Japan
Tokyo

Here you’ll find travel reports about Tokyo. Discover travel destinations in Japan of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

257 travelers at this place:

  • Day6

    Tokyo Tales

    July 4, 2017 in Japan

    Back on the Bullet Train from Kyoto to the nation’s capital, Tokyo. From the train I caught a glimpse of Mount Fuji shrouded in mist. There was no snow or cherry blossom - it could easily have been Ben Lomond.

    Well, if I thought the other Japanese cities were busy, Tokyo is in a league if its own. What a huge city, teeming with people everywhere. A city of contrasts too, with noise, neon lights, huge concrete and steel buildings, as well as quieter areas with old wooden houses, temples and shrines. A myriad of train lines and subways - and yet everything seems to run on time. People seem smartly dressed, politely waiting in line even during rush hour.

    In my two and a half days here I have seen only a fraction of what is on offer. My hotel is located in the popular Asakusa area, and is adjacent to the magnificent Senso-ji temple which is thronged with people day and night. I visited Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest tower - the only structure to beat it is Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. It was an exhilarating ride to the top and great views, although a bit overcast. I had a pleasant morning sail down the river to the traditional garden of Hama Rikyu Onshi Teien. I enjoyed more green tea in a lovely tea house in the centre of the small lake. (Their green tea is an acquired taste, Anne - thick and foamy like pea soup).

    I had an interesting free tour of the gargantuan Gotham City style Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building including its impressive Assembly Hall. I had Veritable Vera the Volunteer showing me round (on my own), and she kept laughing and saying how she wanted to see me in a skirt (I assume she meant kilt).

    Most of the rest of the time was spent wandering around Shinjunku - the modern heart of Tokyo. You can find anything you need here (and plenty you don't). There are some crazy things. They have what's known as Maid Cafes where girls in costumes serve food and drink in a cute manner with their voices screeching in high pitched tones. A girl in a candy striped short maid’s outfit and feather duster tried to tempt me in, but I just told her, ‘sorry, hen, but I've already got a cleaner’. There are Butler Cafes too, where buff guys try to tempt the ladies in. (Now, I don't have a butler!). There are even Cat Cafes, offering the chance to spend quality time with up to 50 pussies without the commitment of ownership. The nation is devoted to cartoons, which are prevalent everywhere, and there are even museums dedicated to the culture of Anime and Manga.

    There is a whole range of accommodation available from luxury hotels to capsule hostels. They also have what are known as Love Hotels. Instead of having to spend the whole night, you can rent a room for a ‘Rest Period’. Like Elsie in the song ‘Cabaret’ they rented by the hour. Due to the humidity I was fair wabbit, and felt like going in for a wee lie doon masel!

    There are literally thousands of restaurants and you really are spoiled for choice.

    Well, packing tonight for the long journey home tomorrow (although not as long as the journey to get here). Still pleased that I managed to travel overland (and sea) from Scotland to Japan by public transport - and no flights. I have been on a variety of other transport however - local train, Eurostar, Trans Siberian, tram, bus, subway, marshrutka, ferry, trolley bus and the Bullet Train, as well as Shanks’s pony! It's been the experience of a lifetime, and an adventure I will always treasure. Thanks for following my rambles - it's been great fun!
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  • Day29

    TOKYO - Part 1/2

    October 8 in Japan

    Bon, les Penguins ont pris un peu de retard mais nous revoilà ! 
    Alors, que s'est-il passé depuis notre départ d'Iran?  Tout d'abord un voyage de 35 heures dont 13 heures d'escale à Moscou (moins désagréable que prévu puisque Arthur nous a entourloupé l'hôtesse du salon MasterCard, nous avons donc passé quelques heures agréables à grignoter, boire et dormir confortablement dans le salon). Mais malgré tout, avec nos deux mini nuits consécutives dans un avion, nous arrivons samedi sacrément explosés à Tokyo. 
    Nous logeons chez des Tokyoïtes adorables, trouvées sur Homestay. Une maman et ses 2 filles de 27 et 24 ans. C'est principalement la fille aînée et la maman qui s'occupent de nous, puisque la jeune a une peur panique de nous .... 
    Elles sont absolument adorables, et nous communiquons comme possible en jonglant entre un anglais très approximatif et un français encore plus approximatif que la mère a appris à Paris il y a quelques années. 
    Nous avons une petite chambre traditionnelle en tatami avec des futons au sol. Nous sommes immédiatement plongés dans l'univers japonais ! 

