In celebration of my 5000th tweet, here’s my travel Diary for Tokyo~
Today was supposed to be relaxed. We arrived from our Osaka side trip the night before and I was just thankful for the bed and sunny Tokyo.
The itinerary for the day was simple, take a picture in front of the Tokyo Station, get a tour of the Tokyo Imperial Palace, go to Odaiba, visit Shin-Okubo, buy K-pop pasalubong, night visit at Tokyo Tower, meet France, eat at a kaiten sushi place, go back to hotel, prepare luggage, sleep.
We left later in the morning at a little past 8. Our first stop was the Tokyo Station’s façade. It was celebrating its 100 years this year, so before 2014 ends, might as well grab a picture of it.
Just in front of the Tokyo Station, about 200m away is the Tokyo Imperial Palace. I knew for one that the grounds are very limited, because it’s the residence of the Emperor, so I wasn’t expecting much. But since we were already in the area, and it’s categorized as an obligatory place to visit while in Tokyo, we visited it anyway, thinking we could get a good 30 minutes of pictures, hop on the train and go to Odaiba afterwards.
But then something happened. As soon as we exited Tokyo Station, a swarm of elderly people were walking to the direction of the Imperial Palace. Our golden rule: Follow the crowd!
So we did, and we were welcomed by this:
I know for sure that Imperial Palace can’t get crowded on a weekday. Even if the sun was bright and shining, it was just weird that there is this throng of people waiting to be let in. Then I found out that it was the second day the palace grounds were open for the autumn foliage, as it was the peak in this particular area in Tokyo. Read: The Tokyo Imperial Palace opened its grounds to some 50,000 guests for the peak of the autumn foliage viewing. We just could not let it pass. And though we lined up for a good more than 1 hour, we spent a somewhat quick 1 hour inside the palace grounds, taking in the beauty that is autumn foliage.
It was definitely well spent!
Because it was almost 12nn when we finished, we decided that we could no longer cover Odaiba, since we have to meet France at 6pm. Going to Odaiba would pretty much eat up half of our day, and I could not risk not going to Shin-Okubo on this day. It was then or never. So we jumped on the nearest train station and went to Shin-Okubo for my K-Pop fix.
I will try to write a guide to going to the K-Pop heaven in Shin-Okubo. Because for some reason, at least for me, it’s not very obvious the moment you step out of the train station. Because the moment we did, I got so confused I almost walked to the wrong direction. Sigh. Anyway, when you step out, you’d want to go to your right. That is the direction of all things K-Pop!
Anyway, we ate at Miyomi Restaurant as suggested by Stasia in her blog post here. To reach Miyomi, just head straight, crossing the street and go on the same direction. Miyomi should be on your right after 15 – 20 steps depending on your stride. ^_^
BAP! Had it not been for the lawsuit, I was supposed to breath the same air, and be in the same country as these talented people. Sigh. But I am so happy for them, the way they handled things, and the way their friendship is more like brotherhood than anything.
After Shin-Okubo, it was already past 4. We decided to deposit our bags at Ikebukuro (our home station) so that we can freely roam around the grounds of Tokyo Tower. Unfortunately, there were no vacant lockers so we just went to the shopping malls at Ikebukuro, got lost looking for Tower Records (because of the complicated architecture of the mall), failed to locate Comme Des Garcons, and out of frustration, just straight out rode the train again and went to our meeting place.
We were there early, arriving at a little past 6 (because France re-scheduled to 6:30) but he was already there, waiting for us. We met at Kamiyacho station via the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line. We walked to Tokyo Tower and my fangirl feels was all over the place! It’s one of my anime fangirl meccas, and it’s on top of my go-to list in Japan. Read: CardCaptor Sakura!
After Tokyo Tower, we went for kaiten sushi in Roppongi! The place is called Pintokona and it’s at the basement of one of the buildings very near the train station of Roppongi Hills.
We then went around Roppongi Hills, France showing us one of the best illuminations in town.
We went home at around half past 11pm, with France in tow. France was a funny guy, and I couldn’t get over the joke we threw around with the heat pack. Hint: “Pinapainit mo ako! (You’re heating me up!)” I couldn’t keep a straight face when France threw that out the window; I could only hold the conversation for two minutes before bursting out in laughter. Overall, it was a great tour of the business district in Tokyo, with a near-local tourist guide friend!