Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Week in Tokyo !

Back from Tokyo on Sep 27!  No sure why, I felt extremely tired after this trip, probably we  had over packed our schedule as day time, we walked and night time, we worked till past midnight, fortunately, after a week, I managed to recuperate and back to my norm :)

I visited Tokyo many times, one was together with a tour group, the rest were on business trips.  I wasn't have much  chance to explore this city in the past, this was the reason I come here. 

Sep 20 - We took a Sunday midnight flight and arrived at Narita Airport early in the morning.   To go hotel, we had to take a airport shutter service but by then we arrived and settled down, it's already in the afternoon.   It's too expensive to take Taxi to commute from place to place in Japan, trains and subways were our means of transportation for this trip.  Tokyo has very dense network of public transport, it's very convenient to move around but sometime it can be very confusing.  Normally, a short distance to town (5-10 mins ride) would cost about 130 - 160 yen, definitely, it cost more than in Singapore.

Since our stomach were growling, we decided to go for lunch first.  We took a train to Akihabara and stopped at a small eatery for a Pork Chop Curry Rice.  It's interesting that we had to buy the coupon from a venting machine to exchange for the food.  Although it was a simple lunch, it was very delicious.  Yummy!!

Akihabara is a bustling place where is famous for specialty shop of electronic appliances and pop culture.  It has also gained fame for its gaming, manga and aimation culture.  We could see many cosplays where people just dressed up like anime characters and manga kissaten walking on the street.  It formed a very interesting sight since this scene will not happen in Singapore unless there is a parade or event.  

Sep 21/22 - Since my hubby had to work on these two days, I went shopping with my daughter around Shinjuku and Ginza areas but came back with empty handed as things were way too expensive in Japan. 

In one of the evening, I and my daughter were invited by my hubby's business friends to a dinner in a Japanese authentic  restaurant.   There were sashimi, sushi, salman roll and many of soya bean dishes.  Although the portion of the dishes was small, we could hardly finish the foods.  Overall, the dinner was really good, we all enjoyed.  The interesting part was to make our own bean curt during the course.  Something different!

Shibuya and Harajuku are very colorful and busy districts and birthplace in Tokyo for many of the Japan's fashion and entrainment trends accordingly to some travel guide I saw.   It's our next spot of visit and here we come !   Beside fashions, there were many eating places around.  We tried the local Raman in one of the stalls at Shibuya, it's awesomely delicious!  Yum Yum!  

We could see the most popular and up to date fashions in Shibuya and HarajukuIt's a young hype fast-fashion area,  for the teens to early 20's Japanese fashionistas (My hubby and I are over aged there!) .  There were many amusement spots and shopping outlets popular with many the trendy youngsters. A lot of these fashions are too elaborate or loud for us as Singaporean, I guess if I will to dress like this walking on a street in Singapore, I will definitely become the spotlight of attention.  Oh.. no way! 

Sep 23 - Initially, we intended to spend a day  to explore Mt. Fuji, however, given the weather forecast reported heavy rain over the next few days, we decided to back off and visited Asakusa instead.   Temperature changed so drastically, the past two days was above 30*C but it had dropped to less than 20*C in a raining day. 

Asakusa is one of the popular tourist spot in Tokyo, it's  famous with its Sensoji temple.   Although it was raining that day, the place remained crowded with holy prayers and tourists.  There were many shopping streets providing visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and tourist souvenirs around these areas.  We tasted many of the Japanese local snacks, and of course, we bought some back for friends, colleagues and relatives.

Sep 24 - The Imperial Palace in Tokyo is one of the tourist attraction and we thought we could enter into  to experience the place but was disappointed as it was not open to public. What a waste!

Since we had no luck with Imperial Palace, we decided to explore places around Tokyo Station given that weather was unexpectedly good.  Our next stop was Yushima Tenjin Shrine - a temple which was built in the 17th Century by the god of study and now it has become the place for students to pray for success in their studies and exams.   In front of the temple, We saw many of the small pieces of wood with their wishes handing there.  I should ask my daughter to do the same to wish for good luck since she would be having her exam after our trip. 

Around that areas, there were many shopping streets, some of the stalls were selling fashions, other selling fresh foods and tidbits.  Goods over there were generally cheaper than in the city.  We could get many T-shirts or top at 1000 yen.   

Sep 25 - It's our last day in Tokyo, our plan was to explore somewhere nearby.  My daughter suggested Tsukiji Market as she expected the place to be interesting since it's best known as one of the world's largest fish markets.   When we arrived there, I back off from entering into the market as the place seemed very wet and dirty in the raining day.  However, my hubby and daughter decided to go ahead.   I was told the market was very busy and there was no path for visitors to move around.

Since the weather turned better after the morning rain,  we decided to visit our last spot - Roppongi before leaving Tokyo.  We spent about S$20 per person to Tokyo City View Observatory for a 360* view from Mori Tower at Roppongi Hills.

Over at the observatory hall, it was very relaxing to sit there and enjoy the view with a snack from one of the cafeteria.  Such a superb and spectacular view of Tokyo Metroplois!

We returned to our hotel at 4pm to collect our luggage before heading to Narita Airport.  As for the hotel we stayed during this trip, we are very satisfied as Hotel Monterey Ginza is located close to subway, surrounded by shopping district and eating places, we were able to move around and look for food easily without hassle or extra cost.
This trip has allowed me to gain a better understanding of this metropolis city's daily life, culture, foods and transportation system.  Overall, I would say I had a great time with my hubby and daughter in Tokyo. Goodbye!

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