Day 5 - The Whirlwind Tokyo Experience
Tokyo Travel Blog› entry 5 of 12 › view all entries
September 6th, 2009 – by: tommylennie
Arriving at Harajuku, I had to surf through a wave of people to get out the station, it was very busy to say the least. With the sun beating down harder today than any other so far, I was grateful for the vending machine outside the station.
As I was about to leave for the Meiji shrine, I met Christine, an American also travelling alone and we decided to team up for the rest of the day. Christine had just not long arrived in Japan, after travelling to China and South Korea, a trip she was undertaking to celebrate her graduation in Law.
I'm so glad I met Christine and we went to the Onsen, as I would have never thought to go and it ended up being a great Japanese experience. We were both issued with our kimono's on arrival, changed and met inside the Onsen. There was so so much to do here, and it was clear that entire families would spend a whole day here. Our first stop was the outdoor Onsen garden, where we walked through the warm healing waters and stepped on some very jaggy stones, which are suppose to be healing for the whole body. We fooled around with a group of Japanese guys out here, they were so hilarious, one was even wearing fake glasses and moustache for some reason. Next up was Dr Fish, where you dip your feet into a pool full of fish, and they rid you of all the dead skin by eating it! Luckily for us, as we sat down a few people left and so scores of fish where nibbling at us, tickling as they went about their business.
After a quick stop at Akihabara, where we went maid spotting and Christine had some conveyor belt Sushi, we headed for Shinjuku and some more great Japanese experiences. We managed to find the Golden Gai, a cramped little network of tiny drinking dens that can only accommodate about 8 people each at a push! So we found a friendly bar called Le Soiree and ventured inside for a couple of Asahi's. We had a great time here, drinking and learning more about each other as we literally rubbed shoulders with the locals.
Just around the corner from the Golden Gai was the aptly named Cafe Edinburgh, where Christine very kindly treated me to a piece of cheesecake, complete with candles and some coffee. It was a great little touch as I never expected to get any birthday cake this year. Time was very much getting on, but we still had enough energy to find an Izakaya for some Yakitori and Sake. A very friendly couple of Japanese guys went well out of their way to help us find a very hidden little place. Once inside we were thrilled to see that we were the only foreigners there. The tables were very low on the ground and we had to sit cross legged on the floor, and I wondered how long I would last before getting the aches! It was great just to sit nibbling on Yakitori and sipping on Sake, and we were enjoying ourselves so much we totally lost track of the time.
Rushing out of the Izakaya at about 1am, we weren't surprised to see the subway was closed! Not fancying walking home again, we opted for a taxi. Luckily it wasn't to expensive to Christine's hotel and after splitting the fare, we weren't too much out of pocket. Even luckier, it turned out that Christines hotel was only 5 minutes walk from my hostel. So after swapping emails, I was on my way home after a great day and a birthday I won't forget, and Christine was away to bed as she was up early the next day for her trip to Kyoto.
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