Despite having lived in Japan for around two years throughout my entire life, not once had I visited Tokyo. This, however, changed on June 20th 2015. I was a little worried after my operation that I wouldn’t be allowed to fly, but true to my doctors words, by the time the 20th rolled around I was perfectly fine to go to Tokyo, if a little tired. As soon as me an Chad sat down on the plane, my excitement hit the roof. However, another emotion lurked behind my excitement; nervousness. Yes girls and boys, I was out of my mind nervous, for not only was this trip a chance for me to explore Japans explosive capital, but it would also serve as the first place I would meet Chads parents.
Thanks to the dodgy map on our phones, it took us forever to find our destination, Hotel Gracery, a bad ass hotel with a huge ass Godzilla on it (I will leave a link to their website at the bottom of the page). We ended up walking all around the area, and by the time we found the hotel, nestled amongst the bright neon lights and enticing sings of Shinjuku, we were drained.
With little too no daylight left we decided to shower and go to an izakaya called Za-Watami for supper. You would not belive how long it took us to find a veggie friendly izakaya. We didn’t stay long though, what with me getting sick and the incredibly grumpy waiter. I know mate, your job probably sucks, but I just wanna eat my food without being sassed.
But hey! the view from our hotel window was more than enough to cheer us up.
With Chads parents flying in the next day we took this opportunity to explore the city. Our first point of call was breakfast, my favourite meal of the day. Not wanting to spend hours looking for somewhere, we made a beeline for Shinjuku station and took the lift to the top floors. It didn’t take long for us to discover what soon became our favourite cafe in Tokyo. Centred around the North American ‘Biscuit’ – not to be confused with the delicious biscuits you dip in your tea- the food was rich and filling, while the decor of the place just made you want to put on some chill tunes, curl up on one of the many comfortable chairs and just chill for hours. Alas, with time ticking on and my money telepathically screaming at me to throw it at the nearest cashier, we decided to get going.
*I noticed the bacon as soon as I took this picture and promptly removed it. *
Jumping on the Yamanote line at Shinjuku station, we quickly found ourselves at the heart of all things quirky and fashionable; Harajuku. The moment I stepped off the crammed train I was in love. With Meiji Shrine shrouded in forestry behind me, and the hustle and bustle of Takeshita-dori before me, I felt intoxicated with excitement. Luckily for us, the street was not as busy as it is known to be, allowing us so leisurely weave between the diverse people and dip and out of the eclectic shops. With more Cafe’s than you could shake a stick at, I was wide eyed and lost in wonder the entire time. The air was filled with a nectareous aroma that drifted from the various sweet shops lining Takeshita-dori, catering to the large numbers of cutely dressed teenage girls. Turning into back streets we made our way to my main goal. H§M and Forever 21. Despite Nagasaki being a picturesque port town, it does have the disadvantage of having no big brand shops, so I was more than a little excited. After what seemed like minutes but was more along the lines of hours, we excited the shops, bags in hand, a thirst scratching at the back of our throats.
“I have somewhere cool to show you” Chad grinned, as he took some of my bags. He led me across the street to a building that glistened like a diamond, its mirror panelled walls refracting the sun in every which way. We rode to one of the higher floors only to end up at a rooftop Starbucks. Now it was official, I was head over heels in love. With the option of sitting in the beer garden area or inside, the cafe catered to every season. I could just see myself coming there in the winter, wrapped up in a nice warm scarf, writing before the large window that separated me from the outside world. *sigh*
With daylight fading fast, it was time to head to the main event; Sunset at Tokyo Skytree. We caught the train from Meijijingu-Mae Station, a few minutes walk from Harajuku station, and rode the Chiyoda Line where we changed at Omote-sando station, riding the Hanzomon line to Oshiage.
With a heat that resembled the pits of hell consuming us, we were in no mind to dilly dally, so, after a quick detour in the studio Ghibli store, we made our way into the impossibly large sky scraper. Honestly, looking up made me dizzy. Once again luck was on our side, and where there should have been queues hours long, we were in the lift within twenty minutes.
We took the elevator to the Tembo floor, a crazy 350m into the sky. The view was breathtaking, and as if our day couldn’t get any luckier, Mt.Fuji was visible. Breaking between the thin clouds that settled just out of reach of Yamanashi, Mt.Fuji pierces the sky like a beacon of light on the darkest days. Chad had told me that the last time he came he hadn’t been able to see it, and thus dubbed me the ‘Mt.Fuji good luck charm’. Wanting a better look, we got into the nauseating elevator once more and climbed even higher to the Tembo Galleria, an astonishing 450m from the ground. The view was so beautiful, however, I didn’t even think about the height. I had honestly never seen anything so breathtaking, and I was reminded once again how lucky I was to be living the life I have. The heart of Japan stood tall and proud, the ancient sentinel watching over the increasingly modern Japan. I would be lying to you all if I told you I stayed dry eyed the entire time. The dichotomy of the two things was almost overwhelming.
The breathtaking Mt.Fuji in a summer twilight
The evening ended with a delicious Indian and a relaxing bath back at hour hotel. After Chads parents arrived, we took fewer pictures and focused more on spending time with them. The next few days were spent at Disney, before hitting up some shops on our last day. Just to let you guys know, Lush in Harajuku is great! At the time, they had had a delicious smelling rose face mask which I later learned was limited to the Harajuku shop. It smells divine! Sadly, we didn’t have a lot of time to go to Meiji-shrine, and not long after entering the serene pathway that lead to the great shrine, we were told it was closing and decided to head back.
Tokyo was such an amazing experience for more than one reason, and I cannot wait to go back. Next time I’m eager to set off on the beaten track, travel less like a tourist, and hopefully with a better camera. If any of you guys have any suggestions, let me know.
I hope you are all having a wonderful day.
Guide to Tokyo Skytree (English): http://www.tokyo-skytree.jp/en/
Hotel Gracery: http://shinjuku.gracery.com/