    JOUR 1
    Pour lutter contre le décalage horaire et la fatigue, nous décidons d'aller en fin de journée nous plonger dans le cœur du bouillon et d'aller à Shibuya, l'un des quartiers les plus vibrants de Tokyo avec son célèbre carrefour piéton. Il s'agit du plus gros carrefour au monde. 
    Petit point démographique : l'agglomération de Tokyo est la plus grande du monde avec près de 40 millions d'habitants, et c'est sans doute à ce carrefour que l'on prend la mesure. Il se remplit et se désemplit à une vitesse hallucinante.
    C'est vraiment impressionnant à regarder ! (Voir vidéo)
    Nous nous baladons dans l'effervescence de ce quartier centrale un petit moment, mangeons quelques sushis et rentrons vite écraser pour récupérer. 

    JOUR 2
    Réveil très matinal dimanche car notre hôte nous emmène au Onsen. Sacrée expérience pour commencer ! 
    Les Onsen sont les bains japonais, avec de sources d'eau naturellement chaude naturelles. Nous avons de la chance car très peu de bains dans Tokyo sont naturels mais celui à 5 min de chez nous l'était. 
    Alors déjà c'est tout le monde tout nu ... Très très bizarre au début, puis étrangement on s'y fait. Du coup c'est les filles d'un côté et les garçons de l'autre, ce qui a valu à Arthur des petites surprises qui a du faire ce parcours tout seul (moi j'étais avec Sanae, notre hôte). Il a notamment commencé par le bain gelé, qui est là normalement pour se rafraîchir après de longues minutes à 40°c.... Certainement moins agréable. On y reste une heure, en passant d'un bain à l'autre, du hammam au sauna... Nous sortons très propres, très relaxés, mais un peu lessivé. 

    Plus tard nous retrouvons Camille, mon cousin, pour la journée. Camille vit à Tokyo depuis une dizaine d’années et est marié à une japonaise. C'est donc un guide hors-pair ! Nous nous sommes baladés dans des parcs, des temples, des musées, des quartiers et notamment celui de Harajuku, où l'on passe d'une rue commerçante absolument bondée, avec des magasins farfelus, à de toutes petites rues piétonnes très calme. 
    Nous sommes d'une manière générale impressionnés par cette dualité à Tokyo, que l'on connaissait un peu à Bangkok, mais ici c'est encore plus impressionnant. 
    En fin de journée, nous allons prendre un verre et dîner dans un super resto barbecue dans le quartier jeune / arty de Shimo-Kitazawa. 
    Dîner excellent, véritable découverte culinaire. Super journée initiatique.

    JOUR 3
    Lundi nous partons à la découverte du Tokyo plus traditionnel. Nous découvrons les cimetières qui sont treees jouuulis, avec de belles pallettes en bois sur chaque tombe, l'ensemble est assez poétique.  Nous marchons dans le grand et beau parc d'Ueno, Il y a des temples partout, on en aura surement marre au bout d'un moment mais pour l'instant nous rentrons un peu partout. Pour finir nous arrivons sur le fameux temple d'Asakusa à la tombée de la nuit, « la lumière est enfin belle » dit Arthur. Il y a beaucouuup de monde sur les sites en revanche, c'est plus comme en Iran. 

    Nous finissons par le quartier Hakihabara, temple des geeks. Des jeux d'arcade, des figurines et mangas en tout genre. Nous avons joués à une sorte de Street Fighter, les premiers combats étaient faciles (voir vidéo) puis la machine a décidé de nous laminer la gueule. Enfin, nous retrouvons Marwan, un ami du lycée, qui vit ici depuis 4 ans. Il nous impressionne par sa maîtrise parfaite de la langue et sa connaissance de la culture japonaise. Nous passons une super soirée. 

    >>>>
    Nos premières impressions : 
    -Tokyo est ville gigantesque, qui ne s'arrête jamais, mais étrangement ne semble pas stressante. L'organisation des transports, le calme et la discipline des japonais participe à créer une ambiance générale très zen.
    -Les japonais sont assez beaux, c'est clairement les beaux gosses de l'Asie, ils sont globalement très stylés, parfois excentriques mais ça leur va toujours bien. 
    -Il y a très peu de voitures dans Tokyo, ça aide beaucoup au calme ambiant. C'est notamment dû au fait que les transports en commun sont très bien fait et que pour avoir une voiture il faut pouvoir prouver qu'on est détenteur d'une place de parking et comme la ville est très dense et sans beaucoup d'espace, il y a peu de parking. Pas de parking, pas de voiture...pas de voiture, pas de voiture...
    -Le civisme et les traditions sont bien présentes, ce n'est pas un mythe. Tout est propre, nickel, les gens font la queue en ligne, sont très calmes, dans le métro, il n'y a aucun bruit. On a même eu un soucis de métro qui était en panne, les gens qui devaient vraiment être en galère pour rentrer chez eux n'ont rien dit et sont tranquillement sorti et ont fini à pieds.. scène clairement inimaginable à Paris !
    -La bouffe est top et surtout variée, après les 5 plats Iraniens, on est contents d'avoir du choix!!
    -On est obligés de parler des toilettes japonaises à la pointe de la technologie, aussi compliquées que confortables, il semblerait que les essayer c’est les adopter. Arthur qui adore les gadgets trouve ça formidable et a décidé qu’on en installerait chez nous... No comment !

