My partner and I had been planning a trip to Japan for a while; however, it had been delayed due to the devastating tsunami and power plant explosion (which happened just before we were due to book our flights). We planned to travel in winter so we could attend the Sapporo Ice Festival, unfortunately we left the flight booking and couldn’t get a direct flight to Sapporo so we ended up in Tokyo as our first stop.
We spent our very short amount of time in Tokyo attempting to navigate massive train stations out to Shibuya, checking out the train station and Hachiko statue and people watching from the local Starbucks (had to get warm somehow!).
Some things I learnt during our short time in Tokyo:
- Japanese passports will get you through immigration in Japan way faster than anywhere else I’ve been before (and the foreign line takes over an hour if there is only two desks operating)
- Train stations look more like airport terminals
- Being the only foreigner on a train (and being stared at) can make you feel a bit like Godzilla
- Fruit is really expensive. Seriously expensive – $140 AUD for one rockmelon expensive
- Get to the station early if you want a locker large enough for a suitcase. They go quickly and it’s painful dragging heavy luggage everywhere
- You can buy hot food from your local convenience store at midnight – and it tastes good!
- What we did: 1 day racing around Shibuya
- Favourite part: Seeing the scale of one of the largest cities in the world
- Best Experience: Chilling out in Starbucks overlooking Shibuya Crossing watching the people go by
- Worst Experience: A toss up between spending forever trying to clear immigration at Narita Airport, or getting lost at Shibuya Train Station trying to find the right exit to head to our hotel at 10:30pm. Fortunately a kind person who could speak some English directed us the right way, but not so fun for a while after such a long time travelling, with luggage, cold and hungry
- Must See Attraction: Hard to say as we weren’t in Tokyo long enough to see the sights
- Next stop: Sapporo!