Bright neon lights
Tokyo Travel Blog› entry 4 of 4 › view all entries
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!).
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.
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.
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.