24 Hours in Tokyo
With 37 million people calling Tokyo home, it is a wide expanse to cover in just a day. However, we decided to attempt the impossible.
After experiencing the best plane food of our lives, we touched down in Japan’s capital in the early evening before spending another three hours finding our way to the hotel. We arrived just before midnight, only to find out that our booking had been made for July and not June. Exhaustion was at its peak and frustration was kicking in as we tried to contact home to sort out the predicament and payment plans. Finally, after about 12 hours of travel, we made it into our room and fell straight to sleep.
We woke up early the next morning to head to the Tsukiji fish markets, a must-do in almost every Tokyo guide. It was difficult to get into heart of the markets and those leaving were wearing heavy-duty gumboots, so we decided to explore the outer markets instead. These were packed with trinkets and sushi breakfasts. One restaurant in particular had a large line, so we decided to hop in it to find out what all the fuss was about! We had no idea what the food entailed or the price, but hey, "When in Tokyo" as the saying goes... After about 30 minutes of waiting, we heard a strangely familiar Aussie voice drift past, and who was it?! MATT freaking OKINE - Australian comedian and the Triple J breakfast presenter. We called out, as we couldn't leave our line, but unfortunately old mate had disappeared into the crowded market alley. We were whirling from this completely random celebrity sighting, but little did we know that this wouldn't be the last...
After another half hour, we made it into the tiny restaurant where we were served up an array of sushi, nigiri and sashimi. OH LORDY it was the Best Sushi Ever. We had no idea what meat we were eating or how much the set menu was going to cost, but every mouthful was so damn good, the food just melted away. We went to pay, and it was 3,700¥ each, or approximately A$50. This sucked as we only brought $150 to spend in Tokyo, so whoops, there goes a third of our dollars on breakfast! Regrets? Absolutely... NOT.
Once well fed, we headed over to Tokyo's shopping districts, Shibuya and Harajuku. We were told that we MUST visit Shibuya 109, an eight-story-high shopping mall filled to the brim with quirky clothes. It took us hours to comb through all the garment and accessories, and we must mention that their sock collections were off the hooook! Right outside was the famous Shibuya crossing which we had to stop at to watch the sea of people swarm.
We then strolled to Harajuku where we had caught wind of a three-story Daiso. When we arrived, we filled up on matcha goodies and then walked through what seemed like Narnia to a FORTH STORY! Could our day get any better? Yes. Yes it could.
As we were walking through Harajuku, we noticed a bunch of people hurrying to enter a shop on Takeshita (yes, that is the name) Street, so we slipped through, and lo and behold we had walked into a filming of a Japanese talk show! People seemed to be frothing over these celebrities, but we had absolutely no clue so we just had a quick wander around the store and then left. After being shopped out, we decided it would be wise to balance out our day with a bit of Japanese culture, so we walked to the Meiji Shrine, which was hidden amongst the most green forest we have ever laid eyes on. And the strangest part was that it's in the middle of Tokyo.
The Shrine was absolutely beautiful with traditional architecture. Here we paid our respects, literally, to Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken by throwing money into a grated box area, bowing twice, clapping twice and then bowing again. On our way out we ate a well-searched for matcha soft-serve and then headed back to the hotel.
Finally, after navigating the public transport systems, we managed our way home and went to the local ramen store where we ate some damn good ramen - a damn good ending to a damn good day, which marks the damn good beginning of a damn good trip.
Observation of Tokyo: In public toilets they play SFX of toilets flushing whilst you pee. We have no idea why, perhaps to hide the sound of you peeing? This is strange though because everyone who goes in can assume that you are peeing, and thus why hide it with SFX? We will never know.