On my first day of touring Tokyo I decided to get off at the main JR station stop 'Tokyo' right in the centre of the city to walk around and see if there was anything of nots. Unfortuneatley Tokyo was quite different to all of the other cities I had explored in the all the things to see are incredibly spread out through the while city, so the area I went to was just a built up business district.
After that I decided to go somewhere my guide book suggested, Shinjuku. Leaving the station was a lot more interesting here with impressive skyscrapers immediately in front and shopping and eating places with vibrant adds everywhere I looked. The first attraction i saw here was Shinjuku Gyoen, an amazingly well thought out garden, with an 'english landscape' section to it as well as french and other cultured sections. There was a lot more cherry blossom here than i had seen before which was amazing to see especially when the wind blew and all the petals flew down everywhere.
Next I went up the Tokyo Metropolitan Building, a free way to see a viee from above of Tokyo. The weather was quite hazy however so I couldn't see quite a few of the things you can on a clear day, like Mount Fuji. The city still managed to surprise me with the sheer size even with the bad weather.
The Golden Gai was my last stop here, with tiny narrow streets that went to unique bars and restaurants, this area reminded me of a smaller 'the rocks' from Sydney.
My next trip into Tokyo was to the Tsukiji fish market in the morning. I arrived later than I meant to because I got lost, which would become a theme in Tokyo, and so there were a lot of tourists already there and the market was winding down. I did get to see most of it however with different kinds/parts of fish in every stall, nearly all brightly coloured or huge and the atmosphere of everyone shouting and trying to get organised selling and tidying away. I managed to get a sushi brunch here too, which would've been more to my taste had it not been coated in Wasabi.
Later that day after getting lost again, I found Asakusa and the Tokyo Skytree. Asakusa had a carnival like atmosphere with stalls selling all kinds of food and souvenirs as well as a temple, Senso-ji. Seen from nearly ever point in Tokyo, on a clear day, Tokyo Skytree the tallest tower in the world dwarfed the buildings around it and made for an interesting contrast between the temple and the tower.
After that I visited Yasukuni, Tokyo's 'contraversial shrine' with Munetaka, the dad of the family i was staying with. He explained why it angered the chinese and Koreans so much because of differences in beliefs to what happens to soldiers in the after-life. Afterwards i ate my first proper Japanese ramen in a restaurant which blew away the other ramens that I had had travelling.
Akehabara was next on my sights to visit, the technological district of Tokyo with shops everywhere selling every kind of electronically good under the sun. The district was especially busy and I got my first taste of the Japanese obsession with manga. There were shirts, cards, figures, games, films all dedicated to manga here and girls dressed up on the street as school girls and maids to try and hand out advertisements for it. Whiel it was an amazing thing to experience i thought there would be a lot more new technology and cheap prices but each store was quite similiar and sold things that I had already seen in england.
In the evening I went to the Roppongi Hills development and went up the Mori tower. At the top there was an art exhibition showcasing a huge amount of Andy Warhol's work and showcased as a timeline of his life. The exhibition was quite good and I learnt a lot about an artist who I previously didn't know anything personal about.
There was also a lookout over the Tokyo skyline here so I managed to see the city in both day and light with the lights stretching to far for the eye to see into the distance.
The last 3 places I went to in Tokyo city were the Meiji Jingu shrine at Harajuku, Harajuku itself, Shibuya and Oeno. The Meiji shrine was commemorating the Emporor Meiji and Empress Shoken. The empress as I found out was involved in a lot of charity work with the Red Cross and otherwise and the emperor was busy updating Japan with the western ways that had been recently introduced into Japan at this time. The shrine was set in Yoyogi-koen the largest park in Tokyo with a self sustaining tree population that loomed over the path up to the shrine.
Harajuku and Shibuya are famous shopping districts with Harajuku in particular having a younger target group with people wearing strange clothes and hair everywhere. Shibuya had a famous crossing the hundreds of people cross at any one time to get to their next shopping destination. These districts really brought home the strange tastes of the young Japanese and how huge department stores have cottoned on to it.
Oeno was the last place I saw in Tokyo, with a famous large park that housed the Japan national museum and several other attractions. I went into the national museum that ended up being 5 different buildings each housing completely different artifacts and/or artworks from Japanese history. It gave me a real insight into how the country developed as a separate identity to Korea and China and how the west influence changed everything when Japan opened its ports in the 19th century.
I thoroughly enjoyed Tokyo and I never ran out of things to see or do and I imagine I only saw a tiny percentage of this huge metropolis, looking forward to seeing a lot more temples and shrines in the previous capital, Kyoto my next stop.