I didn’t realise how popular Japan was until I posted on Instagram mentioning that Japan would be my next travel destination. Quite a few people commented with recommendations and added that they would love to go there. I have to confess, Japan has never really been high on my “I would love to go there” list. Not to say that I didn’t want to go to Japan, but in terms of places I get excited about, Cuba, Ethiopia and Brazil hold the monopoly on that position. It was my husband, Will that wanted to go to Japan, so for me it was as good excuse as any to go. We booked our flights through Skyscanner and a couple of weeks later we flew to Tokyo from Taiwan. Okinawa was to be our second stop but that’s for another blog post. Here are a few highlight pictures from our trip to Tokyo.
We spent a lot of time on trains getting from place to place. We bought a Pasmo IC card (1000 Yen) which is a pre-paid transportation card which you can top up as and when you need. The card allows you to travel quickly through the stations without having to buy a new ticket each time because you just have to swipe the card at each barrier. To save money it’s probably best to stick to the subway or to the over ground train but not mix the two as it seems to work out more expensive. Also, we later discovered that we could use the card on the bus we took to the airport.
In my opinion, we got lucky with the weather in Tokyo, there was a crisp freshness to the air, not as cold as England, but not as warm as Taiwan and no rain. A couple of people advised me to bring a coat, but I debated whether to bring one because we were flying to Okinawa after Tokyo which is much warmer and I also didn’t want to feel too hot walking around in Tokyo and then have to carry a big coat around. I opted to layer up instead and kept a pair of leggings and a thin thermal long sleeve top in my rucksack to put on under my clothes, if it really got cold. I also had a hat and scarf just in case. The sky was blue and the sun was shining, so for me, the weather was beautifully refreshing, but I did slip into those extra layers when the sun set.
Yoyogi Park & Meiji Shrine
Street art in Yoyogi Park…
Barrels of saki wrapped in straw…
How cool are the taxis! Love that they came in a few different colours, but all in the same shape (Toyota apparently).
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
Wandering around the streets of Tokyo I spent a lot of time looking up at these amazingly tall buildings. This view is from the 42nd floor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku. I would definitely recommend going there for a quick look and extra bonus is that it’s free to get in, kerching!
Thank you Herma Hazle-Williams for this next picture…
We stayed in an area close to Asakusa called Taito which was walking distance to Sensō-ji, an ancient Buddhist temple and Tokyo Sky Tree. I loved that the Airbnb had this traditional Japanese seating area.
Sensō-ji was really busy with tourists in the day, but much quieter in the evening, so I would recommend going in the evening if you want a quieter look at the temple.
Halal Japanese Food
Ayam-Ya is a great little restaurant in Ueno, Asakusa, specialising in halal Japanese food, in fact it is generally considered to have the best halal chicken ramen in Tokyo. It was the first restaurant that I’ve been too where you have to order your food through a vending machine. Basically, you select what you want from the buttons on the front of the machine and insert your money. Each button has a pictures of what you are ordering. Once you have inserted your money, you are given a ticket and you give the ticket to the chef. I ordered the chicken ramen and it was delicious.
Ueno Cultural Park
Ueno Cultural Park is another beautiful park in Tokyo and is considered to be the first public park of Tokyo. The sun was beginning to set as we walked around and so everything was beginning to look even more magical. It is supposed to be really special during the cherry blossom season.
Another buddhist temple, very different to the others in the Tsukiji area right next to the subway.
Special thanks to Lovina Williams for this next picture…
Anime Theme Park
Last but not least, we visited J World which is an indoor anime “theme park”. I’ve put theme park in quotation marks, because, when I heard it was a theme park, I imagined, roller coaster rides and it really isn’t that type of theme park. I don’t know much about anime and Dragon Ball Z but I went along with an open mind. We had fun!
Accommodation via Airbnb
Photography by Tanya Weekes
Photographs of me by Wandering Will