Instead of “Big in Japan” like the 1984 song goes by Alphaville, I felt rather small in Japan because of the enormous city Japan’s capital Tokyo is. This was my end point of my summer Asia trip that I started in Mandalay Myanmar.
Why did I just visited Tokyo ?
Because my time was up and so was my budget for the summer.
Tokyo was great place to end my trip and if ever I go back to Japan to visit some other places I will stay in Tokyo again for a few days cause I really liked walking around over there which hasn’t been the case with every city I’ve been to (Manila).
I’m pretty satisfied about the things that I covered in 3 days of my visit.
First things first
I landed at Narita airport which is about 1 hour away from Central Tokyo and the best way is to take the metroline or train, It’s also affordable to take the bus and once you in the centre of Tokyo to just continue by metroline to your final destination within Tokyo.
However next time I visit Tokyo I will fly to the airport that’s much closer to the city which is Haneda airport. The day I had to leave Tokyo when my vacation came to an end, I took the metro to the airport, it was 1 hour ride during rush hour, I was packed like a sardine in the metro car and this for about 45 minutes. I got to experience what the locals experience everyday when going home from their daily jobs.
I’ve been many times in fully packed metro cars in Brussels aswell but this time it was in Japan and how though it’s similar it’s different. Japanese people are more quit, have discipline not to push and everybody is occupied with something, mostly with their cellphones playing these advanced games or reading stuff all in their own little world.
Anyhow taking the metro or tube as some call it, can take you anywhere in the city. Once you got it all figured out how to get around it becomes easy. So that’s what I did, I got myself a “Suica” card which allows you to use all the metrolines, as not all the lines belong to the same company. Also it allows you to pay with it in shops if you go buy a snack or a pepsi for example. Also vending machine accept Suica cards. You put money on the Suica cards by going to a Suica card machine at the stations and you put the card on the machine, you insert cash money and then that amount loads into your card and you ready to use it.
I stayed in a hostel in Asakusa, a part of town in Tokyo where there are a lot of little restaurants and shops and easy to walk from here to Akihabara which to me was the place I wanted to be in Tokyo. The Anime and Game industry’s main spot in Tokyo.
I didn’t watch as much anime as I watched Disney cartoons for example but I did watch Dragon Ball Z sometimes and as for the game industry, I owned more than one Sega console when I was a kid in the 90ies, when it was all between Sega and Nintendo, when playstation still had to be invented. I had a Sega master system 2 and a Mega Drive 2, of which the last one was released in the US as the Sega Genesis.
In Europe and Japan the console was called the Mega drive.
Sega was in some countries in Europe more popular than Nintendo and some of their consoles and games where ahead of time. I also like Nintendo because I had a game boy, which was the first popular portable gaming device that you could take anywhere with you, the games where on a green screen, no other color but green as for Sega in those days they had the Game Gear which was also a portable device only bigger, bit more heavy but the games where all in color; as I said Sega was ahead in most things they put out on the market but that came with a higher cost so most people chose the Game boy.
However Sega will always be my favorite console, the first time I got into video games playing with characters that became later iconic and world famous. Offcourse I’m talking about Sonic the Hedgehog and Tails the fox.
I like that in Akihabara you have these Sega stores where you can still find these retro games for these retro consoles from the 90ies and that smaller versions of these consoles and replicas of the original once are still for sale. Very rare games can still be found, so I felt like a kid in a candy store when I saw all these nostalgic games back, I found even games that I once use to own. Enough about games and Sega, there is more than that in Tokyo.
Just like in Seoul South Korea there are some Temples and Palaces that you can visit in Tokyo such as the Zojoji Temple, the Imperial Palace and the Sensoji Temple which is Tokyo’s oldest temple. This Buddhist temple goes back to the 7th century and is one of the most visited temples in Japan.
There are also towers in Tokyo from where you can have a nice view over the city such as the Tokyo Tower which is close to the Zojoji Temple or the Sky Tower which stands out and can be seen from different parts in the city as it’s so high in the sky. Well I guess they don’t call it for nothing the sky Tower. This is why with all these big buildings I felt rather small in Japan than big lol.
The Shibuya crossing is the famous pedestrian crossing that I have seen many times in tv commercials or programs about Japan , it’s a scrambled pedestrian crossing on an intersection close to Shibuya station. It’s fun the cross the intersection by crossing in the middle of the road taking the central crossing between the 3 other crossings or to watch it from above while people are doing it. you can go to the 7th floor of the Magnet building and have a great view from above. I did it during the daytime but you can also come here at night. It’s a better view here than from the Starbucks. Also in the Starbucks it can be sometimes to crowded, while on the rooftop of the Magnet building it never gets to crowded cause you are only allowed to be there for about 15 minutes, but that’s enough to take your photos and enjoy the view of people crossing the street a few times.
Another place I walked to was Ryogoku, where the Sumo wrestling arena stands.
Along the streets there where some small statues of Sumo wrestlers.
There was no wrestling going on unfortunately, but I did got to see a small museum with attributes that are being used in this Japanese sport.
Many things to see in Tokyo alone, so 3 days was not enough but I’m satisfied with the places I’ve been to and it’s a place to definitely come back to.