Kazan Cathedral, Saint Petersburg

Tuesday, 20 June 2017


Google Maps: Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo is among the most sorted capital cities that you will find on this planet. You land at Haneda or Narita and you will start finding visual aids to help you in right direction. Displayed on floors, walls or electronic boards, you just need to have eyes and a mind to find these instructions and you can cover entire city. Google Maps is handy in a broader way. There are information centres at almost every busy node to help you out in case. We landed at Narita and took a Skyliner to Nippori. Another train to Kanda from Nippori and we were checking in at our hotel room within three hours of landing - which included immigration checks, baggage checks, collecting data sim & pocket wifi, getting our JR Pass and collecting our pre-booked Skyliner tickets from airport.

Tokyo from Metropolitan Building

Kanda is next station from Tokyo main station which was a big help. To begin with, we found couple of good Indian restaurants within couple of miles to our relief. Andhra Kitchen was efficient and The Dhaba was sumptuous. There was a 7 Eleven a stone throw from our hotel from where we would grab ready to eat rice packs and beer along with other stuff. Our next ten days in Japan were going to be less uncomfortable than we had thought. Since our JR Pass for 7 days was going to get activated two days later, we had a day to cover Tokyo. We decided to go for Disneyland instead.

While it rained in Disneyland throughout our visit, it was still fun. Roller Coasters became more thrilling. It was not chilly and hence we lived the day to remember. Best attraction was the Star Wars Show which took our breath away. Disneyland Tokyo is among the oldest in the world and the oldest outside America so do not except too much. They are renovating it for the Olympics 2020 as a lot of construction is going on. Splash Mountain was thrilling and probably a highlight of our visit.

Next day with our JR Pass, we went for Toshugu Shrine in Nikko which took our entire day. It was amazing. We went for Kamakura the next day which is the closest beach from Tokyo but were disappointed. It gave us time to come back and participate in what Japanese call a Shibuya Scramble. A lot of people cross roads at traffic light near Shibuya station and it really is something. The area is also home to showrooms of some of the biggest electronic and fashion brands in Japan. We simply visited a McDonalds and ordered a meal for us. Next day we left for Osaka.

Our next excursion in Tokyo was five days later when we were back from Osaka. By then we had covered Hiroshima, Miyajima, Kyoto and USJ. Tokyo welcomed us in a neat little room near Shibuya this time. In the morning we visited Gyoen Park and Metropolitan Building. Both were absolute marvels. Gyoen Park is like Central Park - the only stretch of green landscape in Tokyo. Metropolitan Building allows visitors to go up the 45th floor and see Tokyo from above - for free. We loved the landscape and the experience.

Our flight was late in the night so we prepared for the departure. Japan came and was going as a surprise. People are polite and things are sorted. I loved the way everyone lived with a purpose and was happy here. Japan has been among the biggest economies in the world and we found just why that is. We missed Fuji but thanks to a glimpse of the peak from moving bullet train, it was not entirely a loss.

Shibuya Scramble