Japan: a taste of the old and new

I finally made the trip to Japan in May and quickly fell in love with the culture, people and food! Japan is something I have never experienced before it’s so different from home: Melbourne, Australia. We were in Tokyo, Japan for 7 days (previously in Hong Kong for another 7 days). During our stay, we didn’t venture out of Tokyo because there is such SO much to explore in the city. Each Tokyo district are a world of their own and have individual specialities that can be explored from morning to night!

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Before heading to Japan, here two important travel tips!

1. LEARN SOME JAPANESE

Most Japanese people don’t speak English, so learning a few key phrases will help immensely! Here are some of our most used phrases!

Sumimasen (sue-me-mah-sen)

 

Sorry or excuse me.
This is also how you would grab a waiter or shop assistant’s attention!
Eigo ga wakarimasuka
(Eh-goh-ga-wah-kari-ma-s-kah)
 Do you understand English?

 

Hai Yes
Arigatou (Ari-ga-toe) Thank you
Warkarimasen
(wa-kari-mah-sen)
I don’t understand

 

 

2. Get a pocket WI-FI and take pictures of the train/ subway maps at main stations

Japanese public transport is very complicated because they have multiple different transportation companies. As a result, one train map won’t cover all the stations and routes. So it is much easier to get around if you have access to Google maps. Also taking pictures of train maps at bigger stations is a good idea since not all maps have English on it.

Some of the districts we visited !

Asakusa

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Asakusa is the perfect place to go for a more traditional Japanese vibe and is a must when visiting Tokyo. This is also where you can find Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple, Sensō-ji (which is just outside the Asakusa station, you can’t miss it!). What makes this temple different from others, is the large marketing the surrounds it! You can find all kinds of goodies such as traditional clothing, sweets, street food and souvenirs. There are also a lot of restaurants surrounding the area, so many choices! We had dinner at a funky sea food joint where you cook all the food yourself on a small grill!

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We also walked over to Tokyo sky tree!

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Harajuku

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Harajuku is commonly known for it’s cute or ‘kawaii‘ culture is colourful, youthful and playful! At first glance, Harajuku was not for me. I found it too commercial and fake, but I soon realised it had so much more to offer. Harajuku is the place for young people and it’s where fashion thrives. It is also a treasure trove full of vintage goods. I would highly recommend getting through all the colourful streets of Harajuku and exploring the back ends of this district! You’ll be sure to find some vintage and independent boutiques.

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Shinjuku

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If you are an electronics fan, this is the place for you. Here you will find some of the largest electronic stores that have whole levels and shops dedicated to one type of good. For example there was a whole level just of tripods!

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Ueno

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Ueno is home to a popular market called Ameyoko where you can find cheaper goods and street food. This market is just outside the station and will have you exploring for hours (whoops didn’t get any pictures of the market) !

From the busy streets of Ueno, we walked to Ueno Park where it’s quiet, lush and relaxing, very different from Ameyoko. In the park we also found a shrine called Hanazono Inari Jinja!

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This is only a small snap shot of what we did and saw in Japan. There are still so many places we visited, but I’ll leave it here for now! I hope to go back to Japan again and visit places like Kyoto and Osaka !

Steph xx

 

 

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