Tokyo in Three Days
What do you do in three short days in Tokyo? Well if you were me, only just about everything.
After just barely finding location for the night bus to Tokyo and only finding it after a very generous taxi driver, I realized that the seats on the bus were slightly less than comfortable. My advice for anyone about to take a nightbus to anywhere in Japan is be prepared for a very uncomfortable. Also, since it is a "night bus" you'll be riding from late night and reach your destination in the early morning. We arrived in Tokyo at around 5:30am after stopping for about every two hours for 20 minutes.
I only slept about an hour or two on the way to Tokyo, but as soon as I arrived in Tokyo at Shinjuku station I felt rejuvenated. Rejuvenated enough in fact, that after finding my Hostel located on the other side of Tokyo in Asakusa I immediately started exploring Japan. My first stop was in the Ueno shopping district to meet a friend. Thanks to the aid of my friend and another friend who I'd just met for the first time that day, I was able to see all the major sites in Tokyo on my first day.
A dreaded place for some, Akiharabara is home to the infamous Otakus (or "geeks"). The streets were flooded with people (much like all of Tokyo actually), and it was nothing less of a Mecca if electronics, manga, or video games are your thing. Admittedly, I found myself along with my friends going to a "Maid Cafe Massage Parlor." Essentially a massage parlor devoted to gaming and anime fans. No photography was allowed, but my friend managed to sneak a photo.
If you want to come to Tokyo to do shopping, you don't have to go any further than Shibuya. Of course you'll just have to wrestle with the millions of other people looking to come shopping. Shibuya is home to the self-proclaimed "busiest crosswalk in the world." Imagine a four-sided crosswalk, each literally swarming with people and when the light says "go," it becomes a sea of swarming shoppers. Simply amazing.
Home to some of Tokyo's most prominent people, it is also known for being a central gathering place for foreigners. Roppongi Hills is a tall skyscraper where visitors are allowed to climb to the top for a magnificent view of the city, including Tokyo Tower. Since this was a holiday (and Tokyo afterall), there were swarms of people gathering for a magnificent night-view of Tokyo. It was impossible to see where exactly the sprawling city ended.
The following day I went to Yasukuni shrine. Since it's quite contraversial because of Prime Minister's Junichiro Koizumi's occasional visit, I felt I had to stop by and take a look. The shrine is nestled in the middle of an otherwise urban part of time. Yet, the shrine area is quiet and peaceful. The shrine looked like any ordinary shrine, but inside a building beside the shrine is a museum. The museum included exhibits from Japan's wars during the 19th and 20th centuries. Although no photography was allowed, I have photos from the exhibits that allowed photography.
Welcome to America
Just for kicks, I stopped by the American embassy. Or at least as close as I could get before being told by security I couldn't go any further. I have a very blurry picture of the American flag flying high over the embassy, but it was the best I could do. Seeing the American flag flying over the incredibly large building was quite awe-inspiring.
All in all, Tokyo is an amazing city and I have every intention of going back. For anyone considering travelling to Japan, I recommend Tokyo as a first stop. You won't be disappointed.