    On vous embrasse fort !!

    --------
    Notre quartier :
    Setagaya (top et a 15 minutes de Shinjuku)

    Nos visites : 
    - Quartier Shibuya +++
    - Quartier Yanaka +++
    - Temple Meiji-Junku ++
    - Quartier Harajuku ++
    - Parc Ueno ++
    - Quartier Asakusa ++
    - Quartier Omotesando +
    - Musee Nezu et son jardin +
    - Musée Ota +
    - Quartier Akihabara +
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  • Day44

    Tokyo arrival

    April 27, 2017 in Japan

    Made it. If I have one useful piece of information about the Tokyo subway to pass on it's this. It's not like London where trains are tied to lines, so unless you actively change train you will stay on, say, the Northern line. Nope. That confused me and I haven't seen it written anywhere. Luckily a station guard (literally) pushed me onto a train and it went where I needed, through a number of Keikyu Main Line stations to Asakusa Line stations.

    Then it's a short and very pleasant walk from Asukasa station to my hostel. It hadn't looked much on the Google live view thing, but the area has a really nice feel. I'm gonna be ok here 😥

    Just by way of contrast with last week's thunderbox, I now have a heated toilet seat! Which reminds me of the toilets at Hanida airport. They play the sound of running water; to encourage or to mask I know not!

    I'm not exaggerating when I say there must be 300 small restaurants and cafes within 5 minutes walk of where I'm staying. All rather bewildering, but I've found a shop that sells milk and got a hot pork dumpling at the same time, so immediate problems solved!
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  • Day45

    Tsukiji Market and Skytree

    April 28, 2017 in Japan

    I had a packed day yesterday. My hostel put on a free walking trip to Tsukiji (fish) Market and surrounding outer markets and local shines and temples in the morning, which was really interesting.
    I found my own way back and stumbled across a little square with a statue to Chirori who became the first certified therapy dog in Japan, and a reflexology installation (pic!).

    In the afternoon I wandered over to Skytree. You get a ticket to the lower viewing deck at 350m, then another to go to 445m if you wish, and from there there's a curved ramp that takes you up to 451.2m. It was only when I got to 445m that I realised there was some sort of anime story going on about a Skytree attack. I'd missed getting stamps at lower levels so couldn't see the film (as far as I could tell!) but the AV displays were fun anyway.

    I noticed I felt just a little queasy much of the time. My couldn't see any movement but my ears must have been able to sense a very slight sway.

    Then the loveliest thing happened. I'd noticed a girl (maybe 14?) casting sideways glances at me. As I sat waiting for sunset she was sitting near me with a man ( her dad?). Suddenly she leaned over and offered me a little bag of fishy snacks - a child's squid snack according to reception at my hostel. Then another, then some crackers and finally some sort of mild sherberty sweets. We couldn't understand a word each other was saying, but it didn't matter. When they left she wished me a hearty goodbye then ran back a couple of minutes later to pat me on the shoulder and hold my hand. Very sweet. I guess she was intrigued by my appearance ( I mean facial features and hair rather than my bedraggled backpacker look!) and encouraged because I was friendly.
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  • Day51

    Greenery Day

    May 4, 2017 in Japan

    I just about managed a quieter day today; not racing around Tokyo like I'm on a mission, but ambling around my local area discovering little things. That felt better, though following every thought that 'that looks interesting over there' or 'while I'm here I could just ...' does end up tiring too!

    Anyhoo I had a great start as the only person at the Taiko Drum Museum. They have a really interesting collection of drums and other percussion from all over the world, and most you can play. Super cool fun.

    Yesterday I got a tip-off about a local supermarket with a much better range, so I grabbed some bits for a picnic lunch and headed towards Sakurabashi (great x-shaped bridge over the Sumida River) and the parks on both banks. Really that sums it up, but I found some interesting bits and pieces along the way.

