A Walk Around: Tokyo

After a sound nights sleep at the hostel, I woke up bright and early, excited for a full day of exploring the streets of Tokyo. I went to a nearby cafe to get my coffee fix and mull over a lonely planet guide of Tokyo to plan my day.. if only this was life everyday..

I decided to first check out the Tsukiji fish market first as it is only opens in the morning and is quite close to Asakusa.

The Tsukiji fish market is the largest in the world, the fish are auctioned every morning. This auction sets the price for fish all over the world. If you're willing to get up early enough (or just not sleep..), you might be one of the lucky 120 tourists who can watch this auction every morning, my hostel offered this trip, just a 2.45am start! Just think of that fresh sushi breakfast..

I had a spontaneous stop of at Ginza, a high-end shopping district. I had a look around The Sony Building, on the top floor there's a technology museum, a showcase of how Sony's technology has advanced over the years. It was a reminder of how incredibly fast technology advances, and it made me feel extremely old to see products I remember using in an actual museum. If you go to this building make sure you have a go on the melody staircase, each step lights up and makes a noise as you step on it! So Japanese.

After this, I decided to go for a walk around the Imperial Gardens, we stopped here on the bike tour but didn't go inside the grounds. I liked this about the bike tour, you got a good overview of most of the main sites, so you can later decide to go back to sites which interested you more.

After having a stroll around the enormous grounds, I went back to the station and headed off to Mikata, home to the Ghibli Studios Museum. Now, I researched this beforehand and it turns out you have to book a ticket months in advance to get into this museum, there were none left even when I had looked over a month in advance of my trip. I still wanted to go, just to see it, as I had nothing else in particular I wanted to do and I read that it is in a nice park. It turned out that the museum was actually closed for maintenance for two weeks over the time I was visiting, this made me feel a bit better about missing out, not just over not being organised enough, as I wouldn't have got a ticket anyway. The exterior of the museum is as tantalising as a Ghibli movie, shrouded in leaves with just a touch of abnormality to the decor. Ben and I will almost definitely cross through Tokyo on our travels later this year, so we will make sure we get tickets to go next time!

The park was lovely as well, I hired a paddle boat and had a paddle along the lake, which was a little weird solo, but sometimes you've just got to do these things when traveling alone. I left the park a different way from where I entered, which lead me down a street full of quirky, vintage spots and the biggest Uniqlo store I've ever seen. So, my trip out to Mikata wasn't so bad at all, even without the Ghibli Museum.

After that I headed to Shinjuku, a trip to a city isn't complete without a birdseye view. Noel told us about the viewing deck from the 45th floor of the government building, free entry and no queues! So I headed there and watched the sunset from the top of the city. It was a spectacular sunset which made the city look like a glittering, concrete ocean.

Once the sun went down, given my location, it seemed like heading to Shibuya was naturally the next thing to do. I went and observed the busiest crossing in the world at its busiest time, and took in the neon chaos. This is the Toyko I had envisioned. But really, aside from areas like this, Tokyo is a very calm and tranquil city. I think I could easily live here for a while.

Blade Runner City
While in Shibuya I had my first experience of a 'vendor restaurant', where you use a vending machine outside the restaurant to choose your meal and pay. You hand your receipt to a chef inside the restaurant and the cook it up right in front of you. This is a cheap and super efficient way of eating out. I quite like how it eliminated the whole getting the bill and paying faff at the end (and splitting the bill if in a group). A great way of eating if you're alone or just look to grab a casual bite to eat.

I really covered a lot of ground during this day, I think you do fit more things in when travelling alone. Although I do like having the opportunity to explore a place myself, I would definitely be seeking company after a couple of days.

I headed back to the hostel after dinner, another beauty in the location of the Origami hostel is the fact you have to walk through the Sensoji temple to get there from the train station. It really is quite spectacular at night, we stopped by on our bike tour but it's crammed full of tourists during the day, I would highly recommend coming here at night instead. It looks amazing lit up, and the Tokyo Skytree is positioned perfectly behind. A great shooting spot for photographers.

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