Firstly, I would like to apologize. I'm really sorry as this post should be out initially before December. However, due to my tight schedule I did not manage to complete this post till today.
Welcome to another episode of Travel with the Devil. Today, I'll be writing about my trip to Tokyo earlier in November - Tokyo, the capital city of Japan. The most popular metropolitan area in the world!
This trip to Tokyo will be broken down into 2 parts. Do stay around to look out for the part 2 that's coming in soon!
I've shared previously, as much as this is a finance blog which I will be writing mainly about finance related issue, there will also be a segment about my sideline interest - which is to travel. Being granted the opportunity earlier this year to visit Japan (link here) for my attachment program, today I will be writing about a visit to Tokyo. Thinking back, I do have a couple of regrets as I have insufficient time in Tokyo to visit the other places like Mount Fuji and being dressed in a local Japanese costume. But well, I shall leave it for my next trip! It's another pity that I had missed out on many photo for the food eaten. Guess it's my tummy first before the camera!
Tokyo is indeed a really busy city and has a very complex transportation system. Take a look at their MRT map!
Very complicated isn't it? To be honest. It's not really that complicated. Just remember the line you're getting on and look carefully at their trains. They have trains that are express-bound and will skip certain stations. Do look out for such words - 特急列車 before boarding. These are the express trains which will skip stations.
And in some of their trains, they will cross over to another line. Meaning to say that, if you're on board the blue line for example, they will actually cross over to the red line after a certain station. Hence, do remember to keep a look out before boarding the train to see where it is heading to!
Aside that, the transportation around Tokyo in their subway are pretty expensive and can easily cost 490 Yen = S$ 5.88/ trip! For tourist around, you may wish to buy the Tokyo Subway Ticket. They have it in 3 different types - 24 hour, 48 hour and 72 hour type. Upon tapping into the first station, the clock will start and for the following 72 hour you will enjoy unlimited train rides before the pass expires. The 24h, 48h and 72h pass cost 800, 1200 and 1500 yen respectively. And yes, I've bought the 72 hour ticket.
You'll be able to buy these tickets from a travel agency, hotels or from airport.
For Haneda Airport, proceed to Information Desk 5 at B1 floor of Haneda Airport Domestic Termial 2. They're open from 06:00AM to 10:00PM. For more information, you may wish to visit the site here.
Time for some activities!
Day 1. Tokyo Skytree & Asakusa, Sensoji:
Tokyo Skytree is a broadcasting, observation tower which stands at 634m, the second tallest structure in the world.
You can access to this place via Oshiage Station on the Tokyo Metro via Keisei Line (KS45), Toei Asakusa Line (A20) or Hanozomon Line (Z14). Right after alighting, there will be directions that will lead you to the Tokyo Skytree. Alternatively you can also proceed to Tokyo Skytree Station via Tobu Skytree Line (TS03).
There's also a shopping center right below which includes stores like Line Store, Disney Store, Daiso and musuems such as the World Beer Musuem where you can get to buy beer all across the world as well as dine in the beer musuem restaurant to get yourself drunk. There's also several F&B establishments right below the Skytree.
|View of Tokyo Skytree from below|
|World Beer Musuem|
|Happy Hour at 1,500 Yen (S$18) for 60mins of free flow drinks|
To get onto the observation deck, you will need to proceed to L4 and exit through the glass door and enter into the place shown above. Inside, you will be able to find the ticketing counter that sells the ticket for the lift to the observation deck which cost 2060Yen (around S$24.89) for an adult ticket.
Right after, you purchase your ticket, you will be able to see a lift right ahead of you. There will be some staff there which you will pass your ticket to and brings you to the lift.
On the observation deck, you will be able to have a panoramic view of the city and the river. You can also choose to top up a little money and head to the upper observatory deck, which is 5m below the upper platform. I was reading earlier before heading up that you might get a view of Mount Fuji if you're lucky when the sky is clear. I was not able to see Mount Fuji tho. There's also a glass floor where you will be able to view downwards.
|View of City - The buildings all look so tiny!|
|View of the river|
Asakusa (浅草) & Senso-ji:
Right after you've finished with the Tokyo Skytree, you might wish to drop by Asakusa which is just 10 mins away in walking distance. Right at Asakusa, there is many many restaurants around, so fear not when you get hungry. Also, the famous Senso-ji, a buddist temple is situated there as well. Senso-ji is the top 10 temples in Japan. Hence, be sure to drop by and pay a visit to the beautiful temple.
I've dropped by Asakusa shortly after my trip to the Tokyo Skytree. Senso-ji is next after my meal at Asakusa an indeed, Senso-ji is extremely beautiful in the night.
As you're walking over from Tokyo Skytree, you will be passing by this bridge (Azumabashi)
which was originally built in 1774 at the site of ferry landing.
Unfortunately, when I was there, the shops outside Senso-ji (Nakamise-dori) is already closed. Hence, if you want to catch the shop open, remember to visit Senso-ji earlier! I was there at 5pm, and yes. The sky is looking like 9pm in Singapore.
|Mikuji - Fortune slips|
Oh yea, shortly after. I went opposite and went over for a "All you can eat" Shabu-shabu.
Nothing beats having a delicious steamboat after your day right?
There's several different courses available and I picked the one that cost 2,600 Yen which is about S$31. You'll be able to enjoy 100 minutes of eat all you can. For the other packages like the 3,600 Yen, you'd be able to enjoy the beef tongue course and 4,600 Yen for Japanese Beef and Pork course.
Time for my meal :)
Day 2: Akihabara
Lunch - Ippudo Ramen, Ueno Hirokoji (link here)
Address: 〒110-0005 東京都台東区上野3-17-5
They're opened till late in the night and closes only at 2am on Mon-Thu/Sun and 3am on Fri-Sat
Familiar name isn't it? Yes. It's delicious. And you should try to original one in Japan.
Next, Akihabara is a famous district for video games, anime, manga, computer goods and electronic products. There's also numerous maid cafes around the area, and I'd say it's really interesting to get one checked out.
|Surpringly, arcade and video games is still very well supported there.|
The waitresses are all dressed in maid costumes and would literally kneel down in front of you to take your order. Also, upon entering the restaurant, they would be saying 'Welcome home, master!' in Japanese to welcome you. It's a really strange yet interesting and expensive experience I've got there. On a side note, there will be many 'maids' that are out to get you (particularly male) to patronize their restaurants.
|AKB48 Cafe - Japanese Idol Girl Group cafe|
Day 3: Shibuya
Another shopping paradise here, and you can literally spend most of your time here if you're a shopping lover. Aside that, there's also many drugs stores, a big book store and concept stores around.
If you're there for awhile you might have noticed that there are some that are dressed in Mario Kart in a cart driving around the area. Yes!! I'm actually one.
You may want to drop by their site MariCar to learn more about that (link here).
Be reminded that you'll need your IDP (International Driving Permit) in order to join in for the fun! You'll be leaded by an instructor that will bring you around the route.
There's several route available to different timing. For me, I've chose the H-S Route which lasts around an hour. In this route, you will visit several places like Harajuku, Shibuya Crossing, Omotesando before returning to the shop.
Upon passing by Shibuya crossing, you will probably feel like Johnny Depp with every pair of camera and eyes shining on you.
Part 2 can be found here - Tokyo, Japan (Autumn 2017) - Part 2
Read: Tokyo at night, where to go? What to do?