Terrefic first day in Tokyo! Up bright and early after a good nights sleep at the Hotel in Asakusa and off to the Senso-ji Temple just down the road to beat the Golden Week crowds. Still a few people around but its an amazing green oasis of peace amidst the hussle and bustle of Tokyo. Beautiful architecture and nature and lots of temples and shrines.... here be Dragons! :-)
Back to the hotel briefly to organise the on-shipping of my baggage. Its a great service and means I dont have to drag my suitcase around when I travel from place to place in Japan. It's very reasonably priced too.
Then off to Akihabara to get measured up for a formal suit for my sons wedding in Scotland. Hey, the father of the groom has to look good :-) and a look around the bustling city streets famous for thier electronics and anime stores and Maid Cafes. Its dangerous letting me loose in a seven level electronics megastore, lol.
So after all that excitement its off to Shinjuku Gyoen, beautiful and vey large gardens with lakes and forests and traditional Japanese gardens in the heart of the city. Another peaceful if very crowded place. Its Golden Week here in Japan which is one of the biggest holidays of the year so I'm going to need to get used to the crowds over the next few days. Certainly more people here than there are in NZ; in fact theres more than 3 times as many people in Tokyo alone than in the whole of New Zealand.
Traveled the trains and the subway all day. the Japan Rail 'JR Pass' is a wonderful thing. You can travel on all trains, including the Shikansen, across Japan for the price of the pass, which is generally cheaper than just one return between Tokyo and Kyoto on the Shinkansen 'Bullet' Train. Once you get your pass you can make reservations and get seats on the trains of your choice. It makes travelling around Tokyo and Japan just so easy. The public transport here is just amazing!
For a city of 14 Million Tokyo is incredibly clean, green, efficent and safe. In fact that observation applies across the whole country. If anything Japan reminds me of Switzerland. It never really feels crowded either and even though there are 120 million people here they all live crammed together on 20% of the land, leaving 80% of the country as stunning mountains, forests and wild nature.
Lots more to explore; off to Kyoto tomorrow on the Shinkansen...Read more