Hi there, travel lover!
Took me some time to put this blog together, but here it is. I absolutely loved Japan. The views, the people, the food (omg the food!), the temples, the toilets (yeah, nothing beats a Japanese toilet) and the all over hygienic lifestyle over there. This beautiful country is definitely on my “Must visit again” list.
So, after a really really long flight (there’s just no way around that when traveling from Europe) we first had a stop-over in Taiwan.
Tip: keep on walking in the airport until you find the massage chairs. They are free to use. Just get some coins from the store nearby.
Also, I will be covering this trip in two posts, starting with Tokyo, because it’s near impossible to cover everything in just one post.
Day 1: Tokyo
After an over 16 hours flight, we finally arrived in Tokyo. We checked in, got rid of our luggage and went to have some food.
We visited the Shibuya crossing, and one of Tokyo’s many beautiful gardens. Had a conversation with a Japanese man who told us he was an introvert and was trying to be less shy and talk more to people. When he found out we were from the Netherlands he talked a few Dutch sentences, among which the phrase “will you marry me?” (and didn’t really want to leave). After that, I wasn’t so sure about his introvert story 🙂 However, he did direct us to a great sushi place in a small street we would have never found ourselves.
After lunch, we left to Harajuku (just go to Takeshita Street). You can’t go to Tokyo and not visit Harajuku (I think it’s illegal). Unfortunately, the Harajuku girls and boys are usually only there on a Sunday near a park, but we enjoyed walking around having the best crepes ever.
How fast can you spot the huge cotton candy?
Somewhere along the way, I bought a Hard rock t-shirt, of course. We had dinner close to the robot show we bought tickets for. I discovered a very important lesson: DO NOT order things that are NOT ON THE MENU. I’m a tea person, my friend loves her coffee. So when I didn’t spot hot tea on the menu (which was weird to me since I’m used to it) I asked the waitress if she had hot tea. Mind you, hardly anybody in Japan speaks English. You talk with your hands and feet and look for restaurants that have English menu cards. She said something like, yeah ok ok, not sure what, so I ordered hot tea. Then, she grabbed a carton of ice tea from the fridge, microwaved it and put it in a long glass. I was like “Uhm…. okay….” Lesson learned.
ps: it was bad tea, but I didn’t complain. She probably thought she was helping.
At night we went to the Robot show/restaurant (my friend really wanted to go), which is, by the way, a huge tourist trap. Seriously. It was so bad, all I could do was laugh. Paid way too much for a few acts with a really, really bad Power Rangers kind of play with a few robots, but mostly dancers and actors. By the second act over a dozen people had left. We just stayed and laughed. I’m a “let’s make the most of it” kind of person. Guess you either love it or hate it.
When we left the show, laughing our asses off for falling for this overpriced trap, some guy tried to sell us tickets for another show, declaring “there is no sex”. Uhm, yeah, no thanks. Don’t know why he found it important to stipulate that-maybe because we are women-but still, after saying that, how can he expect any woman to go with him.
Then, much to our surprise, we discovered that no more metros were leaving after 23.15. So weird! In a huge metropolis like Tokyo, you actually have to take a train or catch a bus after only 23.15.
Day 2: Tokyo
Today was Mount Fuji day which I was really looking forward to. In the end, it was probably the biggest disappointment and a waste of time. All in all, it took us most of the day to travel to the mountain and back to see… no mountain. It was covered with fog. The tour only stayed there for 30 minutes near a souvenir shop and that was it. Also, mind you, the tour does not include actually getting or even climbing the mountain.
This is pretty much all we saw of Mount Fuji. Guess it was just bad luck with the weather. The dessert was yummy by the way and I did enjoy our lunch.
We did book the Hakone Lake together with the tour, which was a tour of about 60 minutes. You take a cable cart to the top where you have a shrine.
We took the bullet train back so we could at least win some time that day so it wouldn’t be a total waste. Met a really nice guy, Nazim, a software engineer for Microsoft, who helped us out finding our way back with the bullet train and directed us in how and why to get a Siuca card which is a must have! It’s like a London Oyster card. Buy it. You can both use it on the metro as the private train to for example Daiba (which is apparently like the Hamptons of Tokyo). We had great dario shrimp here and saw the mini Statue of Liberty. Yeah, they have one here too.
The picture above is a typical Japanese restaurant window by the way. They display basically all their menus like this.
Day 3 Tokyo
In the morning we left to Akihabara (electric city). We happened to walk past a market where I bought hats. Yeah, I somehow seem to collect them during holidays. I had a cap with me, but it wasn’t much protection against the sun.
Akihabara is… like a neon geek paradise place. They have these maiden cafes where waitresses are dressed in (manga) costumes. We didn’t visit a maiden cafe, but it was fun to see even from the outside.
We also went to the Marvel exhibit and to Yoyogi park to have some crepes. (again).
Went to the ninja restaurant but it was full, so we made a reservation for another day. So instead we went to a yakitori restaurant. Paid over 30 euros and were still hungry. Afterward, we went to have pizza. You can never go wrong with pizza!
Also, today my friend questioned the picture in the hotel lift. She thought it might mean “it’s okay to walk into the lift and to have breakfast with your pajamas on”. Hey, if you don’t speak a language you have to make something of it. But then I saw the cabinet with the same picture on it.
Apparently, in Japanese hotels, you can borrow pajamas. They are in a cabinet with a blue light on them so they stay clean. They really are big on a hygienic lifestyle there. Love it.
By day three I had great news, seeing I had sold the first pre-order copies of my novel The Amazon and the Beast. Great, great start of an amazing journey.
So, this was Tokyo. Because I have a lot of pictures and places to share, I have cut this travel blog in several blogs. To be continued.
- Next post: Kanazawa & Kyoto
Liked this post? See other places I visited.