TOKYO

Five days in the madness that is Tokyo. Contrast was everywhere – old-town temples and quiet laneways in one neighbourhood, noisy and garish shops and restaurants in the next; ten year olds in suit and ties riding the subway alone, adults hanging out in cat cafes or playing mariocar in arcade halls till midnight. Strong and homogenous social norms, extremely individual (and sometimes just bizarre) fashion sense. It was fascinating.

SHIBUYA

We stayed a few blocks up from the famous Shibuya crossing, and even after watching the frenzy multiple times I still can’t figure out how people make it look so effortless – collisions are near to zero.

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HARAJUKU

  • Meiji-jingu – Tokyo’s grandest Shinto shrine
  • Takeshita-dori – a jam-packed street full of kitsch cafes, wacky fashion stores and neon signs that sing at you..
  • Omote-sando reminded me of Champs-Elysees – a boulevard lined with designer shops and amazing buildings
  • Cat street was my favourite, a quieter laneway of smaller (and more affordable!) boutiques

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SHUNJUKU

  • Went up the Government building for a view of the smoggy and sprawling Tokyo city
  • Trekked all the way across town for the famous ramen joint, where they served us sardine noodles – never again.

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TSUKIJI

Got up early to visit Tsukiji’s famous fish market – hard to miss, even the subway station smelt like fish…

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UENO & YANAKA

  • Tokyo National Museum – an amazing collection of Japanese art and historic artefacts
  • Senso-ji temple – a very busy temple surrounded by small market streets, beautiful Japanese gardens and a lot of incense
  • Yanaka old town – a traditional neighbourhood famous for surviving both the Kanto Earthquake and WWII bombings. Lots of traditional shrines and an amazing old cemetery.

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AKIHABARA

Akihabara Electric Town was something else. We went into a 7-storey ‘electronics’ store that sold just about everything – audio/ visual equipment, household appliances, whiteware, sports gear, kids toys, clothing, art supplies, telescopes….

This is also where Jeremy insisted we do a two hour loop of Tokyo in a go-kart dressed as Mariocar characters. This is Japan alright.

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