Touring Tokyo

With just three days to explore Tokyo, my friend Jess and I didn’t waste any time. We pretty much covered the entire city and were completely exhausted by the time our short trip was over.

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We arrived in Tokyo on a Wednesday from Seoul after flying Jeju Air for the first time. The flight is almost exactly two hours from Incheon Airport to Narita. Unfortunately, the bus ride to our hotel was just over two hours with the airport being so far outside the city so it made our trip twice as long.

We stayed at the New Sanno Hotel, an amazing hotel for military. We were put in a beautiful room with a large bedroom, living room area, dining room with a table, kitchen and two bathrooms. SO NICE! The hotel is located in a great area, just a short walk to the Hiro-o subway stop on the Hibiya Line.

By the time we were checked into the hotel and made our way out to the subway it was almost 5pm. We took the subway to Shibuya so we could see what is rumoured to be the busiest pedestrian intersection in the world, the Shibuya Crossing. We scrambled across the intersection and made our way to the 2nd floor of Starbucks in the Q-front building to get the best view of the intersection.Β Watch Video Here

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Tokyo (2 of 1)

After watching several rounds of people crossing the street we decided to go do a little exploring and find a place to eat dinner. We did not plan ahead on where to eat so we ended up settling for a Thai place (yes, our first meal in Japan was Thai food). It was actually VERY good though and we were not disappointed with our decision. We were pretty exhausted from a day of traveling so we headed back to the room after dinner to get a good night’s sleep.

We woke up Thursday morning feeling very refreshed and excited for the day. After grabbing breakfast from the hotel restaurant we headed out to explore Tokyo; our first stop, Tokyo Sky Tree.

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The Tokyo Sky Tree opened in May of 2012 and is the world’s tallest ‘free-standing tower’. It is 634m high with two observation decks. We went up to the first observation deck at 350m and had some amazing views of the city.

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This made me a bit nauseous.

Our next stop was a visit to Asakusa-jinja where we explored the Senso-ji temple and surrounding shops.

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We made a few friends along the way. πŸ™‚

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Man making noodles

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For lunch we stopped at Sometaro to try okonomiyaki, delicious Japanese style pancakes filled with meat, seafood and vegetables. We had to take off our shoes before entering and sat on pillows on the floor at a small table. We cooked our lunch ourselves at our table; so neat and yummy!untitled-42

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Jess is gluten free so she couldn’t have the pancakes. She experimented with vegetables and ended up creating a yummy meal.

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Our next stop was the Akihabara district where we read the geeks hang out, haha. There were quite a few arcades, comic stores, anime shops as well as many electronics stores in this area.

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By this time in the day we were slowly fading from running around. We stopped off at Tokyo Station and had a quick walk to the Imperial Palace grounds so we could relax in the gardens for a bit.

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Tokyo Station

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Our last stop of the evening was at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. There is a free observation deck located at the building so we made a quick stop to view the sunset before grabbing Japanese curry and calling it a night.

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Our last full day of adventures started at Meiji-jingu, Tokyo’s most famous Shinto shrine which is dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. The shrine was first built in 1920 but later destroyed in WWII. It was rebuilt in 1958. Our favorite spot at the shrine grounds was the area with rows of decorative sake barrels that were given as gifts to the shrine. ❀

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After exploring Meiji-jingu, we made a short walk over to Takeshita Street, a famous teen-fashion street with a variety of clothing stores and treat shops.

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Although purchasing a cat jacket was very tempting, I maintained my self-control and made no purchases on Takeshita Street. (I’m regretting this now.)

We decided our next adventure would be stalking the professional sumo wrestlers that were in for a tournament. We got on the subway and headed to Ryogoku for a quick walk to the Ryogoku Sumo Stadium. There are sumo tournaments in Tokyo during the months of January, May and September so we were very lucky to be in the city during tournament time. After an hour or two of stalking we were able to snag a few photos with some of the guys.

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We even got one to carry us around! πŸ™‚ Hehe

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Next up on the itinerary was Tokyo Tower, a 333m tower that is 13m taller than the Eiffel Tower which inspired the design.

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We ended our night in Shibuya at a fast food sushi restaurant, Uobei Sushi. It sounds disgusting but it was such a neat experience and very tasty! You order your dishes via the computer in front of you and they come out on a conveyor belt.

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Even though our trip was cut short because of weather, we still had an amazing time and got to see quite a bit of Tokyo. We caught a flight back to Korea on Saturday morning wearing matching Japan t-shirts. πŸ™‚

Arigatou Gozaimasu, Tokyo for such an amazing experience!!! ❀