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Day 5 - The Whirlwind Tokyo Experience

Tokyo Travel Blog

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Cosplay At Harajuku
After my epic attempt at traversing across Tokyo the previous night, I was soundly asleep in bed until the cleaners came in and gave me a rude awakening. By now it was 11am and I was actually glad of the wake up call. Today was Sunday, and like most well informed tourists, that means a visit to Harajuku for the cosplayers! Feeling slightly hungover and tired, my plan was to see Harajuku, the Meiji Shrine and have a wander through Yoyogi park before spending the rest of the day recharging my batteries. How things change.....

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.
Gundam, Odaiba
Loaded up on chocolate milk and water, I headed towards Jingu Bashi, the hangout of the infamous cosplay kids. There were far fewer than I had expected but enough to satisfy my curiousity. Cosplay is the art of dressing up as a character from popular fiction, namely Anime/Manga or Film, and these kids meet together most Sundays in Harajuku. Most people believe cosplay stems from the fact that Japanese school kids dress to a strict code throughout their lives, and as a teenager they can finally rebel against the uniform.

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.
Christine & I
After a little wander through Harajuku, we boarded a train to Odaiba, the man made island. I would have the chance to see Gundam, the giant Robot statue and Christine wanted to visit the Oedo Onsen, so we were both happy. On our way to find Gundam, we met Brian, a Korean guy also in search of the statue. Luckily, Christine is fluent in Korean so we all teamed up. We eventually found Gundam, after being told a few times that he had been taken down, and so Brian was thrilled. After a few photos, we parted company with Brian, who was really cool, and made for the Oedo Onsen. It was then that I received a birthday text message from my sister. Oh yeah, I totally forgot that today was my birthday! More to come on that though.
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba


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.
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
I tried out some Ninja star throwing before we had a dinner of Udon noodles, delicious. After a quick visit to the relaxation room, where loads of people slept or watched in lazyboy seats, we moved on.

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.
Golden Gai, Shinjuku
As we got to know each other over the beers Christine asked my date of birth, to which I replied today! She couldn't believe it, and after I showed her some proof, she insisted that we got me some birthday cake!

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.
Sake At Izakaya, Shinjuku


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.
ellechic says:
Glad to know your bday in Tokyo was memorable.
When I was in Japan last year for my bday, I stayed at a ryokan in Hakone. It was raining... but it was wonderful still - riding in the cable car, walking around the small picturesque town, and enjoying the onsen (the ryokan I stayed in had their own onsen) before a wonderful sleep!
Posted on: Nov 03, 2009
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Cosplay At Harajuku
Cosplay At Harajuku
Gundam, Odaiba
Gundam, Odaiba
Christine & I
Christine & I
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Golden Gai, Shinjuku
Golden Gai, Shinjuku
Sake At Izakaya, Shinjuku
Sake At Izakaya, Shinjuku
Cosplay At Harajuku
Cosplay At Harajuku
Cosplay At Harajuku
Cosplay At Harajuku
Cosplay At Harajuku
Cosplay At Harajuku
Cosplay At Harajuku
Cosplay At Harajuku
Harajuku
Harajuku
Harajuku
Harajuku
Harajuku
Harajuku
Christine & Brian
Christine & Brian
Christine & I
Christine & I
Tokyo Bay, Odaiba
Tokyo Bay, Odaiba
Tokyo Bay, Odaiba
Tokyo Bay, Odaiba
Odaiba
Odaiba
Odaiba
Odaiba
Tokyo Bay, Odaiba
Tokyo Bay, Odaiba
Tokyo Bay, Odaiba
Tokyo Bay, Odaiba
Gundam, Odaiba
Gundam, Odaiba
Gundam, Odaiba
Gundam, Odaiba
Gundam, Odaiba
Gundam, Odaiba
Gundam, Odaiba
Gundam, Odaiba
Teaching Christine The Glasgow Kis…
Teaching Christine The Glasgow Ki…
Gundam, Odaiba
Gundam, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oden Onsen, Odaiba
Oden Onsen, Odaiba
Oden Onsen, Odaiba
Oden Onsen, Odaiba
Oden Onsen, Odaiba
Oden Onsen, Odaiba
Oden Onsen, Odaiba
Oden Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oden Onsen, Odaiba
Oden Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oden Onsen, Odaiba
Oden Onsen, Odaiba
Oden Onsen, Odaiba
Oden Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oden Onsen, Odaiba
Oden Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Oedo Onsen, Odaiba
Maid At Akihabara
Maid At Akihabara
Golden Gai, Shinjuku
Golden Gai, Shinjuku
Golden Gai, Shinjuku
Golden Gai, Shinjuku
Golden Gai, Shinjuku
Golden Gai, Shinjuku
Golden Gai, Shinjuku
Golden Gai, Shinjuku
Golden Gai, Shinjuku
Golden Gai, Shinjuku
Golden Gai, Shinjuku
Golden Gai, Shinjuku
Golden Gai, Shinjuku
Golden Gai, Shinjuku
Golden Gai, Shinjuku
Golden Gai, Shinjuku
Izakaya, Shinjuku
Izakaya, Shinjuku
Izakaya, Shinjuku
Izakaya, Shinjuku
Birthday Cake At Cafe Edinburgh
Birthday Cake At Cafe Edinburgh
Sake At Izakaya, Shinjuku
Sake At Izakaya, Shinjuku
Our Yakitori
Our Yakitori
Our Yakitori
Our Yakitori
Shinjuku
Shinjuku
Tokyo
photo by: maka77