Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Japan Day 1

We landed in Tokyo pretty early, about 9am. After stashing one of our big bags in left luggage (this was a very good idea) we headed into town, on the slowest and cheapest of the four (!) train options.

We still got in to town way before we could check in to our hotel, so we took the long way around on the Yamanote line from Ueno to Tokyo Central station. The Yamanote is a bit like the Circle line on the tube, it loops around the central area of Tokyo. It's above ground though, so it gave us a chance to get a bit of a look at the place. It's big :)

Then we embarked on the potentially scary task of finding our hotel. Finding a building from its address in Tokyo is apparently impossible, but we were saved by the fact that it was on the map just outside the train station.

The hotel room was, predictably enough for Tokyo, small and expensive, but nice enough and the staff were friendly and spoke good English.

Next we headed out for a late lunch. We ended up eating sushi in a place near the station.

Then we wandered around Ginza, a quite upmarket and not especially interesting shopping area, where we seem to have remembered that we were carrying a camera around:

After a while of this, we got back on the Yamanote to Shibuya, which was much more the sort of craziness we expected from Tokyo, hordes of people, bright lights, dodgy looking clubs etc.

After a while of pleasantly getting lost, we decided to have a look at Shinjuku (and the busiest train station in the world, apparently). It was fairly similar to Shibuya, but with older people and somehow a bit less interesting. After a false start in a coffee shop, we ended up having dinner in a pretty expensive Japanese restaurant, where we recognized some of the things we were eating (we have some pictures of this sort of food from Kyoto, which we'll hopefully post soon). As Tokyo's mass transit shuts down at midnight, we hopped onto the subway to get back home, along with the other inhabitants of late night Tokyo -- mostly drunk suits and scandalously dressed school girls, neither being something we were used to!

Finally, we fell into bed, amused by this sign outside our hotel:

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