So I spent 24 hours in Tokyo, and here’s what I did. I wanted to list this out as a way to show you what to do, and where to eat, but also to document my trip. So here goes!
Please note: I do not recommend spending this much time in Tokyo, as the city is quite expansive.
After landing in Tokyo, I had to go through a brutal 90 minute line to get through customs. I even have Global Entry, and it didn’t matter. Remember that when booking your train tickets from the airport: lines are common here, and it takes some time to get through.
I then went down the escalators and ended up in the JR (Japan Rail) terminal. This is the best way to get into Tokyo, and will cost you about $30 each way from the airport, and a 90 minute ride to Shinjuku Station – a main hub and my destination. But if you buy the round trip ticket (meaning your ticket back to the airport whenever you are departing) you only are charged $20 each way. Deal! I made it to my terminal and my assigned seat rather quickly. Although they do report things in Japanese and English, I did find the signage a bit confusing. But I was on and, I think, headed in the right direction.
90 minutes later, I exited the train to the VERY confusing Shinjuku Station. I ended up on the West end I knew I needed to get to the East. I ended up going outside and circling the building until I saw the East exit. For my entire time there (ok, only 24 hours), and as many times as I exited the station, I could never figure out how to get out the East end. Their transit system is extensive and VERY confusing, about as confusing as the stations, in general. Know where you want to go. It helps.
Walking the five minutes to the hostel was an insane barrage of lights and sounds and people. Holy cow, this is what I pictured Japan to be like. I then made it to my capsule hostel/internet café (cool hybrid, I think) called Booth Net Café. The location was close the station and very clean. Although no one spoke English, so that was a little hard. They only accept cash though, so be prepared. Many of the ATMs I stopped at did not accept my Bank of America ATM, which scared me but I finally found one.
They did help me to my dinner spot, a great place I had found through Lonely Planet that was in less crazy part of Shinjuku. Nagi, and you’ll walk right by it if you don’t see the line the back BACK alley. It’s a tiny place with steep stairs that seats 8 in super cramped quarters but the noodles are amazing. I just got the regular bowl, and it does not disappoint. If there is a line, wait outside and they will call you up to order at the vending machine.
|pay at the vending machine|
|Sit at the bench.|
Finally, after dinner, I decided to head to crazy Shibuya Crossing. I took train, with its many options to get there, even though it was only two stops away. I took a few pictures upon exiting the train because: WOW. It really was a massive amount of people, crossing the street from 5 different ways, about evert minute. It is rumored to be the world’s busiest intersection, and it is something to be seen.
When I stood in the middle of this crazy crossing, you feel like your are in a time-lapse video. From red to green the lights go, and quickly the streets fill up. And then they are clear, and the sidewalks fill up beside you just the same. Then green it goes, and the street is packed again. It really makes you think, “Wow! I’m in Tokyo!”
And then I went to bed 🙂
Part 2 coming soon!