Odds and ends: Final days in Tokyo

On our final few days in Japan, we continued exploring around the great city of Tokyo.

Following a day of visiting quiet, historic sites including the neighbourhood of Yanaka and the Imperial Palace, we switched gears and went on to see more of the lively, modern side of Tokyo.

We started off with the district of Akihabara in the Chiyoda ward. This is a busy shopping hub, considered by many to be the centre of modern Japanese culture. The distinctive imagery found in Akihabara has been heavily influenced by otaku, a Japanese term referring to people with consuming interests, particularly in anime and manga.

The bustling streets are indeed lined with icons from popular anime and manga series prominently displayed along the numerous storefronts. Another quirky and somewhat bizarre concept popularized here are maid cafés, where waitresses dress up in maid costumes and act as servants to the café patrons. Wandering down the street, it was common to see many of these outfitted young women handing out flyers to attract customers.

In a similar vein, our visit to Shinjuku district later that day brought us to some more interesting and strange sights.

Shinjuku is one of the 23 special wards of Tokyo, but for most visitors the name refers to the entertainment district immediately surrounding Shinjuku Station. Filled with neon lights, arcades, nightclubs, shops, and restaurants, this buzzing area is full of things to do and places to see.

One of the most iconic tourist stops here is the Robot Restaurant, found in the Kabukicho entertainment and red-light district. It features an insane version of dinner theatre, with a cabaret-style show starring a cast including warrior princesses and giant transformer robots. We did not partake in this but passed by to see the lighted display outside.

Rather than dinner with robots, we headed over to Omoide Yokocho for our evening meal. Translating to “memory lane”, this area is a landmark network of alleyways that started off as a black market in the 1940s after World War II. The strip was known for its cheap drinks and yakitori grilled skewers, with a messy reputation earning it the nickname “piss alley” as inebriated patrons would relieve themselves openly on the street. After being partially destroyed by a fire in the 1990s, the area has since become refurbished into a more presentable destination for tourists and locals alike. You can still find some very good cheap eats here, in the form of tiny izakaya stalls and bars.

A couple days later, we returned to Akihabara following an eventful excursion to Lake Kawaguchiko and Mount Fuji. Still disappointed by the lack of cats on our visit to Yanaka “Cat Town”, we decided to get our feline fix at a cat café. Unlike our experience at the owl café in Harajuku, the set up here was much more amenable to the cat disposition.

As our time in Tokyo came to an end, we said goodbye to the city with one last delectable classic Japanese meal: a steaming bowl from Ramen Street inside Tokyo Station.

If you’ve been following along with this travel recap series, I hope you’ve enjoyed the look back at my time in Japan and South Korea. Definitely one of my favourite trips ever, and a place I hope to visit again someday soon.

18 responses to “Odds and ends: Final days in Tokyo”

  1. Thanks Jess ! I am still writing my trip reports of Japan (bit in delay :-)), I am already happy thinking about it since it was a great trip and we also want to go back :-).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll be looking out for your posts! Love Japan.

      Like

  2. Interesting to see this part of Tokyo. It’s amazing how much fun the Japanese like to have, all those lights and places to go out. It doesn’t concern the whole population, but it makes these areas come alive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that there are so many different unique neighbourhoods in Tokyo. Such a wide range of atmosphere.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Jess, you were one of the first bloggers I followed on WordPress. I really enjoy reading your stories. I therefore nominated you for The Black Cat Blue Sea Award. This award is for bloggers who write for everybody. Please check my latest post ‘The Black Cat Blue Sea Award nomination’ for the rules (https://followourpebbles.com/the-black-cat-blue-sea-award-nomination/). Feel free to answer my questions or not… :-). Looking forward to your future posts, Anne

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being transported through your adventures in Japan! Looks like you redeemed yourself with 10x the cats at the cat café, and that steaming bowl of ramen looks like it was the perfect, final meal in the country. Can’t wait to read about other adventures you’ve had in the world soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and all your lovely comments!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What an incredible city! I feel like I could spend a year in Tokyo and still not see everything!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We definitely could. Awesome city!

      Like

  6. Tokyo looks amazing, I can’t wait to visit one day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you get the chance to go someday! It’s an awesome place.

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  7. love Tokyo its so fun! The dancing pikachus – theres one near the middle who barely moves at all!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A very visually stimulating last day! Thanks for letting me travel to Japan vicariously. Hopefully you can read my Japan posts one day. (By the way, I see you are a backpack purse kind of person. Me, too. Can never go back to a single shoulder strap!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, backpacks are the way to go, especially when travelling! Thanks for reading. Hope I get to read about your Japan experience someday. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Love Tokyo and great choice of things to do. So many weird and wonderful cafes in one city, just need to be allowed to go back and see it all properly!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, looking forward to going back someday!

      Liked by 1 person

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