Sunny, very hot, very humid, 85-95F (I thought I was melting)
No visa required
Currency: Japanese Yen
I flew from Seoul to Tokyo which was a short flight. I purchased a PASMO pass at the airport that covers all forms of transportation. It can also be used in cabs and to purchase food in the metro terminals. Getting around was a little more tricky since things are not as translated and not as many people speak English as they did in Seoul. I ended up getting on the wrong metro to get to my AIRBNB, but luckily I met a nice lady who had studied in the US and spoke English very well. She helped me find my way.
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After settling in we went to the Tokyo Skytree while the sun was just setting. Unfortunately, it was too cloudy to see Mt. Fuji, but we were able to see the city light up. For dinner we went to a random place that only served Pork tits and intestines so we apologetically ran out and found another place in a back ally where no one spoke English and the menu was in Japanese. We sat on the floor and used our chopsticks even after the server brought us forks that we didnt ask for lol. After using a translator app we ended up with miso soup, rice, and fried chicken.
Imperial Palace and Meiji Shrine—This day we ended up on the opposite side from the entrance to the imperial palace due to my great navigation skills. We took a guided tour that ended up being only in Japanese so I guess I’ll just have to Google the history later lol. It was a big tour group so there were a few guides that were herding us around. I was yelled at once by a little Japanese lady guide holding a umbrella and then she walked closely behind me for a small portion of the tour… I guess to make sure I didn’t try anything funny.
I was lucky enough to meet up with an old friend from high school who was an exchange student from Japan. It had been 15 years since we had seen each other. She drove us to Kamakura, Japan. It was more of an old Japan feel as there were many people dressed in traditional outfits. There are a lot of cute shops to check out. We made it to the Tsurugaoka Hachimangū shrine/temple and made a wish in the well. Tyler’s wish was a success as the winds picked up and cooled us down for a little bit… I guess the wishes only last an hour.
This morning Tyler and I woke up and put on our Jinbei’s that we bought on sale and headed out for adventures in Asakusa and Ueno. Our Airbnb host did not seem impressed with our traditional Japanese outfit and we found out at the end of the day from her daughter that they are usually worn to summer festivals, but asually as pajamas. This would explain the many stares… however, no on asked for our picture like we were hoping. We made our way to Senso-ji Temple and purposefully got lost in the area until we found a place to eat. I think our traditional wear worked in making us look like we fit in because it was the first restaurant that didn’t bring us forks. We also found an owl cafe where you could pet and hold owls. It was really cool, but made me feel like there could be a finding Nemo movie for owls. In Ueno we walked the streets… with more stares… and went to more shrines and an art museum. With all this walking we found a massage spa where we soaked our feet and I opted for a foot massage where Tyler had his back walked on for 30 minutes. It was wonderful.
Today the trek from Roppongi to Shibuya to Harajuku was made. We crossed the Scramble Crossing in Shibuya! We ate crepes in Harajuku that were stuffed with a scoop of ice cream and shaved ice in Shibuya!
On our last day we went to Disney Sea. You can purchase tickets from 7/11 for a half day which is about $30. There is a shuttle that takes you there from the Tokyo tower, but typically we missed it. We ended up taking the metro during rush hour which was an experience. The metro gets so crowded people are literally squished together. Once we got there, the lines were so long we only made it on the tower of terror before the park closed. The Asian tourists get really into dressing up and I couldn’t tell who worked there and who was a tourist.
Some more foods to try would definitely be ramen and sushi belt. Japan is known for it’s love of Pokémon and stores can be found all over the city.
At one point, Tyler and I were lost. Well I take that back; we were lost a lot, but this one time a nice elderly man standing outside of his establishment told us to wait because he had a gift for us as we walked by. He came out with these nice fans and we thanked him because it was so hot. Both fans had a picture of this Geisha and on the back the establishment’s name in Japanese. we used them nonstop during our last 2 days in Tokyo. Before we left for the airport our AIRBNB host asked us if we knew who the Geisha was. We just thought it was a random picture. NO! This was a picture of a famous prostitute and apparently we walked past a “happy ending” establishment. I guess people weren’t staring at our Jinbeis, but our prostitute fans. This picture was taken before we knew the facts.
Here is a whole separate topic. Public bathrooms… my suggestion for ladies is to carry tissues to wipe with and had sanitizer. The public bathrooms were either these squaters or nice toilets with a bidet (which I enjoyed lol). I always waited until I found a nice toilet or usually some places had a handicap toilet, which was just a regular toilet. The city was very clean, we rarely saw homeless people, the cars were clean, streets were nicely paved, and there weren’t any trash cans since people are expected to take their trash home.