Tuesday, January 29, 2013


We are writing this blog post on the Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka. On Saturday 1/26 we (Joe and TashaRose) took the Shinkansen to Tokyo for our free weekend. The ride was so smooth and we even got a glimpse of beautiful Mt. Fuji along the way! After a quick 3 hour train ride we arrived at Tokyo Station in the heart of the world's largest city.

Tokyo Station is one of the world's largest commuter stations. Everywhere you look you see crowds of people, delicious restaurants, fancy stores, etc. We decided to explore a nearby 14 floor Daimaru department store. On the main floor we watched gourmet candy-making and admired the enticing displays of every kind of food imaginable. On the 10th floor we got to see beautiful kimonos and silk tapestries that were over ¥1,000,000.00!

After a quick lunch we walked through the vast gardens of the Imperial Palace. 

After unsuccessfully explaining our destination to two different taxi drivers, we made it to our hostel on foot by 4pm. Tokyo HI hostel was located on the 18th floor of a high-rise building in the Shinjuku area. We had an incredible view of the city (a small section of it) from our room. The city was far more expansive than we had ever imagined!

After an hour of being off our feet (we calculated that we walked at least five miles that day and our feet were killing us!) we went to an Indian restaurant for a vegetarian dinner. We were amused that the music in the restaurant wasn't Indian sitar music but American country-western songs. 

After dinner we set out for the neon-lights of Shibuya crossing which is known as the "Times Square of Tokyo" but after experiencing the incredible crowds and stampede of pedestrians rushing across the immense intersection, we think Times Square should really be called the "Shibuya Crossing of America". We spent the next few hours wandering in awe at the cacophony of music, people, and traffic. We noted that Tokyo had many more gaijin (foreigners) than Osaka. We walked around for another couple hours and eventually made it back to our hostel and collapsed into bed.

On Sunday morning we visited Tokyo Tower which was the highlight of our weekend. We were able to view the whole city of Tokyo from 155 meters above street level. At the base of Tokyo Tower there was an event taking place in which local firefighters climbed the stairs in Tokyo Tower as part of a competition. There was a street fair atmosphere including food made by the local firefighters who prepared their own recipes for the crowd. After we snapped some photos with some large costumed caricatures we crammed into a small elevator with a dozen or so fellow sightseers. The 360 degree view of Tokyo was unforgettable and we were thrilled to again see Mt. Fuji, a full 95 kilometers to the west. 

Our time in Tokyo (only 28 hours) was an experience of a lifetime!!
By TashaRose  and Joe

1 comment:

  1. Amazing story, very vivid account of your experiences. I could feel my heart race when I read about Shibuya crossing!
    Love you xoxox miss you