It’s Tuesday afternoon and we’ve spent the last three hours catching up on missed sleep from our delayed flight. Now it’s time to take our first look at what Tokyo has to offer!
First on the list was to figure out the transit system. We know our local subway stop is Shin-Okachimachi (the taxi driver’s repetition is forever etched into my memory) so we walked down the street and looked at the ticket machines. Luckily there was an “ENG” button in the corner so it wasn’t a complete disaster! We knew we wanted to get an equivalent to an oyster/presto/octopus card as the complexity of the different journies and prices would waste more time than we had. Tokyo has two different subway companies, which means you often have to transfer between them, paying for the privilege.
We opted for the Pasmo Card as various websites stated that these worked for all subways (and the Suica card may not). We topped up each with 5,000¥ ($60CAD) assuming we’d use around 1,500¥ per day.
With out cards in-hand we jumped on the pink line (Oedo) and navigated towards Ameya Yokocho to wander through some narrow Japanese markets.
I forgot to mention that our AirBnB host provided us with a pocket WiFi – meaning we were always connected to the Internet. This made navigating around the new city 100-times easier!
There were lots of people milling around the streets and picking up snacks. We weren’t so hungry at this point, so chose to just browse instead. I was a little surprised by the number of arcade-shops that had many people trying the “claw” games to win plushy toys. We walked around one – but didn’t try our hand
I was a little thirsty by now and decided to use one of the street vending-machine to get a drink. No English, no problem.
Beyond this street was Ueno Park. On GoogleMaps this looks a huge park with a giant lake in the middle. In reality, the lake is more like a swamp…
So Tokyo in November is actually a little cold (10°C) so we briskly walked around the park, saw some temples and went in search of some dinner.
We took a guess at a small ramen restaurant just outside the park. It was only around 5pm, so most places were empty. The menu was completely in Japanese, so pointing was sufficient to request our dishes.
After dinner we decided to head to the Tokyo SkyTree to see how this looked at night. With GoogleMaps by our side we navigated the subway system and got to the destination first time of asking.
Tokyo SkyTree is illuminated at night and doesn’t actually look that tall, from the naked eye. The Internet assures us that this is higher (2,060ft) than the CN Tower (l,815ft)! We found some workers setting up for their Christmas display, and (in the cold) grabbed a few pictures.
From here we (I) asked for directions to the Pokémon Center so we could see what all the fuss was about. A short 10-minute walk and we were there, in a Pokémon wonderland. Wall-to-wall of plushies, cards, games, snacks!
Walking deeper into the mall area we found a Disney Store (Jane browsed there a while) and UNIQLO. Jane tried on a very nice coat (size small) and it drowned her – no idea how anyone here buys clothes with such crazy sizes.
By this time we were flagging a little so opted to head back to the apartment to try to get back into a normal sleeping pattern. We found “Big Eyes” on Netflix and later called it a night.
Tomorrow we’ll go in search of some Tokyo views and more food!