If you’ve been following my blog, you will know that in April I finished my three years in Japan with an eight night stay in Tokyo (well, actually it was seven in Tokyo and one in Chiba). My trip included excursions to various nearby places, but my main base was Shinagawa. Now I’ve finally finished writing about those adventures in detail, I thought I’d present a quick summary of my itinerary. Planning a trip to Japan can be quite daunting (I remember the overwhelming feelings I had when I planned my first trip in 2006), so perhaps my ideas will help you if you’re planning to visit this beautiful country (just click on the links for more information about the things that I mention, and a lot more pictures). Of course, if you are planning a trip to Japan, I recommend that you do a lot more than visit Tokyo and surrounding areas. Check out the rest of my blog for hints and tips about many different areas of Japan.
There are so many different ways I could have done this, but I went for the easiest – I decided to stay in Toyoko Inn. Toyoko Inn has a membership scheme, which I joined after I came to live in Japan (I’m not sure if you can be a member if you don’t have a residential address in Japan). The scheme makes booking easier, and in the end it got me my last night for free. Even without membership, I would recommend Toyoko Inn. The hotels are all slightly different but basically the same. They serve breakfast (which does vary hotel to hotel), and are reasonably priced. There are much more interesting places you could stay, and certainly much cheaper, but if you just want a comfortable business-type hotel, I would recommend Toyoko Inn. I stayed at the Shinagawa-eki Takanawa-guchi one for 7 nights…
…and then spent my last night in the Narita Kuko one (which had a huge room compared to the usual ones!).
Day 1: April 14th
It was my first day of freedom (i.e. unemployment) and I made my way to Tokyo. The day consisted of settling in to my hotel in Shinagawa, checking out the shops at Tokyo Station, and hanging out in Shibuya. It was mainly a day of orientation and shopping.
Day 2: April 15th
Day 3: April 16th
Day 4: April 17th
A packed day, starting with a trip to Meiji Park flea market. Then I walked to Meiji Jingu for a little bit of calm, before heading into the weekend madness of Harajuku and Yoyogi Park (an absolute must if you’re in Tokyo on a Sunday).
Day 5: April 18th
Nikko is just a short train ride away from Tokyo, and made a great day-trip. Just watch out for the monkeys! 😉
Day 6: April 19th
Kamakura & Enoshima are also perfect for a day-trip from Tokyo. There’s Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu, the Great Buddha of Kamakura and Hase-dera in Kamakura, and then Enoshima is just a short, scenic ride away.
Day 7: April 20th
Day 8: April 21st
The final day, and one more temple: Narita-san.
Day 9: April 22nd
I flew from Narita to London Heathrow with BA. Of course, it was a long flight, but at least it was direct and I was met by a very happy mum at the other end. 😉
As I wasn’t a tourist, I wasn’t able to use the wonderful Japan Rail Pass, and that’s why I opted for a Tokyo-based trip this time. If you visit as a tourist I highly recommend getting a rail pass and seeing much more of Japan than just Tokyo. But if you’re living in Japan and want to spend your holiday in an interesting way, my itinerary above might give you a few ideas. I didn’t spend a lot on travel – just the bullet train from Hamamatsu to Tokyo initially, then a few JR and other local trains (like the Tobu Line and Enoden). In Tokyo I used a Suica card to get about, and spent most of my time on the JR Yamanote Line. It’s so much easier than having to buy a subway or JR ticket every time! You just buy this card initially and then top it up using the machine (which is in English). It’s like an Oyster card in London.
If you have any questions about my trip, I’m more than happy to respond to queries and will try to give you as much advice as I can. I can’t promise my information will always be 100% accurate, but I’ll try my best! So please leave a comment below, or get in touch.
Don’t worry readers, as I have said many times before, my Japanese adventures are far from over. Of course, I will visit Japan again as soon as possible, but in the meantime I will be writing about Japanese culture at least once a week on this blog. Perhaps I will be reminiscing about something I enjoyed, informing you about something happening in Japan, or letting you know about how you can enjoy Japan without being in Japan at all. One of my missions on this blog now is to find as much Japan in the UK as possible, and share it with you!
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