Tokyo: Harajuku, Shibuya and Asakusa
July 8, 2012
i’m excited to write about my adventures in tokyo, but i don’t know where to start. honestly, a 5-day stay was too short to embrace the beauty and culture of this beautiful city. of all the places i visited, i consider tokyo one of the best. the food, people and culture, everything is wonderful.
tokyo is my last stop after an 11-hr layover stay in hongkong. i rode cathay pacific and had a wonderful experience with them. the travel time from hongkong to tokyo is 4 hrs and i was asleep during the entire flight.
upon landing narita and passing through immigration, i get my bags and started to find my way to the hostel. this is where my 1st adventure begins. i immediately got lost since i rode the wrong line and it brought me to the outskirts of chiba which is already outside tokyo. my cellphone roaming was not enabled and my travel map do not have all the train lines, so i called my friend noel and asked for directions. finally after 4 tiring hours, i reached my place. i was so tired and haggard from all the walking.
i stayed at sakura hostel at asakusa area. it is near the airport but far from central tokyo. i was looking for a cheap place but with good standards. it seems i find the right choice because the place is good. there’s a common area for dining and internet, sala for those who want to play video games and laundry room. upon checking in, i was given a security card door key and went to my room. i booked a bed in a 6-bed female dormitory room. initially, i was hesitant with this kind of setup since i want my own room so i can have privacy. but since tokyo is expensive, i opted to get a cheaper alternative. apparently, the dormitory room is very safe and i met other travelers and chatted with them. i have my locker to store my valuables every time i leave.
i wake up early everyday to maximize my 5 days of stay in tokyo. for 3 days, i tour around the city searching the must-see places. with the help of my tokyo guide map, i was able to find my way through the crazy interconnecting subway lines. tokyo has a massive train line system, so getting lost in the first few days is very normal. unlike singapore where it has only 4 major train lines, i think tokyo has a 100 or more. it’s crazy when you experience it. getting off and riding on a wrong line will get you all wrong and will bring you some place you don’t know, just like what happened to me when i arrived from the airport. hehehe.
on my first day, i went to harajuku and shibuya area. harajuku have lots of fashion boutiques as well as youth in various cult and goth costumes. i came across a bunch of girls outside harajuku station, all dressed up in gothic-inspired costumes.
after that, i met up with a friend, and we both went to shibuya station to see the famous hachiko statue and crossing. hachiko is the famous dog known for his loyalty even after many years of his master’s death. this statue serves as a meeting place for everyone in the station.
i also had the chance to see the famous shibuya crossing, seen in the movie ‘fast and the furious: tokyo drift’. i went to starbucks 2nd floor, just across the crossing to have a good view. i can’t get a good shot so i’ve decided to take a video instead.
shibuya crossing at night
my friend noel brought me to a nice japanese restaurant and treated me for dinner. this is my first authentic japanese food experience (thanks for the treat!). :)
after the long tiring day of non-stop walking, we parted ways and went home. i stayed at asakusa area which is an hour away from central tokyo. as i walk towards my hostel, i took some night shots of sensoji temple which is one of tokyo’s oldest and colorful temples. i’m lucky that this is just a walking distance from my place since it’s a must-see itinerary for tokyo visitors.
i arrived the hostel very tired from 2 straight days of non-stop walkathon. i need to regain my energy for next day’s adventure. hehehe.
(= to be continued =)