SAM IN JAPAN: TOKYO

Hello fellows, so as I promised last week I’ll be going over what I did in Tokyo in a little bit more detail.  I’ll be talking briefly about food, shopping, sites to see and a little bit on craft shops for those that maybe interested.

So Tokyo, where to start?  It’s a busy, bustling, fast paced roller coaster ride where if you stop you will most likely get bull dozed over.  I’m kidding it’s not that bad but sometimes it you just felt that way.  Tokyo is definitely a happening place.  Literally everywhere you go it is non stop and there is something happening everywhere you go.  Shopping is just insane, with several storey buildings of shops which consist of some of the nicest fashion you’ve ever seen to some of the weirdest fashion you’ve ever seen.  Tokyo is definitely a fashion hub for the very eager shopper, especially places such as Shinjuku, Shibuya and Ginza.  Shinjuku and Shibuya are more targeted to a younger crowd from I’d say early teens to the early twenties whilst Ginza is more your branded goods such as Gucci, Prada, Fendi, Loui Vuiton and many other luxury brand items.  Shibuya is close to Harajuku (Harajuku being the more alternative fashion than your more mainstream) and Omotesando (a few more luxury branded items) so if you do plan to do a lot of shopping, give yourself a day around this area, it will most likely not be enough but enough to satisfy your shopping needs.

Food is absolutely cheap here, and when I say cheap I mean cheap (according to Australian standards).  You can buy a cup of coffee in Tokyo for around $2.00 or less.  It might not be amazing coffee (it was really hard to find a café that made good coffee) but if you need a caffeine fix it will have to do.  I did prior research into where I could find some good cafes that specialised in coffee but unfortunately with the time schedule and everything being hidden away and written in Japanese (if you can read Japanese you will benefit a lot) it was much too difficult to find.  Although their coffee may not be great their desserts are a culinary delight for the eyes and mouth.  Most desserts, especially their cakes are immaculately presented and are cute to the absolute max!  Also it’s not only their dessert but also their food is extremely well presented, even their junk food looks nice as well!  If you’re looking at eating on the go when you’re in Japan, if you’re not picky and you just want to fill you stomach I recommend heading into a 7 eleven, Lawson, Family Mart (all of these are convenience stores) and just grab a rice ball or bento box to carry around with you if you plan to cover a lot of ground on the day.  If not then just duck into a restaurant, however with my previous experience a lot of the Japanese people did not speak English, so be prepared to do lots of pointing holding up numbers on fingers.  If you’re looking at eating out at restaurants and such the most you’ll pay is $18 for a meal (if the place is not too ritzy).  A lot of places especially near shopping districts offer many cheap eats, some starting at just $3.00 for a bento box.  if you plan to eat some where a bit more extravagent then I would recommend making a booking before hand and knowing roughly what you want before going.  If you’re staying in a hotel the concierge will usually help you make restaurant bookings if you request it.

If you’re looking for art supplies, yes it is a little off the mark but it’s what I enjoy, so for those that are interested you can check out Tokyu hands.  There are a lot more arts and crafts shops but honestly if you don’t have lots of time, Tokyu hands is your one stop destination.  I found this website that gives a great map and provides great info on a couple of craft shops in the Shinjuku area http://blackcabbit.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/craft-stores-shinjuku/

This is just skimming the surface of what you can see and do in Tokyo, there’s so many incredibly cute cafes, strange shops, out there fashion, galleries, exhibitions and more.  I wish I had spent more time in Tokyo but I guess this just gives me another excuse to go back again.  For more pics from Tokyo you can see the set here on my flickr site.  Next week look forward to Yudanaka, a hot spring town and the bathing monkeys.

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