Japan is one of the places I wanted to visit. To be honest, I only want to see Tokyo and Kyoto. Last April, I was lucky enough to find a great deal to Phoenix-Manila-Tokyo-Phoenix flights. Then tried my best to get a transit visa for Japan (since I’m staying less than 24 hours in Tokyo).

Soon enough, the 4 days stay in Manila is over and bound to Tokyo in Less Than 24 Hours. Yes! I thought. It would be tight and my feet would have to sprint or run in order to see as much places I can. I arrived at 11 o’clock night time after a more than 1 hour train from airport to my hostel. I wanted to see the Shibuya crossing but trains are closed and the great hostel people said, it wouldn’t be worth it to take taxi and spend to much just to see the crossing and back. I listened.


Where To Stay

Due to my time limitation, I decided to stay in a hostel close to train station. This time, I decided to extend my budget a little bit but still right with a discount travel range. It’s cozy enough to have my own privacy and still on a budget. It was $30/night. It was April when I travelled, not the peak season which is great for budget too. Here are my recommendations for accommodation in Tokyo.


Where to Eat

The next day, I woke up really early and checked out. I went to Shibuya crossing by train, it was confusing because not so many people speaks English. I got there anyway and walked up to Starbucks to get a good shot of the crossing. Then I got myself a brunch in this little Ramen shack.

It was cool, that everything is ordered using a machine a ‘vendo machine’ like, the waiter is nice enough to help me and he speaks broken English that will help me get my Ramen. They are all polite. There is no scarce in finding food in Tokyo. There are a lot of authentic Japanese Restaurants, to western fast food chains, and vendo machines everywhere! No excuse to be hungry.


Where I Went

  • Shibuya Crossing
  • Eaten Authentic Ramen
  • Harajuku Street
  • Meiji Shrine

There are more places I could have gone around Tokyo, but the timing is a little off. It has given me the taste of Japan that I will have to come back for more.

Off to the Harajuku Street. I arrived at 9AM there, it was the hip and cool place of Tokyo but most shops are still closed. Although, there are already a lot of kids hanging out waiting for the shops to open. I’ve even seen western couple dressed up in Comicon costumes by all means I am not familiar with. The feel of Harajuku reminded me of Bugis in Singapore but way cool due to the costumes and interesting characters you see around. After a long straight walk of the street, just few blocks away is the Meiji Shrine.

The Meiji Shrine is popular not only to tourists but also with locals and students. It is part of vast Japanese history and culture. The shrine is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife.

I love how serene the place is, despite how crowded the place can get. The forest around it and creeks is very soothing but also, Japanese crowd is that polite that they do not want unnecessary noise to bother others. The long walk to the shrine will tell you how popular the place is, bunch of students, tour groups, individuals are walking. The day I went, the shrine itself is closed due to renovations but we get to walk around the vicinity where the square is.

There were souvenir shop, Chozuya (water fountain at the shrine to purify oneself), and wooden tablets (one writes their wishes). Beside the shrine are small envelopes where you write your wished for a donation, if you do not want your wishes out in the open. You write down your wishes on the paper and put it in an envelope and drop it in an enclosed box.

I’ve mentioned Chozuya, there are steps of purification and here’s a helpful video on how to do it.

That was the end of my short trip to Tokyo, it left me wanting for more. I will be back, for sure. What about you? Have you been to Tokyo? What would you recommend people who has not been? Tips and hacks you can share about Tokyo are all welcome!

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