Travel Diaries – Tokyo, Japan

I visited Tokyo, Japan in March 2017. It’s a huge, beautiful city and you cannot cover everything  awesome in few days. I spent 4 nights in Tokyo and 5 nights in Kamakura.

Travel Tip: Tokyo has a great train network. But they are operated by different companies like JR, Tokyo Metro, and Toei Subway. Make sure you buy a prepaid IC card like PASMO or Suica at the airport to avoid wasting time at ticket booths every time you transfer between lines. Also, make sure you are looking at the correct train network map when you’re planning the trip.

In Tokyo, I stayed in a hostel near the Asakusabashi station because it’s in the center of several attractions such as Asakusa, Ueno, Akihabara and Ryōgoku. In Asakusa, I visted the Sensō-ji Temple. It is a colorful, ancient, Buddhist temple.

If you’re a fan of anime, manga, board games and electronics, you should visit Akihabara, the geek town of Tokyo. In Shibuya, you’ll find the busiest intersection in the world, the Shibuya crossing, and the Hachiko memorial.

Edo-Tokyo museum, situated near the Ryogoku station, provided me with a concise view of the Edo period and the recent history of Tokyo. The kids will love the hands-on exhibits and photo-ops as well. There are free traditional magic shows and other cultural events in the weekends as well.

If you are interested in a more in-depth tour covering the history of Japan and Buddhism in Asia, make sure you check out the Asian gallery of Tokyo National Museum, in Ueno. The highlight for me was the large collection of Buddhist sculptures from the Gandhara, Mathura and Gupta periods. Tip for the history buffs: Ueno area is the home to several other museums as well, National Museum of Western Art, National Science Museum, and the Shitamachi Museum.

In Kamakura area, the highlight for me was the Great Buddha Statue (Daibutsu) at the Kotokuin temple. I also visited the Hase-kannon Temple and the Hachiman-gu Shrine in Kamakura. In Japan, shrines are built to worship elements from both Shinto and Buddhism, while temples are dedicated to Buddhism.

I tasted some special food items in Tokyo as well. I tried Kibi dango and Ningyo-yaki (snacks made out of rice flour and redbean paste) at the Nakamise shopping street in Asakusa. Then there were delicious sushi and sashimi at some local restaurants. Okonomiyaki is a savory pancake that can have a mix of ingredients. Kirin, Asahi, and Sapporo are the most famous beer brands in Japan.

Travel Tip: If you want to taste some authentic Japanese food for cheap for one last time before leaving Tokyo, there are some good restaurants at the Narita and Haneda airports.

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