Tokyo is one of the most interesting cities I have visited. I loved it. During my last trip our base was a hostel in Asakusa, the ancient heart of Tokyo, and it was the perfect place to explore the city from; the subway was in walking distance, and it has a direct line to Haneda International Airport without having to transit. All in all it was very convenient.
The city of Tokyo is absolutely huge. There is a lot to see and discover in ths metropolis and in the nearby towns. From the historical parts to the modern areas, there is something for everyone. The old-timey district of Asakusa, for example, is home to the old and mystical Sensoji Temple. You can also wander the beautiful park grounds surrounding the Meiji Shrine or visit the hip and trendy Harajuku district. Ginza and Akihabara offer plenty of shopping options and good food is found pretty much anywhere.
The quaint little towns surrounding Tokyo are also quite interesting. For example in Mitaka you can visit the awesome Studio Ghibli Museum and wander around this magical building for hours. Nikko and Kamakura provide a more cultural getaway from the hectic city.
I wish I had more time to visit the many interesting museums that are available in Tokyo, but alas we just did not have the time. There is only so much you can do in a few days. But it’s also the perfect reason to return there someday.
Japanese bullet trains are called Shinkansen and they are among the fastest trains in the world, reaching speeds of over 300 km per hour. These more »
During one of our days in Tokyo, the last few hours of the afternoon were spent in the gardens and parks surrounding the Tokyo Imperial Palace, which was a ten minute walk from the Tokyo train station. High walls and deep moats surrounded this important building that is located in the center of the city. more »
Before I went to Japan, one of the places I was most looking forward to was the area in Tokyo known as Akiba or Akihabara. This place is known for its tech and anime, video-games, and manga culture. Unfortunately, Akihabara turned out to be one of the less interesting places we visited during our trip. more »
This gorgeous sunny day turned out to become a park-hopping day with Ueno Park first on our agenda. This huge public park is located right next to the Ueno Station. Ueno Park in Tokyo is well-known for accommodating several important museums, such as the National Museum for Western Art, the National Science Museum, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, and the Tokyo National Museum. And besides the museums, the Ueno Zoo can also be found there. more »
After we were finished looking around Mitaka and exploring the Ghibli Museum, it was time to head back to Tokyo. We hopped on a bus and then a train and found our way back to Shinjuku. From there, we transited to Harajuku station. From that station, it was only a minute or two walking to the large Meiji Shrine garden complex. more »
After a good hot cup of coffee to wake up, and receiving directions to Mitaka from the staff at Khaosan Tokyo Kabuki, we set out to go to the Ghibli Museum. Now, the Ghibli Museum is unlike many other museums. Tickets for this museum must be bought in advance. This is very important: you cannot buy tickets at the museum entrance, you have to buy them in a Lawson convenience store in Japan. I just repeated that, because I did see people there trying to buy tickets from the museum staff. Luckily, these days it is also possible to buy the tickets online in advance in select countries. However, in our case, I happened to have a friend who had traveled to Japan a few weeks earlier and bought the tickets for me. This was such a nice thing to do and we are super thankful! more »
Pretty much all of the interesting sightseeing spots in Asakusa are reachable by walking. Due to the close proximity of all the cool bits, this really was the perfect area for that. And of all the sites, the Sensoji Temple and its surrounding areas are some of the most fascinating to explore. Sensoji Temple is one of the oldest, biggest, and most popular temples in Tokyo. It was built centuries ago and it was damaged during the Second World War, but most of the buildings have been reconstructed afterwards. more »
We arrived at our hostel, Khaosan Tokyo Kabuki, quite early and since we could only check-in at two o’clock in the afternoon, we decided to explore Asakusa. First, we made our way to Sumida Park. This park stretches out for a few hundred meters on both sides of the Sumida River. We only walked along one side of the river, but it was interesting enough. The weather was absolutely beautiful, clear blue skies with not a puff of a cloud visible, and we were also still lucky enough to catch some of the last remaining cherry blossoms! What good fortune! At last we finally get to see some of them and they were spectacular. They looked quite bright pink and lovely and smelled so sweet that we picked up their scent from meters away. more »
We stayed in a hostel that was located near the old Kaminarimon gate in Asakusa. The hostel is situated very close to the hustle and bustle of the neighbourhood, yet just far enough to avoid the busy tourist crowds that fill up the famous Nakamise shopping street with its countless souvenir shops selling everything from pastries, candies, sweets, and collectables. more »
Following our night crashing at the airport we woke up early and were ready to start the day before sunrise in the morning. After enjoying a cup of coffee we bought the tickets for our Nozomi Shinkansen train ride that would happen later on that week and we hopped on a train to our hostel in Asakusa, an old part of Tokyo that is easily reached from Haneda Airport as there is a direct train line going there. You don’t even need to transit. So, all in all, very convenient and easy. more »
This is the first part in a series of travel posts about Japan. I will definitely try to give as many tips and information as possible for future travellers and I will add plenty of photos to complement the text and make it more interesting. Please feel free to let me know any areas in which I can improve my writing and posts! more »