Ohaiyo Tokyo

So I promised more regular updates whilst I'm Japan and it has been amazing so far....super fast internet access, temples, traditional Japanese sweets and the super fast paced Akhibara (electric town in Japan). As for the weather I've been told by many of my friends and family how very very cold it would be, but judging by this photo it doesn't look like Winter at all! 

The day started with a 6.15am arrival at Narita airport. Having pre-purchased a 14 Day Ordinary Car JR Pass for ~$550AUD we went to exchange it at the JR rail office but given that we are actually staying in Japan for 16 days they let us choose when to start our pass. The pass is actually very handy. It can only be purchased by overseas travellers as the discounts are massive if you are planning on travelling all around Japan. If you want to check out the value of the pass check out http://www.hyperdia.com/. Also, the pass is not valid for some of the metro lines within Tokyo so we purchased an additional Suica card. The Suica card can be used on trains, in convenience stores and at vending machines! 
*tip - try and choose a hotel near a JR station so you won't have to purchase additional tickets to and from your hotel (and also maximise your value from your JR pass - it is after all a fair bit of money)

Admittedly, we got very lost when attempting to find our hotel.

*tip - don't minimise google maps, as it messes up the words to image ratio, so you think one place is actually another as the label stretches across whole streets. 

Coming to Tokyo we were already prepared for cramped conditions and small rooms. However, although our room is small it is extremely clean and effective for our needs. One of the best websites to check out hotels was www.tripadvisor.com - the reviews and photos are invaluable (will be posting my hotel reviews on trip advisor with links, at the end of my trip). Also out of all the hotel price comparison websites I found that http://www.hotelscombined.com/ was the best one in terms of deals. 

 *tip - some other comparison website show the price of the room WITHOUT tax - so you think the price of the room is cheaper than it probably is. 

The first day we spent near our hotel. Visiting the traditional Asakusa with the Sensoji Temple and the markets surrounding the area.

The market stalls were selling souveniers and traditional foods such as dorayake (think thick pancake filled with redbean) in cute shapes, multi-coloured multi-flavoured ice-cream, handmade rice crackers and much, much more.

Next up was lunch at a small small place underground near the Asakusa station. I think it was called hot pepper? The meals were relatively cheap. 

~ 800 yen
~ 1020 yen

From here we went onwards to Akihabara - electric town and home to the manga/ anime subculture with maid cafes, which isn't as pretty during the day as it is at night when it is all lit up. Although, sunset in Tokyo is around 4.30pm which is quite early considering, so if you hang around you will see it light up nicely.
The shops sold very hardcore computer equipment i.e. various CPU parts which I couldn't for the life of me name..I'm proud I know what a CPU is. There were other thing on sale though; DVDs and cool lifestyle gadgets. 

I've actually wanted the above microwaveable chip maker for ages. I saw it on a free shipping website http://www.dealextreme.com/ a while ago, and whilst the reviews were good I couldn't be bothered waiting for shipping which takes up to and usually more than 14 days. Otherwise the stuff is CHEAP! So back to the chip maker, it comes with a slicer to make the vegetable super super fine and then you place it in the slots and microwave it for a few minutes. No oil, no mess. Lol I sound like a info-mercial rep.  Anyways by the time we finished Akihabra we were pooped. So we went back to our hotel and rested until 7ish where we went in search of dinner. My boyfriend suggest a famous ramen place in Roppongi. Famous according to Lonely Planet anyways. The lonely planet map was very difficult to follow. The ramen place Gogyo ramen is actually opposite the fenced off US Army base, which is a really really easy landmark to find. 
After dinner we wandered around Roppongi with its brightly lit high rise buildings, crowded street crossings, expensive shopping and seedy clubs. It was an eclectic cultural fusion which made for an interesting experience, so ended day 1.  I will try and catch up with my blogging as I travel! Sayonara 

mel@all.wrapped.up Web Developer

The indecisive crafter

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you've been having a total blast! Hope you're still doing well!

    -a fan from CO+K