This will be the first post of our Asia series spanning Tokyo, Kyoto, China (Hangzhou / Shanghai) and Hong Kong. The trip took three weeks in total with the first week spent in Japan, then one and a half weeks in China and a last few days in Honk Kong before flying back to Vancouver.
The trip came about when we found one of the best flight deals, which was a roundtrip from Vancouver to Tokyo, then Hong-Kong and back for about $800 p.P.
I'll tell more about the other trip in the corresponding articles, so let's get started with Tokyo
A recommended way to explore Japan is to buy the train pass for unlimited travel for one or more weeks. Since we only had one week for Japan, which is definitly not much, we opted to focus on Tokyo and Kyoto this time instead. We found an excellent deal that includes taking the Shinkansen Bullet Train from Tokyo to Kyoto and also a stay in hotel for the days for a price that is hard to beat. On that note: Finding a place to stay is suprisingly hard in the bigger cities of Japan, so we also chose to use AirBnB for our first nights in Tokyo.
Our final itinary looked like this:
- Arrive in Tokyo and stay there for two nights exploring the city
- Take train to Kyoto and stay there for three nights
- Come back to Tokyo for another night and explore more parts of the city
After a 10-hour flight we arrived around 6:30 PM on the airport. After picking up our luggage it was already starting to get late, so we headed straight to our stay for the night (you can find us on the pictures of guests he posted). It was located a bit outside of downtown in a more quiet neibourhood and it took us some time to actually find it (Reminder for future: always print out all maps need to find locations or make sure you have an online connection available).
After some searching we were finally able to contact our host Andy and were able to meet up. We got some food together and then got ready for the night, as we had a long day ahead of us.
After getting a peanut-butter toast breakfast at 7-11 (there is one at every second corner) we headed out to explore the city. Because Tokyo is so big (population of 37.8 million, largest city in the world) it actually consists of multiple "Special Wards". These are basically cities on their own (see map of different districts) with each having their unique characteristics and highlights. So when you plan to explore the city you actually have to plan well.
First stop was getting more to eat!
Once we had some more food in our bellies we started heading to the common attractions in Tokyo. First one was the Tokyo Station
Then we continued to the Imperial Palace. To go inside you have to book a special tour, so we just walked around it, which already gave great sights. It's really interesting to see this building out of a different ear in the middle of a modern city.
All the walking makes you tired, so we headed back to the subway station and god some lunch: Clasic Rahmen
After that we started wandering around and in a sudden realization I decided that I need to get my hair cut. After I paid for it (at a vending machine of course, costed abpout $10) I sat down and tried to use hand signs to describe the haircut I wanted. It turned out ok.
Suprised by how fast the time was going by we stared heading to Asakusa: the old trade district. After we arrived we saw a small sign at a door offering a traditional Japanese costume to explore the area. In the past JJ told me multiple times how much she wanted to try wearing one, so I agree that we could head in and take a look. Once inside she immediately started to try on dresses while I sat on the side and watched. Of course it didn't take long for me to start taking a look at the male dresses as well and before I could say anything I was in one as well.
As it was getting dark we decided to find a nice place to get dinner. So we hopped on the train to the next Ward and continued our exploration.
To Add: Tokyo Skytree
Day 3 - 5: Kyoto
see different post
We arrived pretty late from Lyoto, so we had to limit our sightseeing tour a lot. First stop was the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Center, which offers great views and has free entry.
After that we headed to the Shibuya district for some nightlife action
On the last day we only had a few hours left before we had to catch our flight, so we finally visited the Tsukiji fish market. Apparently they plan to move it Novemver 2016, so it's good we checked it out. I was quite interesting to see how many people are working there in a small space and then also having all the tourists walking through it.
This is the end of our Japan trip. We really hope to come back there again in the future, there is so much more to explore!