A few days in Tokyo was just what I needed to relax and destress. After finding out that my friend Yuri, who I met in Taiwan, is living and working in the bustling city of Tokyo, I booked a ticket to visit her and enjoy Tokyo. I visited Tokyo before with my parents a few years ago, but we didn't get to see much because we were there for a day and our hotel was about an hour away. This time I had my wonderful friends and many recommendations to finally enjoy Tokyo. Though there's not as much to see and do as compared to Kyoto, it was still a lively experience and one I would love to do again.
You absolutely can't leave Tokyo without visiting Asakusa. It's a district in Tokyo with the popular and beautiful temple Senso-ji, tours on the water bus, delicious Japanese food, and more than enough stalls to get your touristy shopping done.
My new friend Fei-Jan, who is a friend of Yuri's from Taiwan showed me around Shinjuku and we walked through Korean Town and the downtown district where we visited Golden Gai and had dinner at a kaiten sushi (Japanese sushi-go-round). The kaiten sushi we went to was vegetarian friendly so you won't have to worry about only having seafood options.
Golden Gai is a unique small area of a few streets of bars so tiny that around ten people can fit inside. It's a popular drinking spot for tourists. If you are feeling fancy like I did my first night, visit one of the many wine bars in the Shinjuku area. We enjoyed a nice glass of wine and appetizing canapés.
ABOVE | Sumida River at Asakusa
BELOW | Asakusa Skyline
Shopping in Tokyo
Shibuya was my favorite place to shop, and it's a popular shopping destination in Tokyo. Here you'll also find the famous Shibuya crossing and the eccentric neighborhood Harajuku. I spent hours walking around and shopping at all my favorite stores and at Japanese stores.
There were all the big name stores and the ones I couldn't resist going into like Lush, MAC, Kiehl's, H&M, Aesop, American Eagle, and countless other ones.
You know how it is when you visit another country, but there are stores that you always shop at no matter what even though you can visit them at home anytime? Well, I had that moment many times.
Eating in Tokyo
With so many restaurants to choose from, I ate at a variety of them by myself and with friends: Italian, Japanese, and even Turkish. My favorite was our huge and delicious meal at an Indian and Thai restaurant. We ordered enough food to feed a group of people, but us three ladies enjoyed it all to ourselves.
Above | Omikuji (御御籤, 御神籤, or おみくじ) are fortune telling
strips found at Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan.
Thank you Tokyo
Thank you to my welcoming and kind friends who gave me a place to stay and showed me around Tokyo. Thank you Tokyo for a getaway weekend. It's been a little hectic at home and sometimes you just need to get away - sometimes as far as another country to clear your mind and rejuvenate your body and soul. I'm ready to take on these next weeks in Korea; I'll be leaving my job in a couple weeks and will finishing with packing to make my move to the U.S. It sure has been a year to remember.