Controlled and calculative equilibrium between positive freedom and negative freedom, ancient technology and modern lifestyle, conservative innovation and futuristic protectionism, atheist religion and religious atheism can be best seen in Tokyo. I have visited Tokyo four times while working as Car Design Manager in Suzuki, Hamamatsu. Hamamatsu is 250 Km south west from Tokyo. We left in morning at 8 in Suzuki Swift; we took rest nearby area of Mount Fuji and Yokohama. On the one side of highway there were green mountain chains and on the other hand ultra-modern villages. Parallel intersecting canals, muddy rice fields, tunnels, local markets and remote petrol bunk shopping malls and various backdrops were coming one by one. We had booked Washington Hotel very near to Shinjuku Market. The city view from the top of hotel was mesmerizing.
For foreigners, Narita Airport is located in the town of Narita nearly 70km northeast of Tokyo and covered in a separate article. To reach Tokyo city from airport one can take any from Skyliner (Keisei Electric Railway) to Nippori and Ueno Stations, Narita Express (East Japan Railway Company) to Tokyo Station, Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Yokohama Station.
First we went to “Memory Lane” Omoide Yokocho. It is like 1960s olden Shinjuku. Yakitori are famous for Japanese street food and Friday drinking customs is very common in this area so We were surrounded by Japanese professionals who come to Friday drinking tradition. Yakitori and oden, a one-pot winter dish, tightly crammed into a four-lane space are best here. Then we just roam around the famous red light district, Kabukicho, which has hostess bars and lights. And like us there were many foreigners roaming around. It was completely different from Amsterdam Red List Area.
Koen-dori Street, Yoyogi Koen, Shibuya Mark City were our next target in Shibuya. It has of a large-scale hotel, business floors, and more than eighty shops. We saw in many big fashion stores there were live fashion shows inside. We found an Assam Tea Shop and rest for 30 min.
Next we decided to visit Imperia; Palace, Marunouchi. It has 17th century Park which is still used by the Imperial family, the Imperial Palace stands on the site where, in 1457, the Feudal Lord Ota Dokan built the first fortress, the focal point from which the city of Tokyo gradually spread. As famous as the palace is the Nijubashi Bridge leading to its interior, a structure that takes its name (“double bridge”) from its reflection in the water.
A two-meter-thick wall surrounding the palace and its gates, one of which leads to the East Higashi Gyoen Garden, one of the few areas opens to the public. Then we visited Edo Castle (Chiyoda Castle), it was built in 1457 and located in Tokyo’s Chiyoda district.
It was alien realization to see sexy dolls, provocative figurines and costumes. Maid cafes were sending sexy Japanese girls dressed as maids to convince customers to follow them into the dark. We saw Innocent little maids in bunnies and kittens costumes.
We went ethical looking cosplay themed restaurants and served food by waitresses, dressed as French maids. Maid cafes are popular in women equally.
Some of the world’s biggest only electronics malls offering everything from computers, cameras, televisions, mobile phones, electronics parts and home appliances to second-hand goods and electronic junk are there. We went Yamada Denki and Akihabara Electric Town near JR Akihabara Station. I bought Nikon Camera from here.
In Asakusha we went Sensō-ji Temple. Sensō-ji is dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon (Buddhism), and it is now the second-most-visited spiritual site in the world. For information, Every year, almost 4 million pilgrims visit the Vatican, 5.5 million visit the Golden Temple of Amritsar, , over 30 million visit Sensō-ji, and 45 to 55 million visit Sabarimala, a Hindu pilgrimage center in Kerala. Sensō-ji Temple has masks, carvings, combs made of ebony and wood, toys, kimonos, fabrics, and precious paper goods are on sale. Dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of compassion, the temple was established in AD 645 and retains its original appearance despite having been rebuilt numerous times. The most striking part was Kaminari-mon Gate with its 3.3-meter-high red paper lantern bearing the inscription Thunder Gate. Then we went o-mikuji stall to know future. Belief is that the guardian deities of Sensō-ji will take over the bad fortune and protect us.
Earliest most beautiful artificial island just off Tokyo Bay, Odaiba was constructed in the Edo-era to defend the capital from attack. It has Tokyo’s most popular Venice market, Statue of Liberty, Ship Mall and shopping complex. Connected to Tokyo by the magnificent Rainbow Bridge, Odaiba is a breeze to get to and promises a full day’s worth of excitement.
We took a ferry to sight seeingTokyo Bay and Odaiba City. Also the giant wheel, the wheel is 115 meters tall and it takes 15 minutes to complete a turn. Each cabin has six seats.
Next we went to National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation Miraikan. It is a museum exhibits the latest science and technology. The exhibition includes the globe display called “Geo-Cosmos” and a robot (ASIMO).
We took Ginza and Hibiya Subway Line to reach Ginza. High class fashion brand shops and Tsukiji, famous for its seafood market, both are located nearby. Nihonbashi, with famous department stores such as Mitsukoshi and Takashimaya, Ningyo-cho, an area filled with Edo period atmosphere, and Tsukishima, famous for its local dish – monjayaki. We went for shodo (Japanese calligraphy) where we tried to learn it. The staff was assisting us with the writing brush.
The Roppongi Night Life was the last board of our trip. After WWII, the United States Army and the Allied Powers occupied an area around Roppongi. Many brothels for foreigners were opened in Roppongi and slowly Roppongi became adult entertainment centre that includes nightclubs, and hostess clubs. While staying in Hamamatsu, I read about it so we went there as Roppongi is famous for its bars which have made it a go to place for foreigners from all over the globe.
We saw many Nigerian swindlers. Actually Nigerians came to Japan in the late 1990s and slowly gathered relatives from Nigeria and own bars or adult entertainment shops. They tout aggressively and do crimes in bars like swindling, drink-spiking, and robbing. Well, we were in group and away from such kind of shops, so no issues.
Over all as expected It was most amazing city I have even visited. From mysterious ancient temples to materialistic markets, traditional and modern life style, hills and buildings taller than those hills, night life and cosplay bars. While leaving Tokyo, I started planning to come again and visit places which I could not manage this time.
Below are some bonus images of Sakura Festival. I went Nagoya to feel Sakura Festival Night. In next blog, I will include trips to Nagoya, Kyoto and Sizuoka.