Japan Part 1 | Japan Part 2 | Japan Part 3 | Japan Part 4
We landed in Narita Airport and my first stop was the tourist information centre where we picked up train maps, a tourist map, and a tourist guide book. The night before I researched the available day passes for Tokyo railways, and decided to get the Tokyo Metro Open ticket, since our hostel was on one of the lines and the Tokyo metro also operated most of the lines to the places we wanted to go to, and they had more lines than the Toei and JR lines. I was unsure which pass to buy at first, but in the end we bought the 2 day pass for ¥980, and it turned out to be an excellent choice, since we traveled a lot more than tickets worth.
|O.O thank goodness we went to Kyoto and Sapporo first. Rail-wrangling training wheels compared to this monster|
|very handy and very worn by the end our the trip. literally falling apart and only held together by some washi tape i bought|
Feeling the heat
We didn't expect this, but Tokyo was EXTREMELY hot. And this coming from someone who lives in hot, humid Malaysia. Tokyo was wayyy hotter. The first day we were there temperatures in the late afternoon was 37 degrees, and when we arrived at around noon it was so much worse. I have never in my life sweated so much just standing still, under the shade. Found out when we came back to Malaysia that apparently there were several cases of people passing out because of the heat in Tokyo that weekend. O.o
The hostel we had booked for our stay in Tokyo was Tokyo Backpackers, which had a lock out policy between 11am-4pm, around the time that we arrived. Thankfully we were able to drop off our bags and get on with the day. If you're going to Tokyo, I highly recommend this hostel. It’s clean, has great facilities, convenient location, and is very spacious, almost unheard of in hostels and in Japan especially. the only thing missing was a water cooler for refilling our water bottles.
|really spacious dorm room|
|Common area downstairs|
We bought lunch from the 7-11 near the hostel, and since we were extremely hungry, stopped by Ueno Park just to have lunch. After wolfing down our onigiris we walked around the park, which was quite full of people. we headed to the International Library of Childrens Literature, mostly because it was air-conditioned, and because Munira works for Ana Muslim so I thought it'd be good to check out.
What we noticed immediately about Tokyo as compared to Kyoto and Sapporo was it was a lot bigger, and a lot grittier. the park had a lot of homeless people lazing around, whereas in Kyoto and Sapporo we never saw any. It was still clean, being in Japan and all, but more worn and grimy than the other places.
|didnt get to go to Fushimi Inari in Kyoto, so made do with these torii gates|
|Sakura promenade. imagine this in sakura season *o*|
|International Museum of Children's Literature renovated by Tadao Ando|
|traditional against modern. Museum designed by Le Corbusier|
|baru tengok sesak sikit dah jakun....|
After Ueno we headed to Jimbocho, which was one of the places we would have missed if it wasn’t for the guide book we got from the airport. And thank goodness we didn't give it a pass because it was HEAVEN! Jimbocho is kind of like the book district in Tokyo, there are over 160 bookshops selling over 10 million second hand and new books, all within walking distance. Most of the books are Japanese but there are some shops that sell English books as well. You can get books about anything here. the first shop we entered was filled with hentai, which we didn’t realize at first, but we quickly stepped out and went to see other shops.
Munira was looking for children’s books for her boss, and I was just browsing. One of the shops was a 4 story book shop with a cafe on the ground floor and reading balconies on each floor, so quaint! another shop, called The Bohemian's Guild, was packed with arts and graphics and design books, and its upper floor had artwork for sale. There was a bookshop that at first we didn't enter because it looked like a supermarket, which was true, but it turns out it was a supermarket for books. 6 huge floors full of books. I think we went a bit crazy there haha. Good thing too that we decided to go on the day that my brother wasn't with us because I'm sure he would have been bored.
|the calligraphy books were really interesting, they opened out into one long, folded sheet.|
|some shops had traditional art prints for sale|
|loveeed this place|
|bookshop + cafe|
|haven for design books|
|some of their art books|
|all along the staircase|
|the design books shop|
|street called heaven|
|saw this place but didnt go in. i think it was part of a karaoke bar|
|Jimbocho Theater building|
|Awesome book showing Miyazaki's original storyboards|
|no i didn't buy that bag...saje pose sbb mun suruh. this was inside the book supermarket (Sanseido)|
|Happy shopper - also, check out the Metro station art in the background. Books :)|
|:D yes I realize I still have sunglasses on my head despite it being night time already. haha|
Metro Open ticket (2 days) :¥980
Airport transfer ticket: ¥1200 (Keisei Main Line Rapid)
Hostel: ¥2100/night for 3 nights = ¥6300