It hardly feels like I have been in Japan for four days! Tokyo is so big I feel like I adventure into a new city every day. On the to-do list today, was to see Tokyo Station, the Imperial Palace and Shibuya crossing. This morning I started my day at a pretty leisurely pace. There were a lot of ‘stop and smell the tempura’ moments as I moseyed my way to Shinjuku station, rocking my plaid Rugby shirt around my waist. It was on the warmer side of things, so I wore my trusty jean shorts, and because of all of the walking planned for the day, I opted for my sneakers as opposed to my usual sandals.
At Shinjuku station, I had to activate my JR Pass by turning in my exchange order, which if you remember from one of my previous posts, I had to purchase in the States. Once I received my pass, I hopped on the Chuo Line, which is an express to Tokyo Station. Before even going outside, I decided to grab lunch at one of the restaurants, or better known as a shokudo, in the station. One thing that distinguishes a shokudo from another type of restaurant is that they display their food in a case outside of their restaurant. I ordered a ranchi setto (lunch set), which had sashimi, tempura, soup, eel and rice, steamed vegetables, and Japanese pickles, or tsukemono, which I have really grown to like in particular. The whole thing came out to 2,700 yen. Apparently, that is on the more expensive side, and you can get something similar for around 1,000 yen.
After lunch, I found my way outside. There are about 20 exits to the station, so be strategic in which one you pick. I chose the Marunouchi North exit as it is closest to the Imperial Palace. The station doesn’t look like anything you would expect to see in Japan. The brick walls and Western style is an interesting juxtaposition to the modern background. Some have rumored that it is supposed to be modeled after the main station in Amsterdam, but I’m pretty sure that’s just a rumor.
Before reaching the Imperial Palace, I stumbled upon the Wadakura Fountain Park, which was a nice reprieve from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo Station.
After some time in the water park I took the ten minute walk to the entrance of the Imperial Palace. There is no charge to get in, but remember to grab a token before you head in, which needs to be returned when you leave.
While the actual palace isn’t open to the public (it’s only open two days out of the year), the most popular places that people go to are the East Gardens, which is a collection of several different types of landscapes. Tourists and locals alike come here to escape the flurry of activity in the city, either to enjoy lunch or just hang out.
I decided this would be a perfect time to break out my book. Note: if you feel like coming here for a late lunch and to read, remember the park closes at 4:30pm. The last thing you want is to feel rushed in a place like this, so give yourself plenty of time.
After relaxing for a while, I hopped back on the Yamanote line to Shibuya Station. From there it’s a quick walk to Shibuya Crossing, which is famous for people constantly pouring across the street every day. All of the traffic lights turn red at once, so it is a bit of a free for all when the ‘walk’ signs light up.
Tomorrow, I am heading to the Toray Pan Pacific Open to watch some tennis, and then packing to get ready for my short trip down to Kyoto.
Get the Look: Plaid Shirt, Rugby Ralph Lauren // Tee, H&M // Shorts, Hudson // Sneakers, Jimmy Choo // Blue Bag, 3.1 Phillip Lim // Red Bag, Marc by Marc Jacobs // Watch, Michael Kors // Sunglasses, Ray Ban // Necklaces, vintage