My love for Tokyo
Last year I stayed in Japan for one week. It was my first time and I immediately fell in love. I visited the three big cities Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. It was a bit of a stressful week because we (Brian my best buddy was with me) traveled from city to city in only one week. In this year I felt like I have to go again! On my first visit I scarcely had time to explore Tokyo although there is so much to see in this city. This time I’ve spent eight days in Tokyo and it really got me. First of all there are very great museums. In general Tokyo offers a variety of activities. The Japanese are always extremely fashionably dressed. It’s already a pleasure to drink a coffee in the morning and watch the people passing by especially all the cute couples who’ve only eyes for each other. Besides if we’re talking about coffee, there are so many great coffee shops in Tokyo and every shop is lovingly designed. That’s how it is with the Japanese. They are all so warm, friendly and above all very polite. It’s easy to walk around here by yourself. You don’t have to worry about anything like getting robbed or getting diss by someone. Moreover I’m a big fan of Japanese gardens. They all have something magical and you can easily let your soul dangle and just relax. Before I flew to Tokyo I bought the „styleguide Toko“ by Jane Lawson. The book consists of 230 pages with many exciting routes which the author has made in Tokyo. The styleguide has given me some really helpful tips. In this blogpost I would like to share with you my five must-do if you’re planning to go to Tokyo.
1. Let your soul dangle in Japanese garden
Japanese gardens are an expression of Japanese philosophy and history. You can find them on private property, in city parks, at Buddhist temples or as well at Shinto shires. Tokyo may not be known as a city with much greenery, but it has several noteworthy gardens which offer you an oppurtunity to get a break from the busy city life. In Jane’s book I read about the oldest and best Japanese garden called Koishikawa Korakuen (小石川後楽園, Koishikawa Kōrakuen). Koishikawa Korakuen is a traditional garden which attempts to reproduce popular landcapes in miniature, stones, trees and hills to replicate both Japanese and Chinese scenery. The best thing about the garden is the low entrance fee. For most of the garden you have to spend around 300 yen for a ticket. Despite the rainy weather, my colleague and I stayed almost for an hour in this beautiful green area.
2. Enjoy breakfast in the trendy student district Aoyama
Do your days start with a well-balanced breakfast like mine? I’m a real early bird. Nothings better than a good breakfast at 7.00 o’clock. I prefer most of the time a sweet one. A waffle or pancakes with fresh fruits and I’m perfectly happy. So for anyone who decides to become an early bird in Tokyo I have two really good breakfast tips (one sweet, one salty, NO RICE FOOD) for which it’s worth to wake up early for once. If you prefer to have the breakfast after 10.00 o’clock make yourself ready for a long waiting line especially for my first recommendation:
Bread, Espresso & — パンとエスプレッソ
And the second breakfast tip is:
Afternoon Tea Love & Table — アフタヌーンティー・ラブアンドテーブル
3. Immerse yourself in the most digital world of all the time
We live in a digital age. When we take a picture it’s immediately uploaded to instagram. Nowadays, everything goes digital even art. The new museum in Tokyo called Digital Art Museum and has adapted to our new world. The museum is for everybody no matter if you’re young or old. Believe me you will love it even if you’re not interested in art. The Digital Art Museum is like a virtual world where you can quickly lose yourself in your own thoughts. It’s the newest museum in Odaiba / Tokyo and features digital art by the group „teamlab Borderless“. The exhibitions involve ceilings, floors and walls and invite you to join in. In general I can only advise you to get the tickets online in the Official Shop. The cards are usually sold out at the ticket counter. They can be purchased online three months in advance in the Official Shop and will be sent to your mobile phone as a pdf with a QR code.
Leave chaos as is but cause it to evolve
4. Become a Pokémon trainer
The following recommendation is for the Pokémon lovers out there! If you don’t know yet, Pokémon has its origin in Japan. When I was a teenager I spent many hours by training with my Game Boy Color Pokémons from one level to the next higher one. Meanwhile Pokémon has disappeared from the scene in many countries. Maybe it’s because we all just watch Netflix movies. Unfortunately you can’t see real Pokémons in Japan but you can go to the Pokémon Center which is located near Tokyo station. So the title in this section is a bit misleading sorry for that. The Pokémon Center has everything when it comes to things like Pokémon souvenirs. Pokémon clothes, Pokémon plushies, Pokémon writing accessories, Pokémon cosmetics and even a Pokémon Cafe where you can enjoy food and drinks inspired by (of course) Pokémon. I actually wanted to eat a cake in the Cafe but it wasn’t possible to get in without a reservation. It was fully booked out till the end of the month. I recommend you again make a reservation in advance. It can be annoying to plan and book everything before you even in Tokyo. But that’s just how it is in a city with over nine million inhabitants.
5. Live your childhood Disney Dream
I’m a huge fan of theme parks and I have been to many of them all over the world included the Disney World in Orlando. If you belong to these kind of people who like Disney and all the cute figures then you will love Tokyo DisneySea. If you expect crazy rollercoasters then you should spent your money on something else. DisneySea is for all the people who want to enjoy for one day a place with a magical atmosphere. The first thing I noticed was the disguised Japanese. Almost every second person wore Mickey Mouse ears even the boys. Many couples had perfectly co-ordinated their outfits with each other. That was kind of sweet and almost a bit cheesy. In this regard, the Japanese are really different than Swiss people. Everyone bounced here into a souvenir shops just for buying some Disney souvenirs so did I. I got these super cute Mickey Mouse ears as well. Feeling like a little child for one day, that’s what I expected from DisneySea and this expectation has been fulfilled. It has a few „roller coasters“ here and there but you don’t get goose bumps from these. Breathtaking is more the park itself. The whole DisneySea is super nicely built up. It feels like being in a fairy tale or in a Disney movie. I personally think DisneySea is a great option for spending a day away from the city center in a completely different world.
Just be a kid again if only for one day!
“Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, dreams are forever.“ – Walter Elias Disney