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Tokyo Travel Blog

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Best ramen I've had... nice and spicy with lots of garlic.

Ahh, Tokyo. Such a big, crazy yet civilised city. Our first encounter with Tokyo's very efficient Metro system was after a day of travelling back from Niseko. We found ourselves at Tokyo station, trying to find out how to get to Shinjuku which is where we were staying for the next 4 nights. We must've looked utterly confused, because a very helpful man stopped and tried to help us with his limited English (he had an electronic translater, which helped). He managed to convey to us that we had to change trains 3 times and the last train left in 4 minutes. We made all trains except the last one, so caught a taxi (at this stage we still didn't know about the phone number-GPS link, so the taxi driver really struggled to find our destination, stopping to ask a local policeman along the way!).

Golden Gai area, Shinjuku.

We stayed at City Hotel NUTS, Shinjuku (review below), which was on the small side but served our purposes fine and was in walking distance to a couple of stations.

Shinjuku itself is quite a busy place with wide main streets, but also has a bunch of back alleys and seedy strip clubs, as well as the wonderfully quiet and quaint Golden Gai area, full of tiny, tiny bars. We visited one with Spanish writing on the wall, with a very friendly bartender. I couldn't get over how cosy and intimate the bar was. I read later that a lot of the bars in the Golden Gai area prefer locals, so we were lucky to chance on a foreigner-friendly joint.

We spent a night out at Roppongi, which is like Kings Cross (Sydney) on steroids.

Note the giant crab....
We had some great food and cocktails (involving the local liquer, shochu, which is like a white rum) at a big open-plan eating/drinking establishment (can't remember its name unfortunately). We also sampled some late-night Japanese fast food - gyoza, rice/noddles with chicken, in between visiting a couple of bars and clubs, both small and large. Of course, we also managed to find an Irish pub, as well as a 6-storey variety store which sold pretty much anything you could ever want.

The other famous places we visited were Harajuku, which (perhaps because it was a Sunday) was absolutely packed with people streaming down its narrow, cobbled alleyways. I thought the area around Harajuku was quite lovely, apart from the people, and the shops were very cool and unique. We caught a couple of glimpses of people in costume, but it wasn't as prolific as I'd imagined.

Sashimi meal for one at Tsukiji markets.
We also visited Tsujiki, where K and I had a wonderfully fresh sashimi lunch which had a selection of tuna, fatty tuna, salmon, herring, salmon roe, prawn, shellfish and prawn broth. All delicious and seriously filling as well. R and B couldn't stomach raw seafood so they lunched next door.

We didn't do anything particularly traditional in Tokyo, but we did experience some of their malls and food courts which are an experience in themselves. One night we walked around the Love Hotel Hill, full of themed brothels, which was a little bit seedy because of all the spruikers standing outside waiting for potential customers, and we had a great dinner at a Korean BBQ place, served by a helpful Chinese girl who spoke quite good English.

Unfortunately, we didn't have time to visit Disneyland, much to my disappointment, but one day I hope to return - there is so much culture and tradition in Japan, and their gardens are so beautiful it would be a shame to never come back.

 

 

 

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Best ramen Ive had... nice and sp…
Best ramen I've had... nice and s…
Golden Gai area, Shinjuku.
Golden Gai area, Shinjuku.
Note the giant crab....
Note the giant crab....
Sashimi meal for one at Tsukiji ma…
Sashimi meal for one at Tsukiji m…
View of Tokyo from one of its many…
View of Tokyo from one of its man…
Tokyo Hotels & Accommodations review
There were 4 of us in an apparently 5-bed room, with a traditional tatami mat area for sleeping and futons. It was already quite cosy with 4, but we m… read entire review
2,346 km (1,458 miles) traveled
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photo by: maka77