East side of Tokyo in 2 days

by Alvaro Perez from Spain

tokyo-akihabara
Tokyo, Akihabara by Alvaro Perez

Ok. To begin with please do notice that Tokyo is probably one of the biggest, most immense cities you will ever visit. You can spend there 11 days and still leave with the feeling that you leave way to many things unseen behind.

We only had 11 days in Japan so we decided to spend 5 in Tokyo. To try to organize the visit, I divided the city in two. If you take a look to a map of the city you will see Chiyoda (The Imperial Palace) in the middle. Take that as, more or less, the diving point of the city.

tokyo-tsukiji-market
Tokyo, Tsukiji Market by Alvaro Perez

We only had 11 days in Japan so we decided to spend 5 in Tokyo. To try to organize the visit, I divided the city in two. If you take a look to a map of the city you will see Chiyoda (The Imperial Palace) in the middle. Take that as, more or less, the diving point of the city.

For this stage of the trip we decided to visit the East side of the city. We stayed at  Ryogoku View Hotel  and visited the following in the two days we stayed there before going to Kyoto:

 

Day 1

  • Tsukiji market
  • Ginza
  • Tokyo Station
  • The imperial palace gardens
  • Akihabara

 

Day 2

  • Senso ji
  • Asakusa
  • Kappabashi dori
  • Ueno
  • Tokyo National Museum
tokyo-ryogoku-sumo-stadium
Tokyo, Ryogkoku Sumo Stadium by Alvaro Perez

So let’s begin with day 1. We woke up very early to visit Tsukiji market. Not early enough to watch the tuna auction, but close enough. This is a huge place with a lot of different things to be amazed by so, even if you don’t like fish, don’t miss it.

Tsukiji market is very close to Ginza so we then walked around and saw some of the (not really affordable) stores. Even if you don’t intend tobuy anything, the stores are decorated in an amazing way and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Then we walked to Tokyo Station. Now the cities we are used to in Europe and America and build in two levels. Street level and then you have like the buildings with offices and so on. All of Japan is built in a completely different way. You have the street level, the (let’s call it) high above level, and then there is a whole world underneath the cities. Specially under train stations. Tokyo station has almost like a complete city underneath its surface. There are streets (yes, streets) under the station and they are amazing. Do not miss it.

tokyo-senso-ji
Tokyo, Senso ji by Alvaro Perez

If you are a manga and anime fan you have to go to the Character street at Tokyo Station. Simply awesome.

We had lunch there at the ramen street and then walked to the imperial palace gardens. And then we took the tube to Akihabara to see it at night with all the lights on.

Akihabara is the tech and manga/anime neighborhood. Is a must see. Amazing. Just get into a pachinko or in a Sega building and let yourself be amazed by a culture like you’ve never seen before. I simply loved it.

tokyo-shinjuku-tokyo-city-hall
Tokyo, Shinjuku Tokyo City Hall by Alvaro Perez

If this sounds like we did nothing, do bear in mind that we did it all by foot. And trust me, Tokyo, August, sun, humidity… you better have some Yens prepared to buy some water.

Ok, so we went back to our hotel, which was opposite to the Sumo stadium, and slept the jet lag that we had on. Then the next morning we started off by visiting Senso Ji. One of the most famous and most visited temples in Tokyo. We bought some souvenirs and then headed off to Kappabashi dori through Asakusa, one of the most traditional neighborhoods in Tokyo.

houses-around-tokyo
Houses around Tokyo by Alvaro Perez

Kappabashi dori is a whole street (dori means street) dedicated to kitchen stuff. And you may think, why would I be interested in taking a look through kitchen things? Well, you are used to your normal kitchen Utensils, but the Japanese are know to invent amazing things so indulge yourself and visit that. You’ll be surprised with what you’ll find.

Then we went to Ueno park and station. We didn’t visit the station but we did visit Tokyo’s National Museum. It’s situated in the park and shows the story of Japan. You’ll be able to see some amazing katanas and Egyptian statues. Wait what? Yes, they also have a building with Rome, Greece, Egypt… sculptures. Nice visit if you like history.

tokyo-senso-ji-entrance
Tokyo, Senso Ji entrance by Alvaro Perez

And that is where we finished our East part of Tokyo visit. We cheated that night and after visiting the museum we decided to go to Shinjuku. Why? There is one very good explanation for that.

If you are planning your visit to Tokyo you may have heard of the famous Tokyo SkyTree. It is on the East side of the city, but we did not visit it. It costs around 13 Yens to go up. I’m sure it is worth it and that the views are amazing but the thing is that we found out that Tokyo’s City Hall towers have a restaurant and a store and, of course, an observation deck. It is free and opens until 11 pm every day if I’m not mistaken. So we finished our day there.

It took us like 30 minutes to get there by train from Ueno and then like another 30 minutes back to the hotel. So it is quite a ride but totally worth it.

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