Tokyo: Days 1 and 2

Yesterday, the only sightseeing I did was the Senso-ji temple. It was about a 25 minute walk from the hostel, but it was so hot in the morning.

Tokyo Skytree on my walk to Senso-ji temple

There were so many people, mostly tourists like me, who were taking photos and shopping on the street that goes straight to the temple from the main gate. I didn’t like too many people and only stayed long enough to cool off before leaving the temple.

Kaminarimon gate to the Senso-ji temple

Senso-ji temple with shops on the sides

In front of Senso-ji temple

Monk chanting

On my way back, I stopped at Matcha Sweets Kaminari-Issa where they sell matcha ice cream and other things made from matcha. I had some delicious matcha ice cream and bought a container of matcha candy.

A cute matcha ice cream

Matcha candy

The food prices in Japan is very reasonable since the exchange rate is about 140 Japanese Yen to one US dollar. A meal costs about $10, about half of what I spent in Hawaii. Even the hostel is about half of what I paid for in Hawaii.

I was going to eat ramen for lunch, but then I saw Yoshinoya, my favorite Japanese restaurant chain that I used to frequent in New York City a long time ago. I decided to have a meal there instead of ramen. I ordered a rice bowl that had beef on top, pickled vegetables, and a bowl of miso soup. All for about $10. I don’t even need to tip since it’s regarded as a sign of insult in Japan. I used my Suica card to pay for the meal, along with everything else I buy in Japan, including train tickets.


Beef rice bowl combo

When I arrived back at the hostel, I was so tired due to the heat. I decided it’s better to stay indoors for the rest of the day.

Around 3 PM, I decided to take a nap. I’m still suffering from jetlag. I ended up waking up at 12:30 AM at night, having skipped dinner.

I went to the common area in the hostel and surprisingly there were two people still awake. One of them recommended me to visit Sukiya for a late night meal since that’s about the only restaurant that’s open 24 hours around here.

Tokyo neighborhood at night. Very safe.

The meal that I had over there was almost exactly what Yoshinoya had on their menu, so I ate a beef rice bowl, salad, and tried their clam miso soup, which had little clams that were hard to get the meat out.

Once I came back to the hostel, I slept more and woke up at 5:30 AM. Since the sun rose at 4:50 AM and the temperature was cooler in the morning, I decided to take the Ginza Line subway to Shibuya to do some exploration around there.

The subway was very clean, like everything in Tokyo. The seats had cushions, which was very comfortable, unlike most subways in US cities.

After a 50 minute ride, I arrived in Shibuya. I wanted to see the Shibuya Scramble Crossing, which is a famous pedestrian crossing that’s supposed to be very busy. Well, I was there at 6:30 AM and the crosswalks had barely any people. I guess it’s good that there weren’t many people because I would not liked to have been in that crowd. On the other hand, I was disappointed to not get a photograph of people crossing the streets. But it is what it is. I can’t always get what I want.

The empty Shibuya Crossing

This will be very busy in a few hours.

I walked on the Omote-sando street, where many high-end clothing stores are located. I was expecting to see some cool architecture, but none of them caught my eyes.

Then I arrived at Yoyogi Park. There were many joggers in the morning taking advantage of the cooler weather. There were also many crows in the park for some reason.

The pond at Yoyogi Park

The Happiness Statue

The Meiji-jingu temple wasn’t far from the park so I walked there. I definitely enjoyed the fewer people here than the Senso-ji temple from yesterday. I also love the traditional Japanese temple architecture.

One of the gates at Meiji-jingu temple

Meiji-jingu temple

There was one last stop that I wanted to visit, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building. It has an observatory on the 45th floor that will give me a good view of Tokyo. I was there about 30 minutes too early. The observatory didn’t open until 9:30. When I finally got up to the observatory I took many photos of the view from all directions. They were mostly just buildings and some skyscrapers. Nothing too interesting.

View of the Skytree

Tokyo from the observatory

Another view

As I walked around the city, it’s good that I can read a little Japanese because they use some Chinese characters. That made navigation a little easier.

I ended up taking the Oedo Line subway from Shinjuku back and walked the rest of the way to the hostel.

Tokyo Oedo Line subway

Right now, it’s not even noon yet. However, it’ll be very hot in the afternoon. I don’t know what I should do for the rest of the day. I feel like my jetlag is a blessing so I can take advantage of the mornings for all my explorations since it’s cooler.

One of many drink vending machines on the streets of Tokyo

I haven’t had a bowl of ramen yet in Japan. I think I will visit a ramen restaurant for lunch.