Hi everyone, this post is a continuation of my posts about my previous trip to Japan. In this post I’ll be writing about the day and two nights we spent in Tokyo. Here is a link to the previous posts about Osaka and Kyoto.
To get from Kyoto to Tokyo, we took the bullet train which involved around 2 hours and 15 minutes of travel. Our Kyoto Airbnb hosts gave us a tip after departing; if you sit in the left side of the train and it’s a clear day you will be able to see Mt. Fuji. We did not sit on the left side of the train, however I was able to snap a picture of it. I was rushing all over the place like a crazy tourist to get the picture because it looked gorgeous.
After arriving, we headed for our Airbnb. Though we were delayed because we had a lot of trouble with the train system. We brought Suica cards which are basically train passes that you top up. The issue with these cards is that you can’t top them up with any kind of foreign credit card, so you need cash. I had no cash on me and ATMs that take foreign cards can be quite hard to find at times. So I basically spent half an hour looking for an ATM. Please…please…please always carry at least 1000 yen at all time. Now, back to the Airbnb. We decided to stay in a loft type apartment in Kouenji. Kouenji is a district in the Suginami Ward of Tokyo that has a bit of a hipster vibe. The district is know for its vintage clothing so if you’re into that style there are a large amount of op shops in the area. When we finally arrived at the loft, we discovered how high the loft actually was. I was terrified. As someone who likes to drink a lot on their holidays, I was continuously wondering how I was going to get up there without falling. It turned out okay. After arriving and getting our things in order we decided to explore Kouenji. As I said there were a lot of op shops, though there were some other notable things, such as; pet shops (they have the cutest animals), book shops, Baskin Robbins, restaurants, karaoke and a French type bakery. It’s a good area to explore.
The next day we set off to TeamLab Borderless, though we made a stop in Shinjuku in the way. For those who don’t know what TeamLab borderless is, it’s an amazing art exhibition that has the art projected onto the walls and it’s accompanied by sound. Before we arrived at the exhibition we stopped to visit a cat cafe, explore department stores and have some lunch. Shinjuku is an incredibly lively part of Tokyo, especially at night. There are always plenty of people, stores, clubs, food and even a robot restaurant. The time I was in Japan before we went to one of these robot restaurants and they are absolutely crazy. Crazy, yet also very entertaining. The one I went to had a giant clown, so be warned. Anyway, back to the 2019 trip. Once arriving in Shinjuku we visited a department store. Japanese department stores consist of one big shop with multiple levels and they have everything ranging from technology to toilets. It’s amazing. I wish we had it here because everyone was in one place and you didn’t have to walk too much. There was also a massive screen on the department store front that was very loud and played advertisements for music. It’s very different to Melbourne and what I’m used to but regardless, it was awesome.
Afterwards we headed for the cat cafe. I had visited the cafe previously the last time I went to Japan. Personally, I found it very cruel because the cats were lying there depressed and would fight at times. This time around, it had improved, the cats looked happier and more alert which was fantastic to see. Overall, the cafe was good, we were able to pet numerous cats and have a little drink. So I’ll give you a bit of information on the cafe itself. In cat/dog cafes they ask you to remove your shoes and wash your hands. The particular one I went to provided a free drink card and they have drinks ranging from teas/coffees to soft drink. Although the milky drinks at cat cafes don’t have milk and use soy milks instead. They also have reading material, mostly manga which I find really cool. In terms of the cats, there were around 30 in there and they were all different shapes and sizes. One of the cats we encountered was the size of a medium dog!
When we left the cat cafe we were feeling really hungry so we stopped for some Okonomiyaki which is basically a Japanese pancake. It has your typical pancake mixed, although it also contains shredded cabbage and can have meat, cheese, etc. It is cooked on an open skillet in front of you and then Okonomiyaki sauce (like Worcestershire sauce), Japanese mayonnaise and fish flakes. It’s incredibly delicious fairly easy to cook on your own.
Stomachs full, we then headed for TeamLab Borderless. It was around 3o minutes by train. When we arrived there was this amazing shopping centre that looked like an indoor town. It was gorgeous, I recommend visiting it.
We soon arrived at TeamLab Borderless and be warned there is a massive line. It takes around 20 minutes of waiting to get in. I really wish I had taken more photos rather than video, though it was a visual and audio display so it wouldn’t have been as memorable. It was beautiful. The displayed changed overtime, therefore you had to make sure you returned to each room. There was an activity room where could interact with some displayed. One memorable one was a space theme trampoline which let you jump on stars. Another was a room full of giant coloured bubbles you had to navigate through. It was great. There was also a room that made the floor and walls look infinite, having mirrors all around with verticals lights hanging everywhere – giving the illusion that the lights were never ending. The exhibit has this new feature where you can have tea and it projects flowers blooming onto your tea cup which is really cool.
Afterwards, we had Wendy’s. There is a Wendy’s right outside the gallery. I had never had Wendy’s before because we don’t have it in Australia. It was an exciting moment for me and it wasn’t too bad. We then headed to Harajuku, the famous Takeshita street. Honestly, I don’t see all the hype around it. There are lots of funky shops that have great items but it’s just not something I really cared for that much. I think I saw a few Harajuku girls, I don’t really remember, maybe because that fashion doesn’t surprise me too much? Either way it’s still a cool place to visit if you want to that Lolita fashion. There are also some branded makeup stores like Etude House and skincare stores like Innisfree.
Shortly, we headed back to our Airbnb, had some food, got a little drunk and did karaoke. It was great. I tried Wasabi Highball because I was feeling adventurous, all I can say is never again. The karaoke was fantastic, it had English songs and I was living. It was amazing.
Thanks for reading everyone! Stay tuned for more!