Heading back to Tokyo was one of the major highlights of my travels last year. It’s always fun for me to visit a city where you can enjoy walking around. While it might seem like you have to hit certain spots when you visit a place, sometimes the most enjoyable days are the ones when you don’t have an agenda.
After a day filled with visiting the Asakusa Temple, viewing Tokyo from above at the Tokyo Skytree, and enjoying plenty of arcades and delicious ramen, we took to the streets of Shibuya to see an entirely new part of the city. Since Shibuya crossing is the busiest in the world, we spent several minutes in a viewing platform in the metro station, watching Tokyoites run to work and school. It’s moments like these when you are reminded how much of the world we don’t know about and what makes these individuals tick.
Journeying into the heart of the crossing, I loved seeing how the city had changed since I had been there two years before. In a city like Tokyo, there always seems to be something new to see. Between the new installation of a King Kong-like gorilla on one of the sides of the buildings to the advertisements for various anime shows, it was almost like visiting a brand new city.
Moving from Shibuya to the edge of Shinjuku, we found ourselves fascinated by the shops and the variety. We found seedy sex shops, toy stores with innocent-looking Pokémon staring out at us, and some fun bookstores where you could pick up the newest manga. We explored all of these. I’ve never been much of a shopper, but it was impossible not to get up in the consumerism and the unique items available.
Of course, a visit to Japan wouldn’t be complete without some karaoke. Popping into one of the local spots, we enjoyed a free drink and picked some of our favorites. (Daniel, Eric, and I are big Billy Joel fans, so we queued up some of his greatest hits.) After about an hour or two of belting out some of the 70’s and 80’s best songs, we hit the streets again.
Walking by some sushi places, we found ourselves on a new mission—to find one that was within our budget. After using the Tokyo WiFi system (you can access it for a small fee over several days—or you can go to any 7-11 and get it for free), we found one just on the edge of the Shinjuku and Ginza neighborhoods. Climbing up some narrow stairs, we were motioned over to three places along the sushi belt.
Ordering our choices on the tablet provided, it took a large amount of restraint not to order everything. Regular Japanese customers looked over at us and giggled. They showed us how to pick our order gave us some recommendations. After a few minutes, delicious sushi was delivered to us on the conveyer belt. Although we had tried to find a spot where we wouldn’t deplete our bank accounts, we all ended up spending much more than we wanted to because we couldn’t stop eating.
Happy and full, we began waddling back to the metro, where we would head back to our AirBnB that we had rented for the next few nights. It had been a day filled with new surprises, which is why Tokyo is a place I will always go back to if I have the chance. It’s fun to visit a place that is constantly evolving and that you can love in new ways every time you visit.
Do you have a city like that where you feel you can always go back to?