Savoring Tokyo’s Glamorous Yet Traditional City

A striking city, Tokyo is truly a home of high-class fashion, remarkable architecture, great entertainment, traditional culture, luscious restaurants and many more. Walking around Harajuku, Shibuya and Akihabara is definitely a lavish treat while visiting Zojoji Temple and Tokyo Tower is certainly a lovely sightseeing. 

Night Bus to Tokyo

From Umeda in Osaka, we took a night bus going to Tokyo at Willer Express Bus. They have a waiting area at the first floor in Umeda Sky Building where the bus terminal is nearly located. It is recommended to be at the terminal ahead of time.

Willer Express’ offers a very comfy waiting area where they provide charging areas and free use of internet. At the bus, they provide blankets and each passenger’s seat has a charging outlet.

Harajuku

Arriving at Tokyo, we first visited Harajuku, particularly its Takeshita St., one of Tokyo’s favorite fashion towns. They say Takeshita St. is especially popular to Japanese teens. This alley is composed of a variety of clothing shops and restaurants. You can find a lot of affordable items at the shops here compared to the other shopping districts in Japan.

After some shopping, we had an Italian lunch at Saizeriya where you can choose to have unlimited drinks (choice of coffee, hot chocolate and juices). Food is good at a reasonable price.

Shibuya

– Shibuya Crossing

A short walk from Harajuku is Shibuya. Just near Shibuya train station is the famous Shibuya intersection. They say your Tokyo visit will be incomplete if you haven’t cross the said intersection. All traffic lights turn red at the same time in every direction. We were really amused while the street got filled with seemingly countless people crossing the busy junction as the magic lights went red. Some say this Shibuya intersection holds a record for the place with the most number of people crossing the streets at the same time.

– Shibuya 109

After experiencing a not-so-usual street crossing, we entered the nearby Shibuya 109, another fashion haven in Tokyo comprising of a lot of different boutiques.  Unlike with the many shops in Harujuku’s Takeshita, items sold here are quite pricey.

– Hachiko Statue

As we continue to walk around, we saw Hachiko statue that has become a popular tourist attraction in Tokyo. It’s a stone statue of a dog. True story says Hachiko would arrive at Shibuya station to wait for his master. Unfortunately, his master died one day. Despite of him not arriving anymore at the station, Hachiko continued to wait for him for years.

Zojoji Temple

After seeing Tokyo fashion, we next visited Zojoji Temple, a Buddhist temple in Shiba. We are actually on our way to Tokyo Tower when we found Zojoji Temple.

The entrance of the temple is the Sangedatsu Gate. Both the gate and the temple itself are considered national treasures.

We roam around the temple grounds but we did not enter the temple anymore. It has a small cemetery that holds several graves of Japan’s shoguns from the Edo period.

There is also a place dedicated for some Jizo statues which are stone statues representing unborn children.

From the temple, you can already get a glimpse of Tokyo Tower.

Tokyo Tower

Walking passed Zojoji Temple, we finally reached Tokyo Tower. It is a TV transmission tower that looks like the Eiffel Tower. Visitors can opt to go to the main observatory at 150 meters high and to the special observatory at 250 meters high.

We chose to climb the main observatory only where a Shinto Shrine and a small souvenir shop can be found.

At the viewing deck, we were greeted by a panoramic sight of Tokyo’s skyscrapers.

At one side of the main observatory, you will find this view of numerous buildings and roads that looks like a reflection of the Tokyo Tower.

You will also notice this “glass window” at one spot on the floor where you could look down the tower.

Entrance fee to the main observatory is around JPY 800 whereas the combined main and special observatory costs around JPY 1400.

Akihabara

The last stop for our tour is Akihabara, well known for being Tokyo’s electric town. From small shops to the huge ones, Akihabara definitely has every electronic stuff you need, more than you can ever think of.

Akihabara is also being tagged as an anime culture hub. Many establishments are actually designed with anime themes. Maid Café’s (cosplay inspired restaurants) are also popular here, where guests are served by waitresses dressed up like maids. Aside from serving food, the maids engage in conservation with their guests.

December 30, 2013

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