Week 1 in Tokyo

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

I'm writing this post on our 8th day in Japan. We have already left Tokyo and have been living in beautiful Yokohama now for 3 days. I wanted to take the time to share some of the amazing things we got up to in our first crazy week in Tokyo...

Day 1: Halloween
Our first full day in Tokyo was in fact Halloween. Not knowing what to expect we thought it would be fun to see how the Japanese celebrated by heading down to Shibuya (the Leicester Square or Times Square of Tokyo). There is only one word to describe a Japanese Halloween and that is: mental. Coming out of the station you could hardly move without bumping into human sized cartoon characters, zombie brides (in the tiniest skirts ever), doctors and nurses, jokers and a few dancing sharks - it was mayhem. Turned out that one of Craig's friends from uni, Hannah, happened to also be visiting Japan, and was currently in Tokyo. We decided to meet up for a drink in Shibuya, which was a little challenging considering just how packed and chaotic Shibuya was! In the end we hunted each other down at a near by Starbucks (of all places) and decided to make our way to an Irish Bar (no judging please)! We then proceeded to drink beer and laugh and gaup at all the crazy costumes as they went by - all in all an experience I will never forget.

Day 2: Imperial Palace Tokyo
Although today was the day I was majorly suffering with jet lag we decided to head over to the famous Imperial Palace where the Emperor of Japan lives - I figured that by getting up and keeping myself busy during the day would help me get to sleep easier at night. Just a 10 minute walk from Tokyo Station, in amongst dozens of grey skyscraper's was the beautiful and serene Imperial Palace. With free entry it's one you really shouldn't miss! I found myself constantly clicking pictures as everywhere we looked there was something amazing to capture - including HUGE deadly red-back spiders - that I didn't hang around next to for long.

Day 3: Harajuku and Birthday Drinks 
Had had a lazy morning at the hotel, which I must say by the way is fab. Stayed at the APA Ningyocho Hotel - staff are lovely and the breakfasts are great - if not a little odd at first (baby fish and rice? I think I'll stick to the croissants and jam). Midafternoon we ventured to the place I was most excited about when visiting Japan, Harajuku. Just as stunning as I had hoped, with tree lined streets and some of the most fashionable girls I'd ever seen - it made me super excited to know I was going to be spending Christmas there. After a wander around and a yummy Mexican meal, we headed back towards Shibuya and met Hannah, for her birthday. We ended up going to this cute little bar called Coins that was playing hip hop classics and serving cheap cocktails - heaven.

Day 4: Cat Cafe, Meiji Shrine and Kiddy Land 
After Hannah highly recommended it we decided to visit Mocha Cat Cafe in Harajuku. If you're wondering what a cat cafe is, it is simply a place where you go and drink tea and coffee whilst playing and cuddling a bunch of extremely adorable cats (and I thought the cheap cocktails were heaven)! As a huge cat lover this was one of my favourite experiences of Japan so far. The cats were some of the most beautiful cats I had ever seen (excluding my gorgeous three at home of course). We then went and explored The Meiji Shrine in Harajuku. The walk up to the shrine was stunning and very autumnal. It was very busy when we visited as it was actually a national holiday for Japan (art and culture day). The Shrine itself was very tranquil and serene, many people were praying - which involves washing both hands, throwing a coin into the offerings box, ringing a bell, bowing twice, clapping twice, saying your prayer then bowing again. You were also able to write down a wish at the shrine and post it with an offering, where the wishes would later be read at a service, or write one on a wooden block called an 'Ema' that get hung up outside the shrine for the spirits or gods to receive them. After Meiji Shrine we went to a huge toy shop called 'Kiddy Land' as Craig found out they sold lots of Dragon Ball Z merchandise - unfortunately for him and Hannah (who both love Dragon Ball Z) there really wasn't much there, however on the plus side for myself there was an entire floor dedicated to Hello Kitty!

Day 5: Kiyosumi Gardens
This was by far the most beautiful place I have visited so far whilst being in Japan! Once belonging to the founder of Mitsubishi but now open to the public for 150 yen it is so worth a visit. Cute little ponds and streams, full of Koi Carp and Terrapins, adorned with stepping stones to cross over them or little bridges - it was really something out of a Japanese post card.

Next stop Yokohama ✌🏼
Elly x

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