    And I had my first drink of coffee in over 20 years (eugh!) all down to walking past a Buddhist temple and ending up in conversation (being a BH they were out on the street greeting people). One lady nipped to buy me a coffee, which was very kind of her, but utterly undrinkable for me, so we watered a bit down - happy all round!
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  • Day52

    Samurai & Ninja Safari

    May 5, 2017 in Japan

    Yes, really!

    I was offered a free trip this morning by 2 guys drumming up custom for their ... erm... theatrical sightseeing trip around Asakusa. It started off in a normal way, picking out the local sights...then it all went panto!

    There's a wicked ninja warrior creeping round the streets, a brave but slightly dim Samurai, a moon-walking Geisha and other incidental characters played by innocent bystanders. All wrapped up with plenty of slapstick on and off the bus. A complete hoot, and free because they had TV cameras on board and wanted a larger crowd. As it was there were only 7. Brilliant fun 😂Read more

  • Day57

    Leaving Tokyo

    May 10, 2017 in Japan

    Last hours in Tokyo and the inevitable has happened. My budget has been blown and I've ended up in McDonald's - albeit having a teriyaki burger 😉

    I had a few hours spare this morning so took a final wander around the area, down some untrodden (by me) streets. One street caters for all things culinary, including at least one shop that sells, and run classes in making), fake food (big business since displays are outside every eatery). Well that was so intriguing and the shop so alluring I went in. Big mistake. I've been seduced by a segment of satsuma. Life really is full of surprises.Read more

  • Day50

    Moomin House Cafe

    May 3, 2017 in Japan

    Laughed at myself being drawn to a beautiful sushi display advertising a local restaurant as I was on my way to find hattifattener doughnuts at the Skytree Mall Moomin House Cafe!

    After a false start when I tried to get out of the station using my hostel pass I did the very Japanese thing of queueing to get into a popular restaurant/cafe. For 80 minutes!

    Well I got to sit with Sniff and then Moominpapa and had the Groke on my plate and a Moomin waffle, so all ended up well 😉

    Themed cafes are a big thing here. There's an owl and parrot cafe across the road from my hostel. Not so keen on that. No Moomins were hurt in the making of refreshments.

    This afternoon I went to Roppongi Hills which is a giant fancy mall with housing (I'm sure the architects would hate that description). Really the last place on earth I'd normally go to, but there's the Tokyo City View on 54th floor, and also a roof view which is about 4 floors up. Both fabulous. Actually better than Skytree. Plus a Marvel exhibition (so many people!!!), with film costumes. Plus the Mori Art Gallery. Tomorrow I'll have a day off.
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  • Day56

    Today's my last full day in Tokyo. I wanted to do something relaxing and found I could take a 35 min river boat cruise from Asukasa (my part of town) to Hama-rikyu Gardens, which date back to 1654. As the leaflet says 'Hama Palace where sea breeze blows as a reminder of the Edo era'. Shape-wise the garden is a moated square, with 3 ponds. One is tidal, controlled with sluices, and the other 2 were kamoba - duck-hunting grounds.

    The trip down this stretch of the river isn't the prettiest (I was looking at the west bank): lots of concrete homes and offices along raised banks with flood gates wherever a tributary joins the Sumida.

    As the boat slowed I could see the tops of the trees in Hama-rikyu showing and thought we were going to pull up, but instead the boat manoeuvred through a flood barrier into the 'moat' (as on the map). Honestly I gasped: little hillocks covered in Japanese black pine, curving paths. Such a surprise!

    I was too late for the cherry blossom, the wisteria and the peonies, but it was still a lovely spot to while away a few hours exploring. There's a tea house which the leaflet said served tea and Japanese sweets. What I didn't realise was that they do it seriously, not with the tea ceremony, but on tatami mats, and with instructions about how to eat the sweet first, and how to drink the matcha tea. An unexpected extra 😊

    Finally the duck ponds. Very clever ... deep, narrow channels run off them, each ending in a hide with peep holes. The ducks were attracted with decoys then caught one way or another. In a very Japanese way, a memorial has been built to honour the ducks that lost their lives.

    So today was not only enjoyable but it reconnected me with how I felt when I first arrived, which I'd lost a little over the last few days - just tired I think. I'm glad.
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  • Day92

    Soso Tokyo!

    August 20, 2017 in Japan

    Just walking around town watching people is super cool! Besides that went to see a ballgame (crazy fans), the Senso-Ji tempel, the Imperial Palace, the crazy 5-way Shibuya crossing and the hippie quarter Shimo-Kitazawa and had awesome food

You might also know this place by the following names:

Tokyo Prefecture, Tokyo, Préfecture de Tokyo, 東京都, 도쿄 도, TKX

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