Solo Trip in Tokyo [Day 2] (Tokyo Station, Ginza, Shibuya, Asakusa)

Monday, 27 February 2017

Got up early and prepared to head out. Checked out of the place, put my backpack on and started out. The weather was really nice, though it was scorching, and was thankful for the occasional breeze. I had carried a huge backpack that was able to house all the camera equipment and other things and that I felt, was a huge mistake since it was hot and having a backpack meant continuous perspiring on the back and on the shoulders. Anyway, the first stop I made was towards Tokyo Station, in search of the famous anime street, where I was to buy some stuff from the Pokemon Store and the Sailormoon Store. 

One of the things that really amazed me was the beautiful architecture Tokyo had, especially in the vicinity of Tokyo Station. Everything looked so modern and a little western? It almost looked like a street taken out of New York. Shopping malls looked like expensive malls that we have in Singapore, and the entire area looked so American. I'll let the photos do the talking.

Pretty huh..

Found a cute shop while walking and decided to grab some lunch since I was hungry. Headed in and ordered in the best Japanese-English accent I could muster and got myself a delicious looking soba noodles set with some fried prawns (ebi tempura). It was delicious, better than most I've had. The funny thing about this place is that it seemed like a location where people came to wolf their lunch down and then head back to work during their lunch hour. The place was squeezy and there were no tables with seats. It was all single tables facing the wall and the turnover rate was pretty high. I felt like I was the only one sitting down to enjoy a meal before heading back out. 

Finally arrived at Tokyo Station after walking and then headed in. The entire place is huge and I had a really hard time looking for anime street. If you're looking for it, the place is called First Avenue Tokyo Station. It's located underground in the basement and there's only a few entrances that seem very hidden. I finally managed to find my way.

The entire place was swarming with people, local and foreign. There's a reason why it's called the anime street. Rows of shops upon shops selling merchandise from the different animes that Japan have. From One Piece to Rilakkuma, there were just so many people. There wasn't just anime street, but also noodle street where, apparently, there were really delicious ramen and udon.. Regretted having lunch right after I saw that. 

Bought what I needed and decided to head over to the Gangnam of Tokyo, Ginza. This is where all the wealthy people go to shop and I really wanted to head down to have a look at the architecture there. Decided to take a walk instead of getting on the train. Besides, I've already perspired so much that it didn't matter whether I perspired more or not. 

Ginza was really pretty and I was happy to be able to be playing Pokemon Go while I toured around the area. It got so hot to the point where I decided to grab some Starbucks while charging my phone. It was nice to sit by the window, people-watch, enjoy my cuppa and catch random pokemon that appeared as I was chilling. Hit the streets again after I cooled down. 

I walked right into this exhibition hall when I was on my way back to Tokyo Station where there was an exhibition of various craftsmen at this craftsman's market. Went through to have a look at the various products that were still being made by hand. Many of them were decorative products or souvenirs that looked really beautiful. 

Headed back to Shibuya Station for another look at the crossing however there were no locations where I could go to a high spot so I ended up going to the next best thing: Starbucks. It was on the third floor and even if it didn't provide a bird's eye view, it still provided a perspective from a higher ground. It was a long wait for a seat by the window but I finally got one and took some photos and time lapses. Didn't turn out that well so I didn't include it in the post. I guess I'll head back again one day to do something special.. 

Headed to the last area of the day through the recommendation of a friend: Asakusa. This place is the Insadong of Korea. This entire area did not look like Tokyo Station nor Ginza. It was very traditional, very temple-ish and they sold a lot of souvenirs and merchandise. There were so many people in Yukatas as well walking around. Apparently, there's a festival in May called the Sanja Matsuri. I really wanted to go for it but it's pretty expensive to go just for a weekend (seeing as it's during my school semester). But anyway, I headed over to take some photographs! 

The entire place was really pretty and there was a very traditional and unique feel to this place. Walked around and watched as people headed into the temple to say their prayers. There were many foreign tourists as well so it wasn't just me. I really enjoy how people would wear Yukatas (and Kimonos in the winter) and walk around, even if it's to busy areas. In Korea, the Hanbok is only worn in places where people want to do photography with the area (Gyeongbokgung, Jeonju etc) but you hardly see the youths wear it on the streets. 

Bought some red bean snacks from this guy and he agreed to a photo. He was really friendly and seemed extremely sincere. Would've loved to buy this for my mum but since I was heading back to Korea and it was only good for a week or so, I wasn't able to send it back to Singapore. (and my mum was in Korea 2 weeks before I came to Japan, too)

Headed back to Ikebukuro since it was getting dark and called it a night. Had dinner with Yu Shan and was going to be following her to her workplace: Odaiba, an artificial island that was made and is a very famous place to Japanese and a great tourist attraction too. It was my final day in Japan and I had to catch my flight in the early afternoon so that was the only place I could go. Stay tuned for the third and final day of my solo trip!

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