What a whirlwind weekend! Our time in Tokyo was vibrant and magic, wild and crazy, and full of hilarious stories. At the time, there were some stressful moments, but looking back on it now a few days later, I can see how funny our adventures really were. You're only young once, right? Might as well stay out until 4AM dancing in Tokyo while you can.
We were all in agreement that we loved the atmosphere in Tokyo. It felt fresh and fun, so full to the brim with interesting things to do and see. In our experience, Japanese people were so friendly and kind, always ready to smile back at us tourists and give us a hand if we needed help. We had universally positive experiences with all the locals we met, which was refreshing and made us feel comfortable right away. In Busan, I find that the locals don't go out of their way to be friendly – though many are, definitely! And as there are relatively few foreigners in Korea, you can sometimes feel like an anomaly or an outsider. Tokyo is obviously an enormous, buzzing, metropolitan hub so it was great to feel like we fit right in.
The energy of the city was amazing. Throughout our time there, we just kept gushing about the atmosphere and the magic we found there. We stumbled onto a rooftop terrace decked out with fairy lights and playing nonstop Disney princess songs through the loudspeakers. We wandered the busy streets of Harajuku that were crazy, yes, but also beautiful and fun. We befriended a worker at the fish market who invited us to hop on the back of his cart and he drove us to a great lunch spot by weaving through the crowds of tourists. We admired the way people dressed in Tokyo: gorgeous, simple, and classic. I loved the ivy-covered buildings everywhere you looked. I loved the abundance of neon lights, and the endless number of restaurants, cafes and convenience stores. We adored the enormous trees everywhere, but especially in the gorgeous Yoyogi park where they make a beautiful canopy overhead. We saw beautiful temples and some lovely traditional weddings taking place at them. We drank Japanese beer while people-watching at the busy Shibuya crossing. We discovered an Earth Day festival filled with stalls selling beautiful handmade, natural goods. We bought multicoloured things at Daiso. And we just walked up and down streets just taking it all in.
We barely even scratched Tokyo's surface, and yet I felt like we saw so much in our two days there. It just goes to show how big and beautiful of a city it really is, and how much more there is to discover. I hope to return and visit again, for longer. I think it would be so amazing to live there for a time, just working and exploring the city one adorable restaurant at a time. Maybe for a summer? The more I explore the world, the more time I want to spend exploring and enjoying it. I saw this quote the other day: “If I were really wealthy, I wouldn't buy a mansion, just tiny apartments in every city that I love.” I absolutely agree! The only problem is that list of cities is getting longer and longer. I feel so blessed and grateful to have had these travel experiences so young – what a wonderful “problem” to have!
What We Did:
- Ate lunch at a sushi restaurant in Tsukiji Fish Market. It was excellent – Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield had once eaten there, as well as the CEO of Amazon! It's a little off the beaten track and has bright orange awnings.
- Explored Yoyogi Park and visited the Meji Jingu shrine.
- Wandered around Harajuku on Takeshita Dori street and Ometesando street.
- Crossed at the Shibuya crossing about ten times!
- Saw the view from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. It's free, and offers great views of Tokyo.
- Explored Asakusa and saw the Senso-ji temple.