I’ve always been a planner, whether it’s for work, play or travel. I prefer to know that I am well planned rather than to wake up in the morning, especially during a holiday and say “what should we do today?”. Researching what to do at the moment would take too much time and would probably hold you down for 2 hours finding places to go. I never like the last minute kind of thing, although I don’t mind being spontaneous. I wanted to see as much as I could in that time I had there.
For Japan, I really went down to the details of which trains should we take and what time should we take them, and if we missed the train, I would have the other time too. That was how detailed I was for our trip to Japan. It did help that Japan was very systematic and the train times were available on Hyperdia. You can search what time you want to take the train and from your location to your destination, the best thing is you’d even know what time you’ll reach. I was really surprised by the fact that it was really accurate and I experienced first hand of how punctual they are. We were actually lost at one point in our trip and we got to the train assistant and asked for directions, he took out a timetable as thick as a book and showed us the times. The book was marked Train Timetable 2012. Wow! They have the entire year planned out for every single route and every single train in the country! Good for them! 😛
This is roughly what the railway system looks like narrowed down. The line in green is the Yamanote Line, which is by far my favourite railway line in Tokyo. What we did was take the line and stopped at most of their stops to see each city. It was extremely tiring but it was fun to be able to cover a few extra spots. First stop was Hamamatsucho Station. This was to see the Tokyo Tower but lucky us, we stumbled upon the Zojoji Temple before we headed to Tokyo Tower. We took some pictures at the temple and continued walking to find the Tower.
No matter what angle we took the photo, we couldn’t get a non “Traditional meets Modern picture”
There were a lot of tourist entering the Tokyo Tower and we didn’t want to rush with them so we just took pictures from the hill below and made our way back to the station to adjourn to the next stop.
This is the Tokyo Tower. Funny enough, it was inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris but it stands 13 metres taller at 333 metres.
Next stop, we went to Ueno with the purpose of looking for the Tokyo Skytree which was built in May 2012. We saw it in a distance but didn’t know the way there. And then we saw this.
Why would you saw no to snapping a picture of a giant panda? A zoo was a must!
We walked up the bridge and just followed where everyone seemed to be walking towards and we found Ueno Park. There were buskers, artistes, musicians entertaining people on the streets. It was really interesting. There was this guy using water to make art on the ground.
There he goes……
And this is the result. Amazing huh..
We walked deeper and found the ZOO!
(There were two kids taking pictures so excuse them. ;p)
The Pagoda of Kan’ei-ji from a distance.
And this, the Equestrian Statue of Prince Komatsu Akihito
The zoo was really huge and there were so many animals there, not to mention people too. We were lucky we were there earlier in the day and as time passed the crowd started to build.
This is the map of the zoo, look how big it is. Doesn’t help that it had TWO different entrances and we got lost.
I loved the penguins, polar bear and the seals. You can’t see them here in Malaysia so might as well enjoy the sight of them as much as possible there.
Super playful seals.
I‘m not lying, they are called “Jackass Penguins”.
This here is my home buddy! They called it the Malaysian Sun Bear but I have yet to see one here!
The Panda street food that served pretty great Karaage Chicken. I was just shifting into Pescatarian mode before I went to Japan but I did take a bite because I was starving. Boo me! 😦
We got lost when we exited the zoo because we took a different exit. It was so excruciating to be walking round and round and not know where you’re going. We managed to get to the Ueno Station and took it to the next stop, Okachimachi Station where we wanted to visit the Ameyoko Street, famous for selling food products and Japanese goods. It was like a little market place. We walked pass a Takoyaki stall and just HAD to buy it to try. We ordered 8 Takoyaki balls, I think for 500 yen if I’m not mistaken. Once the balls are cooked and placed on the tray, you put your own Aonori (Seaweed flakes), Katsuobushi (dried bonito fish flakes), Takoyaki sauce and Mayonnaise if you wanted it, self service. Little did we know our first Takoyaki of the trip was actually the BEST TAKOYAKI of the entire trip.
These were the Takoyaki Balls at Ameyoko Street (500 yen). Let it cool before you eat though. We were too hungry and shoved them into our mouths and we got Takoyaki burnt! 😦
We got a few food stuff from the shops to bring home, they were pretty cheap compared to the ones in the more popular areas. I bought rice seasoning flakes as well as the chili sprinkles. There were a lot of people selling Nike clothing and shoes on the streets but I can’t guarantee their authenticity. Next stop, Shimbashi Station. There was really nothing to see there, we just wanted to stop by.
What a change of senario this was. There were so many bars, and blue movie joints. It was so dodgy we decided to leave after lunch at Sukiya.
I can’t find any pictures of where we went to next but we stopped at Ebisu, and also Harajuku. But we just scrolled through, maybe we were too tired and we took in too much the entire day, so walking in Harajuku brain dead is a not advisable thing to do! We also took the Chuo Line with the JR Pass to Ochanomizu to see the guitar haven but I have too much guitar pictures to upload. But yes, to those who are interested in looking for guitars, do head to Ochanomizu! It’s a must for any musician!
Till Day 3! The next day was the highlight of the trip!