Over a long weekend in September, I finally made a trip to Tokyo! It was also my first time to really take the shinkansen, or bullet train, because the only other time was just for a stop or two. Traveling by train is pretty expensive, but the trains are really nice. Roundtrip from Fukui to Tokyo was around 250 USD. It only took three hours. I left after school on Friday, so I had Friday evening through late Monday afternoon.
On Friday we got settled in and then went out to Shinjuku to drink at an izakaya. Afterwards we took purikura and headed back to make the last train.
The next morning started off a little slow due to drinking, but we started our day in Asakusa area. There we saw the famous Asakusa shrine and lanterns. The area is quite touristy and has numerous opportunities to buy souvenirs. While we were there we got our fortunes. Getting a fortune at a shrine consists of giving 100 yen (1 USD) into a collection box, shaking a metal box filled with numbered/lettered sticks, and then taking the fortune paper from the corresponding drawer after your stick comes out. I got number 9 and had a really lucky fortune. The whole time, an older Japanese man was helping us without speaking English or Japanese, just gestures. Then he took our picture with our camera and then he took my photo with his camera… I’m pretty sure he was just an old guy with nothing better to do and wasn’t actually a volunteer or anything. The area surrounding the shrine is nice with covered seating, free green tea, and mist fans since it was hot.
After the shrine, we started walking towards Tokyo Skytree and stopped for lunch along the way. As a resident of Japan and not a tourist, I prefer cute cafes that remind me of Austin over Japanese food because it’s a nice change from what I can find in Fukui. I had a smoked salmon bagel with a perfect side salad (no cabbage and no corn).
We walked along the river and then across making our way closer to Skytree. We were still undecided if we were going to go to the top or just check out the area. The surrounding area/building is really just a shopping mall. Inside we discovered that they offer a wait free option for foreigners, if you pay another 1000 yen. We decided to do that because waiting for an hour+ didn’t seem worth it. I felt kind of rude getting a fastpass when I’m sure some Japanese people were visiting from farther away but have to wait. The elevator is super fast and then you can hangout at the top and check out the view of Tokyo, weather permitting.
After we went back down we had Coldstone ice cream before making our way to Ueno Park. There we wandered around checking out the grounds and observing the hundreds of people staring at their phones like zombies playing PokemonGO. Next stop Akihabara.
Akihabara is known for electronics and anime/otaku culture. We really just wandered around and checked out some shops. There was a group of people trading AKB48 (48 member pop group) cards and a man with a pet meerkat. We came across Carl Jrs. and just ate there for a fast meal.
Then, we headed to Hibaya Park to check out a German BeerFest. I found a mixed/cocktail beer and we listened to some music for a while before heading back for the night.
Sunday! We went to Odaiba with our friends who were going to Ultra. That weekend there was a Mexican festival in Odaiba. We watched a mariachi band, kids playing pinata, and Lucho Libre wrestling. I had fish tacos and got a free avocado tote bag! After, we checked out the Gundam statue, and then went to the trick art museum for some silly photos. We left Odaiba with plans to go to a huge foreign food store to get some snacks/dinner but we decided to just go to Shibuya and find some dinner so we could relax before going out to a club that night. Later we met up with our friends again and headed to Womb Club in Shibuya. The location was the official after party for Ultra. It was a lot of fun but the music got boring to dance to after a while. We left around 3:30 in the morning, checked out another club, and then went to a ramen restaurant before the first train back.
We got back and in bed around 6:00am and then started our last day around 11:30. We went back to Shinjuku and Akihabara before Tokyo Station for some omiyage shopping. Then a sleepy train ride got us back to Sabae and I went right to bed 🙂