First things first, after a couple of days fighting with the amcharts API, I finally got my Travel Map ready. Having a map where I could display all the pictures was my original idea when I started the website but at that time I couldn’t find any way of doing it easily. With amcharts is actually pretty simple, even if you do not know anything about programming , taking a look to the code samples allows you to setup your own map by intuition. I uploaded mine here in case it helps anyone. The WordPress theme I’m using didn’t allow me to create a clean page which was causing me problems to display the map properly so I followed these steps to make it work.
Let’s me focus now on the travel entry itself: it’s time to say goodbye to Japan. I loved my time here and I definitely wouldn’t mind to stay longer but it just not possible right now.. We spent a couple of months in Osaka and then moved to Tokyo where we’ve been since then so this post will gather the pics I took during this months. Now, my plan is moving back to Taipei for a few months before I start my Canadian adventure.
I was living in Shin-Nakano area which I think is pretty convenient. It’s a bit separated from the center so you can find affordable accommodations but at the same time you have the Marunouchi Line which takes you to Shinjuku in less than 10m. Another good point for me is that, as soon as you get off a couple of streets from the main road you can feel that calm and peaceful atmosphere of quiet Japanese neighborhoods which I just love it. One extra point to this neighborhood for the pretty good amount of cheap restaurants…I already miss them so much! For Manga lovers might be a good location as you are 15m walking from Nakano Broadway.
I didn’t really take many pics of the neighborhood except the day I got the chance to see the Shin-Nakano Matsuri. It’s like a small Koenji Awa odori (and definitely much smaller than Sanja Matsuri !)
Are you in Tokyo and there are rainy days? You can change your weekend planned trip and visit The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) and meet ASIMO or maybe take a look to any other temporary exhibition running those days in the city.
Nothing planned? That’s fine, this is Tokyo, take your camera and you will get shots: Akihabara, Shibuya… you don’t really need to plan anything, just walk and interesting pics will get to you.
Looking for a view from a high point? Tokyo Tower is one of the most famous spots but not the only one, you got the Skytree (second tallest structure in the world after Burj Khalifa), the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (not the best view but free of charge), the Roppongi Hills (you can get the ticket to the indoor lookout and even going up to the terrace by paying some extra but be aware they don’t allow tripods), the Bunkyo Civic Center (This is not really known, is free, has a nice views and it seems less crowded than the others)…
Shinjuku is probably my favorite neighborhood to going out at night (did I mention I was living 10m from it?), there is so much life at night with nice restaurants and bars. I specially love the Torikizoku branch restaurants, I find them absolutely delicious with an affordable price.They remind me a lot to tapas places in Spain where you eat and drink like there is no tomorrow 😉
There is a couple of secret gems (OK, not precisely secret but you might not know them if it’s your first time in Tokyo) that I’d like to share. Once is the this small street known as Piss Alley where you have some nice yakitori and bars. Even if you are not fancy to get into them you should visit it to take some pics.
The other secret (this would be more like a open secret) is The Golden Gai ,a small group of street full of tiny bars (some of them with space for just 5-6 persons) where you got a nice atmosphere and can establish conversations with the owners. I’d say here they’re more used to foreigners so you should be able to talk to them in English. The only pics I got from here are of me drinking with friends so I will just point you to the exact location.
Kawagoe should not be included in this entry as it does not belong to Tokyo but if you are located in the northeast area of the city you will reach here sooner than going to some other neighborhoods within the city. You can find old streets with ancient architecture, tons of places to eat, a few temples with several sculptures … we found even a kind of a party taken place within a school so we didn’t miss the opportunity and we got inside.
If you are in Spring or Summer you should be aware that there are many festivals in small temples and streets all around the city. Just check the dates you are going to be in Tokyo so you can pay them a visit, they are pretty nice places to take a first look to these ‘no touristic’ celebrations. For example, we went to Suga Shrine where a dragon was paraded through the temple surrounding. What I understood is that it was a representation of a legend where the dragon was chasing a golden ball… unfortunately (or not) the whole thing was in Japanese so I couldn’t get the story details.
Odaiba is another must see spot to see when visiting Tokyo. People normally go there to enjoy the nice views that offer during the sunset and at night.
Another famous attraction of Odaiba was the Gundam Mecha , and yes, I say ‘was’ because it has been dismantled! Anyway, the fans shouldn’t worry too much as it will be replaced by a new Gundam Unicorn further this year.
Tokyo is an amazing city to live/visit, a mix of ancient and futuristic culture, great food, super polite people… I always say that I prefer the tourism related to nature over the cities one, but Tokyo is one of the exceptions, so many things to see, discover and get surprised by.
All pics, including my very first visit to Tokyo in 2009, here