After my short detour to Shanghai, I flew to Tokyo and visited some places described below.
- 1 Day 0: Arrival
- 2 Day 1: Mall and Trick Art Museum
- 3 Day 2: Exhibitions and shrine
- 4 Day 3: Tokyo Tower and airports
- 5 Miscellaneous observations
Day 0: Arrival
My flight Shanghai PVG → Tokyo HND got delayed for 30 min, so I arrived later than 24 o’ clock local time due to a time zone shift. The airport was nearly empty and I’ve decided to walk to the Guesthouse SENSU I booked several days before for one night. The walk took me about 40 min; on my way there, I passed several mini stores and withdrew some cash.
It was about 1 o’ clock when I finally arrived and got welcomed by the owner. I could sleep in a room with several high sleepers attached to each other; surprisingly, I was the only guest, so I could use the whole space for myself. I hung up a few clothes on the clothesline on the balcony to freshen them up over night. In my room again, I discovered that the Japanese use different AC sockets and couldn’t plug in my laptop for charging. While one of my power banks was still full of charge, I decided to search for an AC adaptor on the next day so I could use my laptop on my flight back to Seoul again.
World map of plug types in use – By Ime Prezime (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Day 1: Mall and Trick Art Museum
Before coming to Tokyo, I printed some maps and downloaded the Tokyo region on the offline map application on my Android phone. On the next days I only used the offline map.
I changed my inital plans and set off to the Daiba station.
A possible route as shown by Google Maps. However, I went to the Tennozu Isle Station (which is slightly behind the isle to the left of the Daiba station) and took the Rinkai Line to the Tokyo Teleport Station which is not far from the Daiba station. Surprisingly, Google insists on taking the route shown above, even if I start from the Tennozu Isle Station.
On my way I made several pictures.
I realized that Google won’t help me in all situation, so I downloaded the Tokyo Subway Navigation app which I used several times.
Shortly after my arrival I head towards a bigger complex which also includes a mall. I captured an impression of a street crossing in the following video.
Now some pictures inside the complex.
Kit Kats in Japan have a several wiki article. And there’s even a train.
Santetsu – By Asacyan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I was able to buy an AC adaptor in one of the shops, so this quest was solved.
Trick Art museum
After strolling through several shops I discovered many attractions and I thought I took a closer look at the Tokyo Trick Art Museum. The images shown in the gallery are only a small sample.
Overall, the Trick Art Museum might be more interesting for kids as I didn’t find anything surprising or impressive. But other visitors are quite happy with it.
Walk till hostel
I started near the Teleport Station again and finally arrived at the Kaisu hostel.
The Kaisu Hostel works similar to the Guesthensu Sensu, so again I got a bed in a room full of highsleepers. I came into contact with an Australian and we decided to roam around and go back to the park depicted above. After leaving the park, we encountered some cart drivers in costumes, something like this here.
This MariCar seems to be quite popular:
We came back in the middle of the night. The frontdoor can only be opened with a pin, so you better make sure you remember it.
Day 2: Exhibitions and shrine
The fee of the hostel includes breakfast until either 10 or 11 am, so I got at least something to eat from a small selection. I had many plans for this day (especially as I also had some leftover sightseeings from the day before), but the overall conditions weren’t that good as it should rain all day long. After my return to Germany, I heard this might have been due to the raining season in Japan which ended on the days I’ve been there.
Equipped with an umbrella, I walked with the Australian guy to the National Art Center Tokyo and took a look at two free exhibitions (there were about six to eight exhibitions at the same time).
Random pictures and caligraphy exhibition
Exhibition of International Sumi-E Association
While the caligraphy exhibition was located on the first floor, I guess it was the third one where the second exhibition took place.
Now more plants and landscapes.
And the last one:
While it was still raining outside, we decided to take a look at a Japanese shrine.
Meiji Jingu Shrine
Better pictures can be found via a Google Image Search.
After we left the shrine, we still talked to the Chinese professor. He said a few interesting things:
- Chinese people don’t care that much about their government as long as they can live a decent life. This is in accord with the statements of the exchange student I visited in Shanghai.
- As people get older, they’re more about to arrange with the system.
- China is even in professional fields still an isolated country. For many decades academic papers were only known to other Chinese professors and there was no zeal to gain international respect. Even today the majority doesn’t care about the international community, but at least the younger professors try to publish papers in non-Chinese journals, too.
- China fears strikes from North Korea, too, and therefore is cautious in actions and sanctions against the regime.
As I had to check in at the Guesthouse Sensu again, I bid farewell to my Australian friend and made my way to the hostel. As I carried a lot of weight with me through my trip, I was already exhausted when I arrived about 20 o’ clock. This time I had to share the room with two other guests, but I nearly hadn’t any contact as I wanted to rest and spontaneously decided to get to the Tokyo Tower before it’s already closed.
Tokyo Tower at night
So I tried to reach it in time, but failed – I arrived only minutes after they shut down their services. So all that’s left are these pictures of the Tokyo Tower at night.
And again, he also seems to change colors, just like the towers in Shanghai.
Tokyo Tower at night – By Kakidai (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
It’s obvious that the Eiffel tower has been an inspiration in the Design. Manish worked out architectural similarities and differences.
Day 3: Tokyo Tower and airports
The last day should be quite stressful as I definitely wanted to see the Tokyo Tower, but had to be at the Haneda airport in the early noon again. So I left my hostel in the morning, but left for a fee my bags there so I could get them on my last way to the airport.
Walk towards tower
Fortunately, the weather was quite good, and so I activated my Pivothead glasses again and made a short video.
A few more pictures that also have explanations for the temple and the children seen in the video.
View from tower
I finally made it. I think the admission was about 1.000 ¥.
Here‘s the list of cities with the most skyscrapers, Tokyo currently ranking 6th place, and China having six places in the top ten, and Seoul at least at rank 15. Overall, the Chinese dominate, no other nation can compete with them.
After picking up my bags at the guesthouse I took the metro to the Haneda airport – where I couldn’t find my flight on the displays. I then began to realize that my flight departs from Narita airport – and I had no chance to reach it in time. After investigating my options (and unsuccesfully trying to cancel the T’way flight) I was lucky to book another a flight with Eastar at 18.50 o’ clock from Narita airport at the same day for about 90 £ – and immediately made my way to there, paying additional around 3.000 ¥ for using the public transportation (and passing the former guesthouse again).
The route I took, displayed via Google Maps. Surprisingly, it says a much lower price for the ticket. Either this is wrong or the line changed the price.
But then I was quite happy as I arrived at the airport on time. A few last pictures before the flight brought me back to Seoul.
Here‘s the Soradonki link. If I remember right, the flight (ZE604 NRT → ICN) was on time, and I finally arrived at 20 o’ clock in Seoul. Another two hours were spent to come back to my dormitory.
I think it was about 11 o’ clock when I left the Tokyo Tower and 23 o’ clock Japanese time when I arrived at the dormitory – this could have been arranged better.
A few more random observations during my short stay:
- There are literally everywhere vending machines (link goes to a Business Insider article with guesses why there exist so many).
- A combination of the Tokyo Subway Naviagion app and Google seems to work best – as you can see in examples in this post, Google is not sufficient as a stand-alone solution, but at least it works much better than in Korea.
- Usually you have free wifi access in train stations – so it’s much less risky to relinquish a SIM card.
- As you can see, the majority of men seem to dress in white shirts – and at the same share girls wear school outfits. Many boys are in uniforms, too, and many women dress classy.