuku: I had Gwen Stefani’s ‘what you waiting for’ song stuck in my head for days whilst visiting Harajuku. It’s eccentric, quirky, colourful and the fashion is certainly something to experience. Takeshita Street is a busy little alley full of shops, clothing, food and crepes. I tried a 52cm long potato stick from Long! Longer!! Longest!!! and it was delicious! A short walk from Takeshita Street is also a beautiful shrine, Meiji Jingu which is definitely worth a walk through – the grounds are stunning.
Tokyo Tower: Tokyo Tower looks somewhat like the Eiffel Tower and is lit up in a beautiful red/orange colour in the evenings. There is an observation deck inside which I visited at around 8.00pm to see Tokyo with the lights on. The views were amazing!
Ueno Park: Unfortunately it poured with rain the entire day I was at Ueno Park so I spent most of my time sat inside Starbucks admiring the view however Ueno Park looked beautiful. It’s a huge park with temples, museums, shrines and gardens which would be particularly lovely in cherry blossom season. You could easily spend half to a full day at Ueno Park.
SEGA Game Arcade & Karaoke: No trip to Tokyo is complete without a visit to one of the many multi-storey game arcades and a karaoke bar. These are very common and popular ways for local Japanese people to socialise and spend their spare time. Arcades and karaoke bars are literally on every street and every street corner, you can’t miss them. A popular well known Karaoke Bar is the chain ‘Big Echo’ which is the one I visited whilst in Tokyo.