After waking up bright and early, excited for a full day exploring Tokyo. I went to a nearby cafe to get some coffee and mull over a Lonely Planet guide of Tokyo to plan my day.. if only this was life everyday..
Tsukiji Fish Market
I decided to first check out the Tsukiji fish market first as it is only opens in the morning and is quite close to Asakusa.
The Tsukiji fish market is the largest in the world, the fish are auctioned every morning. This auction sets the price for fish all over the world. If you're willing to get up early enough (or just not sleep..) you might be one of the lucky 120 tourists who can watch this auction every morning, my hostel offered this trip, just a 2.45am start! Just think of that fresh sushi breakfast..
Tsukiji Fish Market: 5 Chome-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0045, Japan
The Sony Building, Ginza
I had a spontaneous stop of at Ginza, a high-end shopping district. I had a look around The Sony Building and discovered their Museum of Technology, showcasing of how Sony's technology has advanced over the years. It was a reminder of how incredibly fast technology advances, and it made me feel extremely old to see products I remember using in an actual museum. If you go to this building make sure you have a go on the melody staircase, each step lights up and makes a noise as you step on it! So Japanese.
The Sony Building: 5-3-1 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan
After this, I decided to go for a walk around the Imperial Gardens, we stopped here on the bike tour but didn't go inside the grounds. I liked this about the bike tour, you got a good overview of most of the main sites, so you can later decide to go back to sites which interested you more.
Imperial Garden's Tokyo: 1-1 Chiyoda, Tokyo 100-8111, Japan
My next stop was Mikata, home to the Ghibli Studios Museum. Now, I researched this beforehand and it turns out you have to book a ticket months in advance to get into this museum, there were none left even when I had looked over a month in advance of my trip. It turned out that the museum was actually closed for maintenance for two weeks over the time I was visiting, this made me feel a bit better about missing out, as I wouldn't have got a ticket even if I had been more organised. The exterior of the museum is as tantalising as a Ghibli movie, shrouded in leaves with just a touch of abnormality to the decor. Ben and I will almost definitely cross through Tokyo on our travels later this year, so we will make sure we get tickets to go next time! (Update: this did happen I did get to go in!)
Ghibli Museum: 1 Chome-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-0013, Japan
The Ghibli Studios Museum is located in the picturesque Inokashira park. I spent some time walking around the area and even hired a paddle boat and bobbed along the lake for a while. I left the park a different way from where I entered, which lead me down a street full of quirky, vintage shops and the biggest Uniqlo store I've ever seen. So, my trip out to Mikata wasn't so bad at all, even without the Ghibli Museum.
Address: Japan, 〒180−0005 東京都武蔵野市御殿山1−18−31
Shinjuku Metropolitan Government Building
A trip to a city isn't complete without a birds-eye view. Noel told us about the viewing deck from the 45th floor of the government building, free entry and no queues! So I headed there and watched the sunset from the top of the city. It was a spectacular and made the city look like a glittering, concrete ocean.
Address: 2 Chome-8-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 163-8001, Japan
Once the sun went down, given my location, it seemed like heading to Shibuya was naturally the next thing to do. I went and observed the busiest crossing in the world at its busiest time, and took in the neon chaos. This is the Tokyo I had envisioned.
While in Shibuya I had my first experience of a 'vendor restaurant', where you use a vending machine outside the restaurant to choose your meal and pay. You hand your receipt to a chef inside the restaurant and the cook it up right in front of you. This is a cheap and super efficient way of eating out. It's a great way of eating if you're alone or just look to grab a casual bite to eat.
I really covered a lot of ground during this day, you do fit more things in when travelling alone, although sharing the experience with others is always more special.
Sensō-ji temple at night
I headed back to the Asakusa after dinner, another beauty in the location of the wonderful Origami hostel is the fact you have to walk through the Sensō-ji temple to get there from the train station. It really is quite spectacular at night. We stopped by on our bike tour but it's crammed full of tourists during the day. By night, it is magical.
Address: 2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo 111-0032, Japan