One of best ways to get out of your comfort zone is to visit another culture. Figure out how to navigate around a new city.
We arrived at the Narita International Airport at dusk. Just in time to experience the lights of the Shinjuku neighborhood.
We stayed at the Tokyo Hilton.
Here are few tips when preparing for Japan:
Here is my week long itenary:
- Arrived in the evening and explored the neighborhood of Shinjuku. Shinjuku features all kinds of different shopping including high end department stores as well as Robot Performance shows.
- Meiji Shrine
- Togo Shrine
- Takeshita Street
- Owl Cafe
- Shibuya Crossing Scramble and neighborhood
- Shinjuku Gyoen Park
- Senso-ji Temple – Nakamise Street shopping for gifts
- Tokyo Skytree
- Akihabara – Electronics
- teamLab Borderless
- Roppongi neighborhood
- Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observatory
- Mt. Fuji
- Tsukiji Fish Market
- Tokyo Station
- Imperial Palace
- Ginza neighborhood
- Toyko Tower
- Fly away home
Some things we did not do:
- Helicopter ride around the city
- Water taxi/boat ride around Tokyo Bay
- Geisha House/Experience – Really more of a Kyoto thing
- Hamarikyu Gardens
- Roppongi Nightlife
- National Diet Building – Japan Congress
- Ueno Zoo
Tokyo is one of those cities that you could spend a month visiting and not do all the different activities.
Takeaways from Japan:
- Scale – Tokyo is one of the world’s largest cities. At rush hour the subways are packed. There are so many different neighborhoods to explore. The vast majority of the citizens live in highrise apartment buildings. It is not until you view the city from the Skytree Observatory that you can truly see the vast scope of the city in the shadow of Mt. Fuji.
- Consumerism – I was raised in Texas where capitalism is king. But Japan takes shopping and consumerism to the next level. Every place we visited they had cafes and gift shops with fully stocked shelves.
- Style – When you take the subway you get to see so many different people from all kinds of different parts of the city. The Japanese are a reslly fashionable people. Black, Navy, White, Grey and Khaki were the main colors. Most of the men wear suits and carried laptop bags. Most of the women wear dresses with high heals. All of the civil servants are dressed in nice uniforms. This sense of style is something I would like to incorporate into my life. It seemed more professional than my current wardrobe, which isn’t bad.
- History and progress – Tokyo is a juxtaposition between history and the future. People come from around the world to worship at ancient Buddhist temples and the emporer lives in a palace garden. Yet on every corner there is a skyscraper and more are consistently being upgraded or built new. There is an entire district dedicated to electonics. While Mt. Fuli. an active volcano with several lakes, looms in the background of the city.
The size of Tokyo can make it a tough city to navigate. There are so many different train lines and stops. There were a few times where I missed my train stop or jumped on the wrong train line and had to backtrack. I would recommend that you print off a map of the various train systems. There are multiple. You must take a separate train across the Rainbow Bridge to the area of Odaiba where teamLab and various attractions are located.
The city is heavily populated so there will always be people riding the trains. During rush hour the trains are full of commuters. But it never felt overwhelming. There are always train attendants at the station that are willing and able to help strangers find their way.
The people are friendly and always ready to help strangers. It is incredible that even in a city with literally millions of people everything seems orderly. Everyone is well dressed and when you ride the train there is complete silence. If you ever need help you can just ask the nearest person and they will be more than willing to help you if they can.
Overall Tokyo was a success and definitely worth the visit. The city can be anything you want and is worth your time.