Our first official day in Tokyo started well after 12 hours of sleep. We picked out the Imperial Palace from our ‘to do’ list and walked there directly from the hotel.
The palace was built in 1590, and it was one of the biggest palaces in the world during the Edo period. The Imperial family still lives there today, which is why it is not possible to enter the palace except for twice a year: on the birthday of the emperor and on New Year’s Eve. There were plenty of places to see in Kitanomaru Park, which is the huge park the Imperial Palace is located in.
The park was huge and quite central, yet at the same time it was very calm, clean and beautiful. After taking a long walk and spending some time laying on the grass, we felt like we could stay there forever. However, there were a lot of other places in Tokyo that we were very excited to see.
It was lunch time before we went to Akihabara. We ran into a nice-looking sushi place on the way and couldn’t stop ourselves from entering. We didn’t understand a single thing on the menu, but tried to order some types we could recognize from the pictures. Fortunately, we made good choices!
Akihabara was the craziest place I have ever been! The district is full of electronic shops, and it is absolute heaven for electronics lovers. There were an enormous number of claw machines placed around, and even a few floor buildings that contained only claw machines. It looked like a wonderland with all the colorful Japanese signs and loud music coming from every shop.
Our next stop was Shinjuku district, which is divided into East and West Shinjuku. The west part is full of skyscrapers, and it is said that there are approximately 250.000 people working in these buildings in the day time. Conversely, East Shinjuku is full of bars, nightclubs and restaurants, a habit from the Edo period. The most famous part of East Shinjuku is called “Golden Gai”. There are some very small pubs here, which three people could hardly fit into. Also, the “Red Light District” of Tokyo is located here too.
In the evening we met a couple of friends who live in Tokyo. They took us to a very nice restaurant called “Osaka Kitchen”. There, I could finally try sake, although I needed to answer a few questions first: cold or warm? Dry or sweet? I randomly answered the questions and felt satisfied with my choices afterwards.
As I promised earlier, I’ll keep you updated with posts every day. It is 02:36 right now, so good night to those who are on this side of the world!