Oh my god, how long I waited for this moment! I finally visited my dream country this september and it was awesome, an unforgettable experience! I would repeat it at any moment, it is really true that travel is the only thing you buy that enriches you. My trip to Japan was pretty long: 2 weeks but actually two days were just spent on the plane.
My plan was to visit Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, at the beginning I wanted to spend more time in Tokyo but then I decided to staymore days in Kyoto as it is the most important Japanese city from a historic point of view. And, of course, I also planned side trips to Nara and Himeji, close to Osaka and easy to reach from there. Well, visit the whole Tokyo in three days is just impossible so I tried to visit as many as point of interests I could. Here some of the places I managed to visit:
Kabuki-Chou – 歌舞伎町
I had hard time to find my hotel as I did not have a map of Tokyo on my phone, I only printed some and then I had no internet connection. I could reach Kabuki-Chou passing through Shinjuku but once arrived there, I was really lost and confused @@ My father convinced me to ask around and I found a kind woman who even phoned the hotel on our behalf! Thank god I can speak some Japanese xD
The hotel I was staying was located in Kabuki-Chou, the Red Light District of Tokyo as I call it xD There are many “weird” locals around and big posters with a lot of young Japanese men. This area is, indeed, known for its Host Clubs, something you can only find in Japan. They are pubs, which open in the night, where girls go to have a drink with handsome guys and pay really a lot. In Kabuki-Cho there are not only these kinds of pubs but also many nice restaurants. The first night we ate the typical Japanese noodles called Udon and grilled meat, it was everything delicious but there was only one problem…we were not able to eat with chopsticks ahah xD
I was too shy to ask for a fork so we gave up and tried to learn :,) In the night everything was lighted up, all the signs were shining and people were everywhere, for this reason I really enjoyed walking around….for me it was like living a dream *^* The name of this place comes from a Kabuki theatre which had to be built here after the fire that destroyed the other one in Ginza but they just built again there. Nevertheless the name did not change and still indicates this area. If you are wondering what Kabuki is, well in a nutshell it is a traditional Japanese theatre form that was born at the beginning of the 17th century (for more info go here wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabuki)
Shinjuku – 新宿区
Actually Kabuki-Chou is just a district that makes up Shinjuku, one of the wards Tokyo is composed of @@ My god, city administration in Japan is so complicated, they do not even have the names of the streets! Shinjuku is the commercial heart of Tokyo, for this reason you will encounter numerous tall skyscrapers, and hosts the busiest transport hub in the world…I can assure that! I got lost something like 7 times in the metro station ahaha xD
I loved this place, in the night everywhere was so lively and there was a big screen on one of the tall buildings broadcasting Japanese music videos and news, which is something I really love :,) There are also a lot of nice restaurants and a very narrow alleyway you would never expect to find in a such modern and big city! The restaurants were so small there, people did not even the room
to eat xD
When, for the first time I came here, I had to cross a loooong crossing, I was so afraid, I have never seen such a big crossroad in my whole life but against all the odds, I survived and crossed :,) Japanese drive really slow, even if you never hear when a car is approaching because they use electric cars and they make no noise!
Ikebukuro and Shibuya – 池袋と渋谷区
We came to Ikebukuro in the morning so there was nothing special to check, we just wandered around and bought something in a conbini store. These kinds of stores are really a cult in Japan, they are everywhere and 24/24, inside you can find every kind of food. In order to have breakfast, we, then, stopped in a bar on the way before taking the metro to come back. Ikebukuro is one of the most active area in Tokyo and it is the second busiest transport hub in the world!
Again, I really do not know how I came back home alive from this adventure xD I just wanted to come here because this place is featured in the anime Durarara :,) Shibuya, here u go with another “busiest-something in the world“, is one of the special wards, along with Shinjuku and many others, that makes up the Tokyo urban area. Shibuya is one of the most popular districts in Tokyo where the young people gather, there is a great variety of shops, love hotels and restaurants.
Shibuya is also famous for its biiiigg crossing! When I came here it was night but everything was so bright! Unfortunately we did not have much time to explore around, it was already too late and we were tired from the long day so we tried to search for the metro but we could not find and got lost xD After walking around aimlessly we found it…it even started raining ahah
Tokyo Imperial Palace – 皇居
Koukyo, meaning Imperial Palace in Japanese, is located in the real centre of Tokyo, as if it indicated that the Emperor must always be at the center of Japanese people’s life, in a large park. It is composed of different buildings as well as the Main Palace called 宮殿 Kyuuden in Japanese. The Palace was half destroyed in the WWII after the Allied bombings on Japan’s capital.
To reach this place I used JR so I did not pop out just in front of the Palace but I had to pass through the political centre of Tokyo, called Chiyoda, with sooo modern and tall skyscrapers….I thought I was walking in some American cities not in an asian city xD The park surrounding the Koukyo is crazily huge, we walked for at least one hour to reach it and then to come back ahaha
In order to enter the Imperial Palace you must book in advance on internet, it is even required your passport to get the permission to enter but I did not do this so we just admired it from the outside. There were really many people queuing to enter, crazy! The park surrounding the entrance to the place is massive huge, you do not see its end and already having a stroll there is worth it for the picturesque views of the mout.
Akihabara – 秋葉原
Akihabara is mainly famous for its shops selling anime stuff like action figures, video games and of course a great variety of manga. This area was totally destroyed by a fire and Japanese decided to keep it like that without buildings or anything on it, to prevent any other fires from approaching the Imperial Residence and for this reason during the WWII it was called Akihabara meaning “Autumn Leaf Field“.
Along the street you can find many shops which could look really small but are composed by many floors, even 2 floors underground! Japanese people know how to get some room in their super populous country xD Inside you can find anything: action figures, even naked ones, human size dolls, manga of every genre, especially hentai (a word in Japanese used to describe porn manga), anime DVDs and video games I did not even know existed @@
My father and I spent a day here wandering around. I wanted to buy an action figure of Miku Hatsune for my friend but everything was too expensive xD We also spotted some Japanese girls wearing maid outfits advertising their cafés. Maid Cafés are a cult in Japan, they are western style so they serve you coffee and cakes but the girls working there all wear a maid outfit and call you ごしゅじんさま, translated as My Lord or something like this. I really wanted to go in one but I am a woman :,)
In this article I just spoke about the modern part of Tokyo but the next one will be about the historic places you can encounter in this wonderful city! Stay tuned…