Our hotel was located in Narita. It was really far from Tokyo but my wanderlust was telling me to go go go!
I was more nervous in commuting into Tokyo than any other city in the world. Aside from the fact that I knew I would be alone in going to Tokyo, It's also because the city has the most complicated railway network of any city. Even more complicated than the one in Seoul. And commuting from Narita to Tokyo, alone, for the first time, was a very frightening thing. Getting lost was not an option because taxis are very expensive (think hundreds of US Dollars) and the language barrier.
Regardless of all my fears, I pushed through. When morning came, I first took an airport shuttle from our hotel to the airport and from the airport I waited for another bus going to Tokyo Station.
|Bus stop number 19 to Tokyo and Ginza Station.|
|Inside the bus.|
Nearing Tokyo city, The bus slowed down to a snail's pace, traffic became heavy. I guess in my head I really didn't think Tokyo had traffic because they are technologically advanced and stuff but I guess that's a stupid thought. How can a major city not have traffic?
|Heavy traffic in Tokyo. This was my view.|
|Waiting for the train to Shinjuku.|
|Inside the train. So many ads!|
I went out at Shinjuku-gyoenmae station because I really wanted to go to Shinjukugyoen. It was the setting for Makoto Shinkai's anime movie The Garden of Words. Being the anime fan that I am, I wanted to take a picture of the place and get a feel for the anime and Tokyo leisurely life. Shinjukugyoen by the way is, I think, the only "public" park in the world that requires an entrance fee: 200 JPY.
It was closed. I was mortified, I woke up early in the morning to catch the first bus to the city and took a two hour bus ride from Narita to Tokyo, got lost for a bit, and then then from Tokyo station I rode the subway to Shinjuku-gyoenmae which was like eight stations away and now the place I was so excited to see and go to is closed. Wow. Then it dawned on me. It was December 24, it was Christmas eve, why would it not be closed?
I didn't know what else to do. I walked back past Shinjuku-gyoenmae station into Shinjuku station. But then I remembered what I wanted to buy in Japan. There is one thing I have always wanted to try in Japan that I have always seen in anime but never got the opportunity to try: The Bento Box.
And so I began to search for a Bento Box right around Shinjuku Station.
|Shinjuku station straight ahead.|
|Yoshinoya is fastfood.|
|A shopping street right by Shinjuku Station.|
|I got lost in some alleyway searching for the Bento Box.|
I found a lot of Ramen and Sushi place but no Bento. I was getting very hungry because I didn't have breakfast that morning so I thought I would go inside Shinjuku station because in animes they usually get bento boxes in train stations right?
|Inside Shinjuku station. It's Christmas eve and the people are still very busy!|
|Subway line heading back to Tokyo station.|
When I got to Tokyo station I opened my GPS and I realized I was very near the Tokyo Imperial Palace complex. So I decided to postpone looking for a restaurant and head to the Imperial Palace.
|Crossing the street I took photos of random people.|
|A couple. Kawaii!|
|Took a photo quickly while crossing the street.|
|Entrance to the Palace complex from Tokyo Station.|
|Fountain graced with a rainbow right by the plaza in the palace complex.|
|Beautiful fountain in the imperial palace complex.|
|Entrance of the Tokyo Imperial Palace|
|Pathway to Tokyo Imperial Palace.|
Well seeing as Shinjukugyoen was closed this was probably the next best thing. I was very happy it was open on Christmas eve.
|A tree right by the entrance.|
|An old house for the palace guards.|
|Beautifully made lamp post.|
|A path leading up the hill further into the east gardens.|
Entering the East Gardens there were a bunch of guard houses from the olden days. I walked and walked until I reached a path leading upwards towards a huge hill.
|Site of Tenshukaku Donjon. The burned down used-to-be tallest tower in Edo Castle.|
|View of the city from the top of the Donjon|
|View of the East Gardens from the donjon.|
|Middle of the East Gardens.|
|Pathways leading out of the East Gardens.|
|A miracle photo. I thought the leaves would be dark from the light of the sky but no! My favorite photo in this trip.|
|Another Guard house along the path leading down the East Gardens.|
|The exit to the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace.|
From the east gardens I went back to Tokyo station where I got lost again! hahaha but getting lost had a good side. I finally found the place where they sell Bento Boxes!
|A Pokemon Store near the place where they sell Bento!|
|Bento Boxes. So expensive but delicious!|
|A Lady looking straight into my camera while I was taking Photos of the place.|
|Look at the size of that sushi roll! It's bigger than the guy's arm!|
|REAL PEELED CRAB STICKS and salmon roe.|
I bought one bento box to eat in the bus back to Narita and one more bento box to eat as dinner before my flight back.
Overall, This short trip to Tokyo deepened my love for the Japanese culture and besides, whenever I see cute Japanese folk I could only think: "Kawaii, you look like the anime I watch" haha. The people were always very nice and sincere, and you could always see how dedicated they were to each of their respective work and the things and food you buy there where always 101% quality guaranteed, never devious.
I loved the trip overall and I would definitely love to go there again to explore more and get a better feel of the place especially when it's not a holiday.
Until my next trip, Sayonara!