So the first “official” day of my Tokyo visit was Monday, but as I was seriously exhausted from the hectic travel delay/schedule I kinda just stuck to Shinjuku and didn’t bother venturing anywhere too complicated. I was a little over-tired and had only slept maybe 4 hours (on the plane – worst) in nearly 48 hours. Luckily I don’t need a huge amount of shut eye but STILL…!!!!
So Tuesday I was rested and ready to go. So much so that I didn’t even feel the earthquake that apparently everyone else felt mildly in Tokyo!!!! So for that to happen I must have been dead to the fricken world because I’m usually a light sleeper! The lady I’m staying with at the Air Bnb felt it too. Hilarious! Anyway, enough about my sleep patterns… So I decided to have a wander around Harajuku and the Meiji Shrine which is only a few stops from Shinjuku station. For those of you who don’t know; Shinjuku is INSAAAAAANE! Legit one of the craziest places I’ve ever seen. It’s intense and doesn’t sleep. I heard a fact from someone (no idea if it’s true so don’t quote me) that more than 2 million people move through the station daily. It really is a whole other world and amazing to watch the madness combined with their trademark efficiency and somehow people are still well mannered. Like, I feel as though if we had a station that busy in Australia someone would end up copping a boot to face. The Japanese are forever composed and pleasant. It’s truly interesting to witness and I am keen to learn more about their history so I can gain further understanding.
Japanese people are also some of the sweetest I’ve met! They really do try to help you out as much as possible and unfortunately the only real obstacle is the language barrier. That and my lack of phone connection. People, believe me when I say you have no idea how wonderful it is to be understood and own a wifi signal until you don’t. TRUST ME ON THIS. For anyone who thought the english language ruled the world…think again. There are zero f*cks given about who can read a street sign here. Other than the locals of course!
Harajuku is a concrete jungle of retail and fun. Unfortunately I didn’t stumble across too many “Harajuku Girls” of Gwen Stefani fame, however, the general female population of Japan seems to dress 100% on point anyway! I have actually been asking the girls who look awesome on the street if I can take their picture. Some are very shy and say no but others are more than happy to, which is great! It just would have been cool to see some outlandish styles Harajuku is famous for. I still have time though 🙂
So before hitting Harajuku I walked through the gorgeous and tranquil Meiji Shrine situated next to Harajuku Station. I don’t know all the history thoroughly enough to free write here so I’ve found some info on a Japanese tourist site:
Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu) is a large Shinto shrine in Tokyo, built in 1920 to venerate the Emperor Meiji (1852-1912) under whose reign Japan became a modern state. Surrounded by the huge Yoyogi Park, Meiji Jingu is in a green setting – almost with a rural feel, making it the most visited religious site in Japan.
Meiji Jingu Shrine is is a short walk from Yoyogi Station on the Yamanote Line. The surrounding Yoyogi Park includes the site of the 1964 Olympics. Kenzo Tange‘s Yoyogi National Stadium was built for those Games and is still a Tokyo landmark
It says Yoyogi but Harajuku is right next door too. I highly recommend any visitors to swing past Meiji while in town. It’s just so beautiful to walk through and appreciate the garden, ponds, cultural significance and practices and just kind of get away from the concrete jungle that is Tokyo. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the modernity of this city, but Japan has many other incredible sights to offer as well.
So that’s a bit of a wrap up from earlier in the week. Wifi is hard to come by (seriously so surprised, I thought it was like oxygen over here but apparently not!) so I am behind with posts. Will try to get to a Starbucks tomorrow or hopefully the new place I’m moving to will have wifi to use more regularly.
I will be doing a post on onsens, skincare and beauty products as well as any other tidbits (OBVIOUSLY can’t come to Japan and NOT assess their heavenly beauty industry).
I am still getting used to the whole no shoes in the house thing and making sure I wear the cutie slippers kindly placed at the door for me. The train I took to Shinjuku this morning was the most squishy experience of my life and my poor fingers nearly fell off before I found gloves due to the random act of snow (first in 54 years in November in Tokyo BOI)… but more on all that later.