Surprise! I’m not talking about Egypt this time. I’ll tell you about a trip I had 2 years ago, and there’s just one word to describe it
This is how me and my friend L. still describe it. But weird in a good way, don’t get me wrong! L. works for a huge international company that I’m sure all of you know… She had to go to Japan for just 2 days for work and she decided to stay some more (2 weeks).
I was working in a resort in Northern Italy and I got this call (…)
Why do you ask ²
(for Why do you ask¹ see here)
And I got this flight and joined her! It’s curious how most of the times my trips are totally unexpected. This means I’m never “prepared” to them and I don’t know anything about the place I’m going to visit.
Cons: no clue about anything. Pros: total surprise! And I LOVE the surprise-effect!
I landed in Tokyo in the morning around 7am. My first memory is the sun dawn viewed from the plane window. And I thought “what a better welcome? This is the Land of the Rising Sun!”
I had to join my friend at the Asakusa subway station. I ended up in Akasaka and wondered around for a hour or so before noticing the difference in the name. Now, please spot where these 2 stations are and see how lost I was!
I was literally on the other side of the city. Of course there was no way to call my friend coz her mobile didn’t work abroad (don’t ask me why). So I got to the right place something like 3 hours late. Shame on me!
I can say this was the only problem I got… oh no wait… more to come, lol. But one thing you have to know about me is that “problems” for me are reason for a laugh.
Asakusa is great with the market and the temple! A great welcoming sight.
We got 2 beds in a 6-bed-mixed-dorm in a hostel in the area, and it was super nice. And super clean <—
The worst experience was Shinjuku station. I just had a quick look at Wikipedia and here’s what they state: “The JR section alone handles an average of 1.5 million passengers a day.” Now THAT is a crowd. We were totally lost in the station and believe me in the end we didn’t even find an exit! And we just went there to check some train schedules for the following days.
The first night we checked out Shibuya and Roppongi. More crowd! But amazing! Love this pic
The famous Shibuya oblique pedestrian crossing! With tons of people all the time of course!
When someone asks me to describe Tokyo in a few words, I say “a loud monster of lights and sounds“. What do you guys think?
Second day: Tokyo fish market 5 am
Chirashi anyone? Great, great, great, and for as little as ¥800 (approx. €8 by that time).
Needless to say, we loved it.
After that we visited basically all the “classic” landmarks in the City. But if you have just a few days like I did, don’t miss the train to Odaiba Island, in Tokyo bay. This train literally takes you outside the city among skyscrapers and small temples, and then on the beautiful Rainbow Bridge. And when we got to Odaiba we visited the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan).
Planetarium, interactive objects and tons of robots! Japan! Wohoo!
Here is a beautiful sight of Tokyo and the Rainbow Bridge from Odaiba Island
For some reason I always want to check out the “water side” of the cities, be it the sea or a river. I love to see the place from an external point of view. Odaiba is the perfect place! And sometimes you can even spot Mount Fuji on the background.
The “water side” of New York City was disappointing. But this is another story!
Let’s do a big jump and talk about the amazing Shinkansen trains, also called “bullet trains”! We moved from Tokyo to Kyoto and back with one, and it was a beautiful experience. With the constant feeling of heart in mouth. And these trains are super clean! Check out this video where you can see the cleaners and… the seats turning around when the train leaves again from the terminus! (I’m pretty sure the train in the video is not a Shinkansen but it shows the way it works!)
I don’t know how clean the trains in your countries are, but in Italy… Ugh!
Trains in Japan can be very expensive, expecially Shinkansens. Don’t forget to purchase a Japan Rail Pass before traveling!
And going back to me and my friend, we were about to have one of the greatest emotions of our lives: Fuji-San (Mount Fuji). But I’m going to talk about it in another post. Hope you enjoyed this one!