Tokyo

    I've wanted to go to Japan for a while and this trip was my chance. I did virtually no planning and had almost no idea of what I was going to see or even what I was going to do. Nothing like turning up somewhere unexpected

    I arrived on a Saturday night, still on US time, so I crawled into bed at the hotel and passed out. The problem was, I was wide awake by 4am. Not wanting to missing anything as soon as it got light I was out of there. I actually did not know how early it was until I discovered I was on the second train of the morning heading into the middle of Tokyo.

    It is actually really cool being there that early in the morning. I expected people everywhere, but the place was deserted, entire city streets with no one on them. To some extent, it was like the city had been abandoned, I loved it.

    I headed for the main Tokyo station, walked to the Imperial Palace, then off to Yasukuni Shrine before circumnavigating the Palace and heading towards Akihabara then on to Asakusabash before taking the train to Harajuku and walking to Shibuya on the other side of Tokyo. Look it up on a map, its a lot of walking.

    If you're in Tokyo, go to the Metropolitan Government Building. It has two towers, you can go up them for free and they offer a spectacular view of Tokyo.

    I did a day trip to Kyoto, but those photos are on another page. My hotel also had an aquarium attached (I swear I did not know this when I booked it) so I had to go in and see the dolphins, which made me sad about seeing dolphins in captivity, but the smaller tanks of crustations I found much more enjoyable.

    I spent half a day wandering around area around the hotel in Shinagawa, not really a tourist precinct. I could tell as I'd often get second glances from people as I wandered around, but you would walk around the corner and find a temple or perhaps a garden, totally unexpected.

    I visited Tokyo tower, this time at night. I love cities at night and plus I had already had the arial view during the day. Less people too. If you do go, walk from the station, much nicer than taking a taxi or bus, it will take you about 15 minutes.

    The last day was my designated shopping day. I started with a walk to the fish market, but I was too late for the wholesale market and too early for the retail market. I think I'm glad, the smell was a little, umm, too fishy for my tastes. Then I wandered over to Ginzo, which I think is the more upmarket area before heading for Akihabara, which wasn't open. Curse my early morning starts!

    I spent some time at Shibuya people watching, then back to Akihabara to take in the electronics and toy stores. I could spend so much money there. Most of the computer stuff was so-so, but the ranges of electronics was great and the toys. Oh, such wonderful, geeky toys.

    I've said it before, but I did love wandering around the backstreets. Tokyo felt very safe and it was so much more relaxing, instead of being with the hordes on the main street, walk up the one parallel to it, a fraction of the people and probably a lot more interesting

    The train system is freakishly effective. Apparently in England a train runs on time if it arrives/departs 8 minutes either side of its scheduled time, which is a 16 minute window. England has 80% of its trains run on time. In Japan, a train runs on time if it leaves/departs within 10 seconds of its scheduled time, so a 20 second window. In Japan 98% of trains run on time. Wow.

    It is also very complicated, but easy to figur eout. Just look at some of the maps. And they're the above ground maps, I don't have any of the underground system, but I don't think I ever got lost or had too much of a problem buying a ticket and I went everywhere by train.


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The Japanese Imperial Palace
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Footpath along the edge of the Imperial Palace
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Moat at the Imperial Palace
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Trees in Kitanomaru Park
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Lion guards in Kitanomaru Park
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Tayasu-mon Gate, Kitanomaru Park (The orginal edo era castle)
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More of the old moat around the Edo Castle
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Outside of the Tayasu-mon Gate
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Yasukuni Shrine getting ready for the Mitama Festival
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Statue in Yasukuni Shrine, Memorial to all the dogs left during the war
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Shinchi Teien, Yasukuni Shrine
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Yasukuni Shrine, in preparation for the Mitama Festival
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Building opposite the British Embassy
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Spiders, they were all over the bushes
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Moat around the Imperial Castle
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Sakuradamon Gate, Edo Castle
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Nijubashu Bridge, Edo Castle
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Nijubashu Bridge
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Pine trees outside the Castle
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Original walls of Edo Castle
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This says "Pygmy Waterlily" apparently
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Gardens around Edo Castle
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More of the gardens around Edo Castle
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The original moat
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Hirakawa-mon Gate - Imperial Palace East Gardens
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Purple plants by the streets
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I liked this statue
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The streets of Tokyo
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Main strip of Harajuku
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The cross road of Harajuku
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Backstreets of Harajuku, I loved wandering around the backstreets
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Walking from Harajuku to Shibuya Station
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Crossing one of the main streets on the walk
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Shibuya, main square outside the station
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The monument to Hachiko, Shibuya Station
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View from the top of the Metropolitan Government Building
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More fo the view
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You can see a long way
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In all directions
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Except it wasn't overly clear
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Shinjuku Station
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View from my hotel in Shinagawa
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Same view in the morning
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Crayfish in the aquarium in my hotel at Shinagawa
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And a hairy crayfish
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I found Nemo!
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Another crayfish
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A cute little shrimp
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Houseboats in Shinagawa Harbour
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Ebara Jinja Shrine in Shinagawa
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I really liked this shrine, was very unexpected
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And hidden in the middle of Shinagawa
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More of Ebara Jinja Shrine
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Footpath along the Meguro-gawa (River) in Shinagawa
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The Meguro-gawa
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Looking towards Osaki Station
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Japan is covered in vending machines in the most bizarre locations
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Looking across at Shinagawa Station
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Big roads in Tokyo
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Walking up towards Tokyo Tower
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Sangedatsu Gate, Zojo-ji Temple
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Tokyo Tower
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The rare sight of roadworks in Tokyo
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Tokyo Tower
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Lots of night time shots of Tokyo
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Tokyo at night
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Tokyo at night
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Tokyo at night
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Tokyo at night
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Tokyo at night
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Tokyo at night
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Tokyo at night
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Tokyo at night
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Tokyo at night
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Tokyo at night
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Tokyo at night
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Tokyo at night
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The girders of Tokyo Tower
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Tokyo Tower
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Walking back to the station from Tokyo Tower
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The roadworks have spread up to the temple
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Corner bar in Hana Hana
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Walking towards to Hamamatsucho Station
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The menu
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Looking back from the station up to Tokyo Tower
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The JR Rail map of Tokyo, The arrow comes in handy
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Lit tree near my hotel
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Decoration on a railing near the Tsukiji Fish Market
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Downtown Tokyo (Ginzo)
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Shops in Akihabara
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Godzilla poster :)
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Shibuya Crossing
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Another one of the crossing, apparently one of the busiest in Tokyo
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Back alley of Akihabara
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Main street of Akihabara
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Ginza at night
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Waiting for the train in Shimbashi Station
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View from my hotel room
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And another shot from my hotel room
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Me getting ready for returning to Australia
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I'm looking very serious aren't I?
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A different version of the rail map
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Hong Kong airport, its almost surreal
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Last modified: May 27 2012 02:24:52.
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