I was really looking forward to going to Tokyo because it was my first time really traveling outside of the Kansai region. Looking back I wish I had done a bit more research because I flew into Narita which is about 60km out from the city. When I arrived at my capsule hotel in Akasaka I was surprised because it seemed like a boutique hotel. There was a spa on the basement floor and I was provided with pj’s and all the amenities I could possible need! The capsule itself was bigger than what I had expected. Lots of people had informed me that sleeping in a capsule would be similar to sleeping in a coffin (not that I can imagine many of the people had slept in a coffin) but this wasn’t the case.
After unpacking my things I went for a wander, in Kobe I had desperately been seeking a massage parlour but I had been unable to find one. I came across two on my walk so I popped into one. I explained that I would like the 40 minute full body massage. Only until I was introduced to the male masseuse did I then think was this place legit. I had been made aware of dodgy places and as I climbed the many stairs to what felt the fifth floor I hoped I had made the right decision in choosing this place. There was some initial confusion ( on my behalf) if I should take my clothes off. In past experiences I had taken my clothes off and kept my undies on. Things were different here, I had to take my clothes off and put on the clothes that were supplied. The massage itself was nice and as always I was upset when it was over. What I was later to find out that this would be the first of three massages I would have over the next few days!
I spent the next day walking around, in fact I walked for about 8 hours that day. I navigated my way around the city using the trains, tubes and of course google maps. My first stop was Meji Shrine. I must admit I’m yet to come across a shrine that has completely blown me away. I know I will find one because there are so many in Japan but unfortunately Meji Shrine was average. It also didn’t help that it was undergoing renovations so many parts were covered.
Harajuku was next on my hit list and as soon as I arrived a Cat Cafe caught my eye. I felt like I hadn’t really interacted with an animal in such a long time. Feeding the deer in Nara would have been my last time so I was looking forward to it. When I arrived it was feeding time and looking at the cats they were all pedigree. They were literally the most beautiful cats I had ever seen and clearly selected for their beauty. Not all of them wanted to be stroked but I found a few who didn’t mind. I was happy to see they had so much space to roam around and they genuinely looked happy.
The Harajuku strip was very busy and extremely touristy. I can’t say I really enjoyed the experience and was happy enough to leave quite quickly. I then discovered Omotesando, a cute area with paved streets lined with designer shops and cafes. I spent quite a lot of time wandering the streets and the little lane ways. I did think if I lived in Tokyo this would be a really nice area to live in but I also knew it would most probably be very expensive too.
I experienced the infamous Shibuya crossing where up to 1000 people cross at once. It was so hard to capture on film but it was mental. Something that I think everyone should do if they visit Tokyo. I also went to the Tokyo Skytree which I believe is the tallest structure in Japan. I went up to the 350th floor and looking over the city made me realise how massive it is. I felt so small looking out, it wasn’t clear enough to see Mt Fuji but I was still amazed by the view despite queuing for nearly an hour!
On Wednesday I went to an international travellers meet up which was fun. The bar it was held in was nice and it was good to meet a range of people. Like me some people were visiting and some people had been there for years. Tokyo has a very international feel to it and reminded me of Hong Kong. There are many western shops like Bershka, Mango and Next. In terms of food I ate at Gomez y Guzman and across the road was Bill’s. You can really make your experience as Western or Japanese as you want in Tokyo and I believe that is the appeal. Whilst there I did think I would prefer to live here than Kobe.
I bought into the ultra touristy Robot Restaurant ( the word restaurant should be used extremely loosely) and it was a ‘special’ experience. It was exactly as my friend described: a sensory overload, from walking through the lobby to watching the robots fight against each other. It was mental and I can’t really relate it to anything I have ever seen before but it was good fun!
I definitely will be visiting Tokyo next time and hopefully I will be able to stay for longer and explore more. It’s a great city and I can’t wait to go again!