On the 28th of December I remember it drizzled and the day was quite sombre.
Our first destination on this morning was the Jōgan-ji Temple, a small temple in the Western side of Shinjuku that was featured in the Lost in translation movie.
We walked randomly back until we found our way to the business center of Shinjuku. There is definitely a different feeling here, it’s a serious place and you will see many well dressed business people. An impressive area and completely distinct from the casualness of other districts such as Harajuku and Shibuya.
Ikebukuro just like Shinjuku and Shibuya is another great urban area in Tokyo, filled with department stores, entertainment and restaurants.
Just to think that this area which used to be a forest outside of the Edo metropolitan area, has grown and now has the second busiest train station after Shinjuku, seeing nearly one million people every day.
[ At this point we were lost to shop exploring for the rest of the day and nothing interesting happened ]
At the end of the day we visited the Tokyo Skytree, which is, according to wikipedia, the tallest structure in Japan, built in 2010 and which serves as a TV broadcasting antenna as well as an observatory over Tokyo.
We used it for the latter.
It also has a restaurant at the top as well as a great view over Tokyo. However it’s not free, as the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, and it can have a long queue to go up. It’s still worth a visit.
To get to Jōgan-ji Temple the best way is to take the Marunouchi metro Line from Shinjuku station but you can also walk 30 minutes (according to google maps) from Shinjuku station.
Personally I would prefer the walk which allows you to pass through Shinjuku central park, the Mitsui building, some Starbucks shop and many many tall buildings.
Ikebukuro is on the main Yamanote line and beside the station you can find some famous departments stores such as Parco, Loft and Seibu. In Sunshine city there are cinemas and some Otaku culture for the ladies with dedicated butler cafes. Further to the right there is an Aquarium while to the left you can find the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space Theatre that hosts concerts, operas, plays and musicals.
Honestly the Tokyo Stytree has some of the weirdest transport connections. To get there you can take the Tokyo Metro Ginza line to Asakusa and then either take the Tobu Skytree line, probably a 5-minute ride from Asakusa, or just walk for 10/15 minutes.
But if you have the JR Pass, are short on money and don’t mind the walk, just go to Ueno station and from there it’s a 50 minute walk through Asakusa and over the Sumida Gawa.
What would I do differently
This was clearly a wander day… All these places are totally unconnected.
Looking back, In my opinion, I think that you should spend a whole day in Shinjuku and see the contrasts of the areas there.
On a different day you can visit Ueno Park in the morning, walk to and through Asakusa then see the view and sunset over Tokyo in the Skytree and end with a romantic boat ride to Odaiba. This is definitely how I would do it now!
Ikebukuro really depends on you, looking at the map I would match it with Sugamo which we did visit on our last day in Tokyo.
Mom finally arrived in Tokyo the next day, and nothing happened (!) because she was completely jetlagged, we visited the Tokyo Governamental building and slept in the train going back home, like proper Tokyo residents.
So my next post will be about the day after that when we went to explore the Tsukuji market and Nikko!
Once more thank you for reading and I hope you will come back for the Nikko trip ; )