Wednesday – time to hit the streets again and get exploring. This time by myself. First up the Imperial Palace East Gardens. I managed to navigate the trains successfully – in itself an achievement. A local sim and google maps is really essential here. The gardens were nice. Tokyo really does get great autumnal colours.
I strolled away from Chiyoda where the palace is and towards Korakuen. I found a much smaller and less touristy temple to check out. After stopping for a coffee and some food I kept strolling towards Akihabara – stopping to grab some street shots. The rail network which is everywhere looks pretty cool.
Finally Shibuya – this is where the famous road crossing with hundreds of people flooding the road every time the lights change. It is an amazing people watching spot. It is probably the most famous/iconic spot in Tokyo. An essential part of the Tokyo experience. Plenty of nightlife round here with endless bars and restaurants.
Thursday was a more mellow day and I was not up for covering as much ground. I headed to Shimokitisawa – a really cool area with a totally different vibe from busy areas like Akihabara and Shibuya. It is way more mellow, pretty trendy, with lots of small streets full of shops, cafes and bars. Grafitti and cool bicycles and mopeds are everywhere. A great place to hang out. I loved some of the typically Japanese details – the innovative bike and car parking, the incredibly realistic fake food displays, the horrifically busy presentation and white light in some stores, the proud display of certain items – like Campbells soup.
Thursday evening was a mellow affair. Dinner at a local place followed by a movie.
Friday I ventured a little further and went down to Yokohama. I kinda wish I had come down here at night when it was all lit up but it was still cool to look at. It was good to spend some time by the water and taking in the sights. The area is again much quieter than central Tokyo and the coastline has a distinctive look to it. After a lunch stop I moved more towards the older part of town away from the shiny new buildings and strolled around.
Wary of how busy trains get at rush hour I headed back to Shibuya to meet Andy. What followed was a night of debauchery culminating in me yet again not going to bed but instead racing across Tokyo with my board bag and other luggage, just about making it to the airport in time to start my long journey home.