A Journey In Tokyo, Japan: Summer 2018
A Journey to Tokyo, Japan, summer of 2018
Los Angeles to Tokyo
I knew I had just landed into a land of zen, unraveling the other side of the world I have never explored or been to. The Japanese surroundings stimulated my spirit and soul, leaving an inevitable desire to understand Japan and its culture. From Los Angeles to Tokyo, I arrived in Japan over the summer of 2018. My first stop was Haneda Airport, and with a welcoming climate from Haneda, I was already feeling welcomed into Japan.
Haneda Airport to Central Tokyo area
The first thing I did when I arrived to the airport was exchange my money at Mizuho currency exchange shop, which gave me the Japanese Yen currency to purchase a SUICA Card ( rechargeable fare card on train lines in Japan ) or you can just get a ticket. Based on my experiences, I recommend taking the Keikyu Airport Line at the Haneda Airport to the Shinagawa station and then transfer to JR Yamanote Line which will take you to Shinjuku or to the general Tokyo area.
Things I noticed upon arriving to Tokyo
Don't forget to bring your handkerchief, it is quite humid and hot in Japan during the summer, but do not let that get in the way of exploring Japan! I recall my very first earthquake in Tokyo, Japan which was memorable for me and not as scary as it may seem! It was in Shimbashi, Minato-Ku ward when I was enjoying delicious soba and I suddenly felt the table shaking a bit, so I looked around, and I noticed everyone looking up from their food and table in astonishment and a little bewildered. It wasn't long before the earthquake died down and everyone went back to normal, which led me to learn that, while earthquakes in Japan are typical, the buildings in Tokyo are built to resist earthquakes, and are technically earthquake-proof. Soon after that occurred, I continued enjoying a delicious soba dinner at Notoji Sobaten in Shimbashi. The first things i noticed when I came to Japan were that, unlike the United States, there were a lack of public trash cans, and the convenient stores such as 7/11, Family Mart and Lawson are all popular quick, useful, convenient stores to go to when in need of something quick to eat, drink or even a personal or household item. As for the lack of public trash cans in Japan, I can understand why there are none. Basically, If there are no public trash cans around, there will be more of an influence for the general population to not throw out their garbage into the street or into public areas, rather into a store that has a trash can.This helps there to be a more clean environment and clear streets, by encouraging everyone to have to wait to throw away their garbage until they've reached an inside area with a trash can. The Japanese are incredibly eco-friendly.
Tokyo is the capital of Japan which is not a "city but rather a "metropolitan prefecture" containing 23 wards of Tokyo. Japan combines modern, contemporary and traditional scenery simultaneously. The ward I stayed in and lived in for a while was Chiyoda-Ku, which is located in central Tokyo. I felt amazing here in Chiyoda-Ku and I felt the zen of this magical, ancient ward in Tokyo! Chiyoda-Ku is home to "Nihon University" ( Japan University ), and many other great universities in central Tokyo, as well as international schools. On top of that, Chiyoda-Ku is home to the Imperial Palace (where the Emperor, Akihito), the prime minister's official residence, Tokyo Station, and the notorious gaming and anime district "Akihabra". Out of all these places to visit within Tokyo, the natural, historical, and ancient surroundings of this notoriously modern city, are still parallel to each other and that's admirable amongst many. If you just want to get away to a fun local Tokyo amusement park, try checking out Tokyo Dome City, with Tokyo Dome located next to it too! Tokyo Dome City is a nice escape from busy Tokyo but still located in the center of Tokyo. Tokyo Dome is home to Tokyo Dome Baseball Stadium which is notably the biggest covered baseball stadium in the world. If you're looking for a place to go running or jogging, Chiyoda- Ku is that place, being that it is home to the Tokyo marathon, which the next Tokyo Marathon as of right now is March 2019! In the summer of 2018, I saw Japan getting ready for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics! Currently, Japan is preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.
