So while I was staying in China, I was lucky enough to be able to go on a weekend to Tokyo. Japan is somewhere I have ALWAYS wanted to go and so this trip pretty much made my life.
I would say that Japan is what other countries strive to be. As we took the train from the airport to Shinjuku we passed street after street of perfect, neat little houses. Each one slightly different and very interesting. I just wanted to jump out the train and plant myself in those little streets and wander for days. Despite the craziness and the neon lights so often associated with Tokyo, there was a sensation of calm in the air. Everything is neat, relaxed, and feels safe and comforting.
On the first day when we arrived, we flew into Narita airport around lunchtime. We did the usual dropping off of our bags and checking into our hostel. We were staying at a hostel called Hikari house in Shinjuku. It was a really fantastic choice of location, within walking distance of Shinjuku train station (which is apparently the busiest station in the world). The hostel was situated down a little side street in the Korean district so it was nice and quiet when you wanted to sleep, but you could just step straight out into the madness. We had pre-booked tickets to the TeamLab Borderless Digital Art Museum before we went, because it was somewhere we really wanted to go. We had an absolute nightmare trying to find it though! Someone described the Tokyo subway maps as ‘imagine a child with lots of different coloured crayons scribbled on paper‘ and they were not far from wrong. It is probably the most complicated metro system I’ve ever encountered. First, it took us a while to work out that different colour trains go to different places. So on the way to our hostel from the airport, our train stopped and started going a different way to where we thought we were going. Then google maps said to stay on the train to the digital art museum so we did, when in fact that was a different train and we were supposed to change, so we ended up going wayyyyyy too far and having to come back. They also have a weird mix of overground and underground trains so sometimes you have to change between them. All in all, it’s very stressful.
When we finally arrived at the Mori Digital Art Museum (not to be confused with the Mori Art Museum), it was very very busy. It was about 5pm on a weekday and the place was still heaving with people. I had seen some videos of it before I went and I would say it lived up to expectations. The rooms were fantastic, full of different light tricks and illusions you can immerse yourself in. We stood for ages (and I mean ages) in a queue to get upstairs into…actually we didn’t really know what it was, but we figured if that many people were in the queue it must be good. In the end, we gave up and decided to try and find the exit (easier said than done). The way out actually took us upstairs so we never needed to wait in the queue (I still wonder what it was for). Upstairs was a really cool interactive area, where they had climbing mazes and trampolines and huge inflatable balls.
In the evening, we went up the Metropolitan Tower to the observation deck at the top. the view was amazing. A beautiful skyline of skyscrapers stretching out as far as we could see on each side. Tokyo is truly a vibrant, exciting yet highly livable city at the same time.
Stay tuned for more articles about things I did AND tackling Tokyo as a veggie.