Since my last few posts have been about small details I thought this would be a good time to talk about a few of the bigger picture sites and scenes we’ve been adventuring to lately. I’m not going to go into too great of detail because there simply aren’t words to describe these places, really you just have to come see for yourself.
Shibuya including Harajuku, Yoyogi Park and surrounds
Shibuya is an amazing area full of high-end shops and skyscrapers as well as more modest shopping and tons of restaurants (this seems to be a theme across the entire Tokyo area). Perhaps most impressively is the Harajuku area which is known for it’s streets of diverse fashion. Here you see people in every colour you could possibly imagine plus several layers of print, lace, fishnets and leather – usually all together. Somehow fashion here seems to almost have a life of its own and is well received by everyone and from what we can tell, no one is very judgmental on these things. Sadly we have no photos of these sites; maybe because we were too shocked to remember to pull out the camera.
We also toured a few parks in this area as well including the shrine for one of the most well loved emperors, Meiji in Hibiya Park. Fascinating story of quite the visionary – recommend you Google a bit about him.
Shinjuku including the massive 5 way, or is it 6 way intersection which teems with people no matter the time of day was another stop on another day. More incredible multiple (as in 8-12) story shopping areas (including Banana Republic and Gap – which I’m stoked about) and of course restaurants.
One noteable thing we experienced here was our first ‘ticket tape’ dining experience. I’m not sure what they would really be called but this works. In short you pick out the food you want from the display cabinet out the front, memorize the number then go inside and put money into this little machine, dial your number and out comes a little ticket you take to the kitchen who puts your meal together for you. It’s actually completely fun and amazing and the food was pretty good too!
The Imperial Palace was gorgeous, beautiful grounds and a real moat surrounding the main buildings. Unfortunately we couldn’t get anywhere inside – it is still the residence of the imperial family after all. Still, definitely worth the wander through.
From here we walked to Tokyo Station to get lost on the recommendation of some of Luke’s work colleagues. Have to admit it was easy to get lost and definitely one of the best experiences we’ve had. We ended up in this heaven of a department-style store full of the most incredible confectionary and sweets you’ve ever seen. Downstairs from here we purchased our first bento boxes (also amazing) and took them around the block to eat them before heading back home.
Most recently we’ve discovered Asakusa and Nikko though not in that order. Nikko is an area about 2 hours north by train from Tokyo. It has 5 world heritage listed shrines and temples which were just simply spectacular to see. One of these shrines also included a building, which has the original “See no hear no speak no evil” monkey carvings on it. In fact we discovered that the saying, so famous, is actually just one small part of a lovely story. The photos below are some of my favorite parts of this little trip.
After returning back to Tokyo from Nikko we landed at the Asakusa station and decided to go for a bit of a stroll before heading back home. This is a completely charming area with lots of local and more traditional feeling markets and shops. It was here that we saw our first Geishas! Dressed to the nines and looking like something out of a movie, they were beautiful. I was so excited, but we were trying to keep it cool as earlier in the day we had read that it is quite annoying for them when the tourists see them and promptly become paparazzi.
We’ve done a few other areas like Ginza and Ueno and you can see Luke’s posts on these by clicking on A Grooms Tale link at the side.
Over and out!