Although we briefly visited Kyoto – and swung through Osaka for lunch – most of our week in Japan was spent in the big smoke of Tokyo. Spoiler: I LOVE it. (I feel this way about most global cities, to be fair.) Here are a few things that stood out.
Stay in a ryokan
The whole guesthouse experience is just so unique, from the sliding doors to the tatami mats and the baths. It was an incredible introduction to Japan. Also: Sleeping on the floor is amazingly comfortable.
Order food via a ramen machine
Need I say more?! Didn’t think so.
Everything is SO cheap compared to home. I’m madly in love with the merino cardigans I got at Uniqlo for practically nothing.
Also, as an Asian person, shopping in an Asian country makes so much difference, be it bras for the flat-chested or glasses for the flat-faced (you know how the plastic frames that are hot right now have only tiny inbuilt nubs designed to perch on high nose bridges, rather than traditional nose pads?! I found some with extra-big ridges).
Visit a park
Every city needs green spaces, and Tokyo does them well. Ueno Park brought to mind San Diego’s Balboa Park, crammed with attractions (a highlight were the turtles in a pond!) and at Meiji Shrine, we saw an elaborately dressed bride getting wedding photos taken.
See a sumo match
As it turns out, we were in town for the very start of the autumn sumo tournament. I wasn’t sold on the idea of shelling out for sumo tickets (and didn’t want to gamble on queuing up on the morning of the match) but it turned out to be the highlight of our trip. The bouts are short so the pace doesn’t flag, the atmosphere surprisingly lively and the rituals fascinating. And we got to see one match that was clearly a bit of an upset! We also saw some of the wrestlers before and after, as people lined the pavement outside like a red carpet to watch them come and go. What a way to end our last full day.
Wow, Tokyo is such a beautiful city! I want to try how to order food via a ramen machine, that’s really cool! 🙂
I visited Tokyo many years ago but I was there for a program that I was in. I didn’t get to do a lot of the cool things you did. Sounds like you had an amazing time 🙂
Ryokan. RYOKAN!! *salivate*
Amazing. The Sumo wrestling photo looks awesome. I can see how it can be very traditional and ritualistic.
Out of curiosity, was there anything else that was in a vending machine that you tried? I heard that you can get hot beverages and other foods too!
oh yeah, esp beverages of all kinds – they’re literally on every street corner and all through buildings. We mostly got juices, iced teas and fizzy drinks.
Shopping is really a must in Tokyo! It seems like you have tried all the possible forms of entertainment you can try there!
Sounds like a blast! I have so much wanderlust. Japan is at the top of my list!
Tokyo! When I went there, the first thing I wanted to do was to visit Tokyo Disneyland. Being there was really great! And, I love to visit the country again.
Looks like a great trip. I have never been. Wonder how they are recovering from the tsunami. I know Tokyo wasn’t really impacted and it has been awhile — but did you notice anything or is everything business as usual?
In Tokyo? Nope. There was a quake while we were there though!