Places to visit and explore in Chiyoda-Ku
- Tokyo Dome City
- Imperial Palace, East Gardens of the Imperial Palace
- Tokyo Dome Baseball Stadium (Biggest covered baseball stadium in the world)
- Kanda Shrine
- Tokyo Station
- Yasukuni Shrine
- Kiyomizu Gate
- Chiyoda Cherry Blossoms
- Tokyo is the capital of Japan
- Tokyo is not a city, but a "metropolitan prefecture" which contains 23 wards
- Shinjuku station is the biggest and busiest railway station in the world.
- Tokyo used to be known as Edo, and renamed "Tokyo" in 1868, and the population continued to increase
- There are more than 36 million residents in Tokyo, making it the biggest metropolitan area in the world.
Tokyo Shopping Tips:
- Bargaining is not the norm in Japan, so don't expect to be able to return an item or exchange a product!
- Japan offers tax-free shopping : enjoy.taxfree.jp
- Donki Quijote is the most popular discount store in Japan and the best place to shop for everything, including souvenirs, food, clothing, electronics, cosmetics, healthcare, toys, home appliances, and more! Don't forget to check out Donki Quijote!
- Asakusa: For gifts, try Nakamise-dōri (preceding to temple Sensō-ji)
- Ginza: Shopping district to check out: Mitsukoshi and Dover Street Market Ginza
- Many train stations in Japan have shopping complexes, cafe's and restaurants located inside train stations. In Japanese it is called, "Ekinaka".
- Convenient stores: Lawson, Family Mart, and 7/11
While Tokyo, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Akihabra and Tokyo Station were all on my list of places to explore, I also wanted to explore Tokyo more in-depth, to see the areas where not all tourists and even local Japanese people go to. That's when I left Chiyoda-Ku to utilize Airbnb and hotels in the Tokyo area to explore all of Tokyo from different angles. The hotel I stayed at was located in Shinjuku and it was quite affordable and I do highly recommend APA Hotel & Resort Nishishinjuku-Gochome-Eki Tower and I must mention that it's located within close proximity to the Meiji Jingu Shrine and Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. After Shinjuku, I went to the other side of Tokyo, the western portion of Tokyo metropolis, with less tourist's, and more locals which captured my attention as I feel I was experiencing Tokyo at its entirety. The zen of Tokyo is all encompassing and it's definitely worthy to visit all of Tokyo. In Machida, I highly recommend checking out the Machida Squirrel Garden, which is a must-see location with admission price of only 400 yen.
1. Shinjuku : I stayed at the APA Hotel & Resort Nishishinjuku-Gochome-Eki Tower.
2. Airbnb: Can use Airbnb all over Japan. Beneficial because I utilized Airbnb in different wards throughout Tokyo, giving me the opportunity to see all of Tokyo, rather than just one area of Tokyo.
Next on the list of places I journeyed to in Tokyo is Tokyo Skytree (located in Oshiage area of Tokyo), and this is where I experienced an amazing view of Tokyo. When I got hungry, I went to Top of Tree Sky Lounge which is located on the top floor of Skytree's Solamachi, a shopping destination with over 300 shops and restaurants, an aquarium, museum and planetarium, with an enchatning and breathtaking view of Tokyo Skytree! As I went up to the top of the Skytree's Solamachi, I decided to get a drink and food at the Top of Tree Sky Lounge, which I recommend it as a top spot to visit to get a magnificent view of Tokyo's night view and cityscape and across the lounge I could see Tokyo Skytree lit up! Top of Tree Sky Lounge view is a must-see.
Other Tokyo Must-See Spots:
- Tokyo Skytree
- Top of Tree Sky Lounge
- Skytree's Solamachi
- Machida Squirrel Garden
- Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
- Meiji Jingu Shrine
Tokyo, with its modern, yet historical nature to it, will always have that zen, energy, and modern aspect of it to be admired from all over the world. With respect of its culture, and language, you will be having a great time in Tokyo and I wish everyone who plans to or desires to travel to Japan to visit Tokyo and really take a journey to Tokyo to see all it can offer!
My Youtube Channel : Japanese Wedding, Japanese Phrases for Travel in Japan, Japan Travel
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My Youtube Channel : Japanese Wedding, Japanese Phrases for Travel in Japan
© 2018 Chandler Harrison