After a lovely start to the trip with us getting upgraded to the Presidential Suite at the Radisson Edwardian at Heathrow we made our way onto our 12 and a half hour flight to Narita airport in Tokyo. We flew with Virgin Atlantic and had a very pleasant journey with a good choice of in flight entertainment and an almost constant supply of food and drinks.
Upon arrival we boarded the 2 hour bus transfer to our hotel the Shinjuku Washington. As we were unable to check in straight away we set out to start exploring Tokyo. We managed to get ourselves very lost in Shinjuku, which was packed with workers, before wandering down to Harajuku.
Harajuku is where the “cool, young crowd” of Tokyo hang out. Whilst it was buzzing with younger people we only saw a couple of people in full “Harajuku” get up, which is reminiscent of anime characters. The shops were influenced by this trend with their wares being colourful and aimed towards teenagers. My favourite was a shop selling beautiful, ornate leotards and carnival costumes. This was opposite a place called Calbee where we tried freshly made crinkle cut crisps with milk and white chocolate drizzled over them, this appeared to be popular with the locals and turned out to be a lot nicer than it sounds.
Following this we strolled around Yoyogi park through which we were hoping to get to the Meiji shrine. Annoyingly the two parks aren’t linked so we had to retrace our steps to the entrance and try a different way in.
Meji shrine was our first, on what is likely to many, Japanese shrine. It was finished in muted green and brown colours. We threw in our donation and tried to follow the bowing and clapping ritual as shown. We then went back to the hotel for a quick pit stop.
To keep ourselves going so we didn’t fade too early from jet lag we went to one of Fraser’s requests in the evening- the Robot Cafe in Shinjuku. Loud and garish, this tourist trap also seemed to have enticed some of the locals as well. Probably most suited towards teenage boys, it did nevertheless keep us entertained (Fraser especially so). Some of the robots were quite cool, the food however was awful. I would recommend as an experience though.
Shinjuku at night is far more impressive than during the day with all the neon lights on and we had time to take it all in as we made our way back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.