I didn’t book a tour for my first full day in Tokyo, Japan, but elected to walk around the city on my own. I started the day at around 9:30 AM and walked to the subway station which was located about a 10 minute walk from my hostel, Khaosan Tokyo Origami.
The subways are very good in Tokyo & are the best way to get around.
My first stop was Omotesandō which is a mix of a residential and commercial stores. My favorite part was seeing some of the people’s houses – they were very nice considering their location! I passed a McDonald’s and was surprised to find out they deliver in Japan!
McDonald’s Delivery Cart
After Ometesando, I walked to a famous street in Harajuku called Takeshita Street. This is where some of the more “diverse” teenagers of Tokyo shop and hang out. It is also a very popular tourist destination. I was very amused by the number of crepe stores on the street – I must have passed at least 10 on the three block street!
Crowds at Takeshita Street
Then, I decided to walk to Japan’s National Olympic Stadium which looks like an upside down boat.
National Olympic Stadium of Japan
After the stadium, I decided to grab a Coke at one of the vending machines that are all over Tokyo. There are literally 2-3 on every corner and they sell everything from soda to coffee to green tea!
Cool alley with graffiti I passed along the way
After my Coke, I walked to another famous area of Tokyo – Shibuya. There were a lot of department stores in that area, but the most famous part is Shibuya Crossing where over 3,000 people cross the street at the same time on a normal weekday during rush hour! I was there on a Saturday, so it was mostly just tourists taking pictures.
I also grabbed a small bite to eat while in Shibuya. A bowl of white rice with pork and soy sauce cost less than $2!
Lunch was delicious & cheap
Then, I hopped on the subway and headed to Shinjuku. This part of the city was definitely more “Japanese” than the other parts I had visited that far. I passed a few Internet cafes that are open all night and have beds & showers in them. This is due to the fact that the Tokyo Metro stops running shortly after midnight, so many people who go out at night get stranded in the city. I also checked out a hentai bookstore.
I also found Godzilla on top of one of the hotels.
Then, I walked over to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building because it has a free observation deck with great views of Tokyo. The city goes on for as far as the eye can see!
The city just goes on & on
Tokyo Tower & the Tokyo Skytree are in the distance
Then, I walked back to the main area of Shinjuku and found a really cool street along the way. It had a bunch of small, narrow restaurants which are what I think of when I think of Japan. I grabbed a skewer of chicken and leek as well as a skewer of tomato wrapped in pork.
Alley with very cool Japanese restaurants
Restaurant I ate at
Cooking the meat
Chicken & Leek Skewer
Then, I went to a show that was highly recommended by a few friends that had been to Tokyo. It is called the Robot Restaurant, but it was more of a show than a restaurant. It was quite the experience and did not disappoint. It started with the waiting room which can only be described as psychedelic! Even the bathrooms were done in the same decor!
While we were waiting, a band dressed as robots came out onto the stage and did a few cover songs.
Then, we all went downstairs to the main stage. The stage was essentially a runway with 3 rows of seats on either side. When you sit down, they warn you to be alert and lean back because things actually go over your head or 2 inches in front of you!
The show itself was bizarre, but it reminded me of some of the Japanese cartoons I watched as a child. There were four acts – my favorite one told a story about how there was a peaceful planet far away that knew nothing about war until they were attacked by robots with lasers and guns. In order to fend off the robots, they countered in many stages including fighting them in hand to hand combat, sending panda bears and tigers after them, and riding on sharks & dinosaurs! Another act featured 10 foot tall dancing robots and robot parade floats.
After leaving the show, I was greeted by Tokyo at night. It was as beautiful as I imagined it would be.
After enjoying the beauty, I took the subway to an area called Roppongi to get a view of Tokyo Tower from far away. Modeled after the Eiffel Tower, it was built as a TV tower in the 1950’s. As Tokyo built skyscrapers, the reception deteriorated so Tokyo built the Tokyo Skytree to serve as the new TV tower in 2012.
I decided to get a closer look and hopped on the subway again so I could be within walking distance of it. I actually decided to go up to the main observation deck because there was no line and I wanted to see Tokyo at night.
Then, I stopped by a restaurant for more grilled skewers before heading back to my hostel. This time I got wasabi chicken and asparagus wrapped in pork!
Wasabi Chicken Skewer
Pork Asparagus Skewer
By the time I made it back to my hostel I had walked just under 30,000 steps in one day!